In other words, brain cells that communicate frequently, form stronger connections. Can you now see where your bad habits may be coming from, and why they’re so difficult to break? They get wired into your brain! And the more you do them, the more ingrained they become.
Obviously, some of the patterns we form are good ones. Everyone has good things they do for themselves and others on a regular basis. Here, I’ll invite you to take a few minutes and name several of your good habits. (If you need a few hints, here is my blog about self-care.)
Are you aware of your ingrained patterns that get in your way, hold you back? Welcome to the human condition. We are an odd species that evolved with layers of old, prehistoric brain underneath newer and more sophisticated parts–and the different parts don’t always get along!
Well, the good news is, we have some good things on our side.
First of all, there’s neuroplasticity. That means the brain and nervous system are “plastic”, mold-able, throughout the human lifespan. Generally speaking, we can grow, change, and learn at any age.
One of the major ways to access neuroplasticity is through mindfulness. Mindfulness means doing with awareness, being fully present to the present moment. In Somatic Experiencing, we use a form of somatically based mindfulness called “dual awareness”. That means, the therapist guides and supports you to observing what’s happening in your body/nervous system, while being stable and OK in the present moment. Without being swallowed up by the old pattern.
A good SE therapist will help you really slow things down, really attune to what’s happening within. You’d be amazed how just slowing things down, in the presence of a calm and grounded other person, brings new awareness and insight. Along the way, the process also frees up the energy needed to make and sustain positive changes.
Slowing down, becoming mindful and starting to feel what’s happening underneath, is a process that sometimes requires therapeutic guidance, particularly if the person has a significant amount of trauma energy lurking under there. People have accessed it through therapy, yoga, physical exercise, meditation, writing, and other ways. When done properly, this process tends to develop a lot more integration and wholeness within the person. Many people have used it to shed many bad habits, and ended up knowing themselves better!