We’ve all done it before… we sign up for a gym membership or 5 AM yoga class. And for a while, we’re doing great!
We feel so good about ourselves for this new productive habit we’ve picked up.
Then, life happens…
Work gets stressful, or even worse a family member gets sick.
Our stressful event becomes all-encompassing and now there’s no time (or energy) for that new habit anymore.
I hope what I’m about to say is as much of a relief for you as it was for me.
Quitting new habits is NOT YOUR FAULT. It’s your pesky brain’s fault. It’s all because of how the brain fires and wires neurons.
In this article, you’ll learn the basics of how the brain works so you can finally work with your brain to create the life-changing habits you’ve been dreaming of.
In this article we’ll run through:
- The subconscious mind as the controller of your day and your habits
- How to work with our brain, not against it
- Why the reticular activating system in the brain is essential to habit creation
- The quickest and most effective ways to reprogram your brain
- The secret gateway to reprogramming, habit creation, and healing.
Your subconscious mind controls 95% of your day
Yet your subconscious mind was programmed between the ages of 1 and 7!
And guess what blocks you from creating and keeping new habits?
Your subconscious mind’s programming.
Creating long-lasting habits becomes an exhausting battle of willpower when unaware of how to work with your brain to rewire your subconscious programming.
And it’s especially difficult when the new habit is unaligned with your original programming.
Humans naturally rely on willpower to create new habits. The problem is, you can lose our willpower in a flash.
For example, when you experience a highly emotional event, your brain goes into fight or flight mode. Stay in this emotional state for an elongated period and poof- willpower’s gone.
When your brain is in this highly stressed state, it resorts back to its original programming, causing you to act/react in familiar (habitual) ways.
This is why some people can keep up with new habits for years, but after a difficult life event, they instantly resort back to old patterns.
If you fail to get to the bottom of why your subconscious programming is blocking you from a habit creation, then you’ll fall victim to that vicious cycle.
I say vicious cycle because it has the potential to be one, but it’s important to note that your brain works this way for good reason.
Dr. Bruce Lipton provides the best example of this I’ve heard.
He states that the reason your brain has this function is so you don’t need to re-learn vital tasks repeatedly.
For example, how many times have you had to learn how to walk?
Not many, right?
This is why it’s good that your brain has a strong hold over habits.
We are now living in a golden time where we’ve learned how to work with our brain to reprogram our subconscious mind, getting rid of the thoughts, beliefs, and habits that no longer serve us.
Work with your brain, not against it
From when you are in the womb to age seven, you are absolutely impressionable to those around you.
You watch, absorb, imitate, and then you create a little personality based off of all the things you observe around you. (1)
So, most people walk through their adult lives repeating the same mental and emotional patterns they created in childhood.
After age seven, the neural pathways in your brain starts choosing the “path of least resistance” when firing and wiring.
When an event happens in your adult life, your brain subconsciously chooses the path of least resistance when perceiving the said event.
When unaware of this, you will perceive adult events through the same filters you created in childhood.
Let’s consider a common example of how your original programming can destroy our happiness:
Growing up, Brittany’s father was unavailable to her. He worked long hours, and by the time he got home he was too exhausted to pay attention to her.
Brittany’s mother was so hurt by her husband’s lack of attention, that when he came home she spent most of her time arguing with him about his lack of presence with his family.
So, to cope, Brittany learned to do things on her own every night. She knew others weren’t available to her at night time, so, to survive, she got really good at playing in her room, all by herself.
Fast forward 20 years: Brittany is an adult and has moved in with her boyfriend who she’s deeply in love with.
Brittany’s boyfriend grew up in a loving family, and he has the habit of coming home, speaking about his day, and spending quality time with those around him.
Brittany loves this about him! It’s nothing like she’s experienced before, and it’s everything she’s ever wanted.
Brittany and her boyfriend do this for some time. But then, Brittany gets a new boss, and work get’s really stressful for her. She feels emotionally charged all day and is drained by the time she gets home.
Because she learned the habit of arguing when emotionally drained from work, she comes home and picks a fight with her boyfriend.
And then, because she learned to deal with arguing by playing on her own, she goes into her room, shuts the door, and resorts to doing things in solitude.
Brittany’s boyfriend takes distance as a sign that he is not loved.
So, her boyfriend starts distancing himself as well because he doesn’t want to get hurt when she finally decides to leave him.
And, you know the rest of the story… The vicious cycle ensues until they finally decide they can’t connect anymore, and they break up.
To put all of this simply, when gone unattended to, your subconscious mind has the potential to wreak havoc in your adult life.
Are you wondering what you can do in your life, so you don’t find yourself with your back to your loved one (like the above sculpture)?
In addition to reverting back to childhood behavioral patterns when things get hard, most people also see/perceive the present world through their childhood programming as well.
There is a specific area of your brain called the reticular activating system that dictates how you perceive the world around you, including how easy or difficult it is for you to introduce a specific habit into your life.
