Breaking Mental Patterns

Human brain is plastic and certain mental patterns need to be broken

A human brain is plastic; it is a common term used by neuroscientists. Plasticity refers to the ability of the brain to change gradually over a period of time. On the one hand, a person can mould new neural connections or strengthen already existing ones. On the other hand, it is also possible to weaken or break old neural connections.

What happens when such changes occur in the brain? That directly translates into a change in our performance and ability. For example, when we learn a new art or sport, we force our brain to form new connections among the neurons — improving its power and skills.

On the flip side, when we have done certain things in the same way for a long time, our brain forgets to dig further and create new neural connections around that part of our personality. While doing the same thing every day is great as far as productive daily habits are concerned, there are many areas where we can shake things up to awake our brain from established mental patterns. Breaking those mental patterns can result in more agility and creativity.

Some of the examples are as follows.

  • It is sometimes healthy to follow a new route to office/home/university if you are taking the same route consistently in the past. You will observe new things around and a certain feeling of freshness in the environment.
  • We have a tendency to set microwave ovens for a duration in seconds that is a multiple of 5, say 25, 30 or 60. Next time you need to warm your food, try 33 or 56 seconds.
  • When we put an alarm to wake up in the morning, again the natural tendency is to set it in multiples of 15 minutes, e.g., 5:30 or 6:00. We can set random alarms each night around the desired time such as 5:21 or 6:03.
  • Sometimes I put on the right shoe in my left foot and the left in my right foot just for 2 minutes. The purpose is again to break the neural paths that have been engraved so deeply in my mind in terms of that particular order.
  • Since I am a right-hander, I use my left hand for some tasks such as brushing my teeth and using my computer mouse.
  • On your next visit to the library or a bookshop, go through the book genre you like and pick a random book to read. Sometimes it will be an amazing experience and sometimes it will be a waste of time. If it is not good, you can discard it quite quickly but when it is good, it will add significant illumination to your thinking process.

In summary, it is not only the focus; randomness is also essential for the brain to work properly. By adopting a few routines described above or thinking many others possible, a person can create a beautiful balance between focus and randomness in their life.

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