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36 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a r c h / a p r i l 2 0 1 6 CLASSROOM TO CLIENT education Rewire for Success! Break Old Habits with New Neural Pathways By Anne Williams Did you know you can rewire your brain with new neural connections and pathways throughout your lifetime? Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming fresh neural connections in the brain in response to new situations, life changes, practiced behaviors, and environments. Think of your brain as a dynamic, interconnected power grid. Billions of pathways light up every time you think, feel, or do something. Some of these roads are well traveled—these are our habits. They are established ways of thinking, feeling, and doing. Every time we think in a certain way, practice a particular task, or feel a specific emotion, we reinforce the road and it becomes easier for our brains to travel it. People can master just about anything. They just have to keep traveling the path until it becomes hardwired in the brain (a habit). Think about this: you can hardwire good body mechanics, fluid massage application, polished phone skills when you talk to clients, excellent professional boundaries, and a disciplined schedule that supports the success of your massage practice. In the same way, people can create strong neurological pathways and master challenges like procrastination and poor eating habits. The good news is we all have the ability to learn and change by rewiring our brain. If you have ever changed a bad habit or thought about something in a new way, you have created a pathway in your brain and experienced neuroplasticity firsthand. Any time we think about something differently, make a different choice, learn a skill, or cultivate a new emotion, we start wiring a new pathway. If we keep traveling the new pathway, our brains begin to use it more and the former pathway less. Soon, this fresh way of thinking, feeling, or doing becomes stronger. It becomes second nature as the old pathway weakens. This process of rewiring your brain to form new connections and weaken old ones is neuroplasticity in action. With self-awareness and repeated and directed attention toward a desired change, you can rewire your brain.

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