In the 1960's, Canadian psychologist, Donald Hebb taught us that "neurons that fire together, wire together". Let me give you an example. You leave really early to get to that job interview because you've never been to that office building before. You miss a couple of turns and take some wrong streets, but you get there in plenty of time because you knew enough about life to give yourself some "mistake time".
Congratulations! You made it through the first round and are called in for the final interview. This time, you know where you are going and the traffic issues. Why is this? Because you traveled this path and caused your neurons (brain cells) to "fire" in a certain sequence, the next time you started up that sequence, the brain knew which "firing" came next! Pretty great, isn't it?
And, the more you practice this "firing" by going to work every day by the same route, the path becomes nearly automatic. Because your brain is always looking for novelty and gets bored easily, you basically don't even have to pay attention to the route while your brain finds something else to think about until...a kid jumps out from behind a parked car and suddenly, all of your attention is focused on driving.
Some days, you wonder "how I got home" because it didn't seem as though you were paying attention! Well, your sensory systems were paying attention, but your mind was wondering around trying to find something interesting to think about like that new cute head of the advertising department!
In my office, when I would explain to kids "why" they needed to practice, I would draw dots randomly on a page, connect a few together to represent a multiplication fact and drew the connection over and over until the lines were deep and dark representing a "mastered task", they realized just "why" the practice "worked"! Sooner or later, the facts are automatic and they don't have to count on their fingers anymore or use "hash marks"!
If you have a child who has a negative outlook, you may want to use Eeyore as an example of being "negative" and identify other Winnie the Pooh characters as ones to emulate. Agree to gently point out to them when they're being negative and help them to see something positive in their immediate future or environment. Help them to understand their brains by teaching them about Donald Hebb's theory of "neurons that fire together, wire together". Kids love scientific reasons for the "why" things happen as they do.
Then, observe yourself. Do you give off a negative vibe? Are you a "lot of work"? Whatever you catch yourself doing whatever may be off-putting, stop in the middle of it and redirect toward being positive. Look around and find the positive and precious in life. Or, just say, "I'm being negative and I'm practicing being positive". Be aware of and grateful for all of the small, positive things.
Train yourself toward positivity. You don't need to be a syrupy sweet, Pollyanna kind of person, just don't complain.
Rewire your brain "for good"!
Do the best you can. TTFN, Claudia
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