How reprogramming your brain will help you achieve all of your desires
There’s a part of your brain called the reticular activating system which is essentially a “filter system” in your brain. It allows certain information to be let into the brain and blocks out all “unnecessary” information. (2)
The reticular activating system is why when you start thinking about a car you like, you start seeing that car everywhere.
Due to the reticular activating system, if you tell yourself you’re a damaged screw-up, then your “reticular filter” will spend its time looking for moments that prove how damaged you are and how much you screw things up.
Your filter will show you every little thing that will confirm the repetitive negative thoughts you have about yourself.
The reticular activating system exists for good reason though!
If your brain took in the massive amount of information it’s surrounded with all day, you would go crazy!
Your brain needs to have a way to focus itself.
This is why learning to reprogram your brain and remove its negative thought patterns, beliefs, and values is so important!
If during childhood you were trained to see the world in a fearful and negative way, what kind of world do you think you’ll experience as an adult?
To summarize what we’ve gone through so far, the subconscious mind was developed between 1-7, it controls 95% of your day, and your reticular activating system takes that programming and re-enables it all day long.
If you want to achieve your desires and create new habits, your brain needs to start noticing the opportunities in the world around you.
Your brain can’t do that if it’s programmed with negative and limiting thoughts.
So, if you are stuck with many different programs that are all causing you to experience suffering and self-sabotage, then learning the tools to reprogram your brain quicker will help you change your life before you know it.
The reason you have difficulty with a habit that you KNOW will change your life, is because you hold an underlying program that is blocking or limiting you from developing the new habit.
Can you imagine what might happen if the exact opposite were true?
Can you imagine the new heights you can reach if your reticular activating system were to always search for opportunities around you?
Can you imagine the life you could create if your mind was programmed to think, behave and act in the way in which you imagine it could?
The two ways that adults develop new habits
There are two ways to develop new habits as adults: willpower and reprogramming.
The first way can feel daunting and take significant time and effort.
The second way is essentially a “short cut” to learning and habit development.
The first way is to use your willpower
- consciously create a new thought pattern
- consciously create new emotional responses
- consistently take physical action
- repeat the first three bullet points, every day, consistently, on a regular basis, in a “fighting” manner.
Pure willpower is difficult because you aren’t getting to the route of the programming problems that are controlling why you function a certain way.
This is why when things go wrong or get stressful, you’ll easily resort back to old habits. Your old way was ingrained in your brain, and your new way is a fight to keep up with.
The second way is to uncover the programming that’s holding you back, and then reprogram your brain with a new mental story of your desired habit while your brain is in a theta state.
There are 5 states your brain can be in:
- Beta: waking consciousness
- Alpha: deep relaxation
- Theta: meditation and sleeping
- Delta: deep sleep
- Gamma: bursts of insight and high-frequency brainwaves. (3)
- The gamma state was most recently discovered in the second half of the 20th century. It is reached through deep and regular meditation. This is also a powerful gateway, but we are focusing on theta in this article! (4)
Theta is your gateway to learning, creativity, and intuition. It is the state that gives you the power to access your subconscious mind, which you cannot access when in a more alert state (beta state/waking consciousness).
Your brain only enters theta state right before sleep, upon waking up in the morning, in deep meditation, while under hypnosis, or regularly during childhood.
Theta state is your gateway to quicker human development and healing
Theta state helps you:
- Heal your body: by letting your mind restore and rejuvenate. When entering theta state you are exiting your fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system mode) and into a parasympathetic nervous system state. When in a parasympathetic nervous system state, the systems in your body are relaxed enough to do their needed healing and restoring.
- Reduce stress and anxiety: a theta state promotes deep mental
and regulates cortisol (stress) levels in your body. relaxation,
- Feel deep relaxation: after the brain enters a waking theta state, the relaxation effects can last for days.
- Boost your immune system: if your body produces too much of the stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) it significantly weakens our immune systems. Theta releases feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters that assist in strengthening the immune system.
- Activate creativity: theta activates the right side of your brain, which is your creative mind.
- Activate problem-solving: entering into a theta state allows you to bypass mental blocks and generate new perceptions and more efficient ways to approach your problems.
- Learn quicker: when you enter a theta state, you are able to attain 300% more information. This is why hypnosis therapy has seen success. Patients enter into a theta state as therapy takes place. It is also why sleep meditations are a powerful way to rewire your brain.
- Most importantly to this article, theta connects you to your subconscious mind: in this state, you have access to unconscious areas like your autonomic body functions, your emotions, memory, imagination, HABITS, and intuition. It’s like a self-hypnosis. (5)
When in a theta state you have access to your subconscious mind and can reprogram a negative thought pattern that is holding you back.
When focusing on habit creation in a theta state, you can develop a new habit and mindset in a quarter of the time.
Taking advantage of your theta brainwave is your gateway to creating long-lasting new habits!
This is why NLP (neuro-linguistic) practitioners are so effective in creating and changing habits, behaviors, beliefs, thoughts, and values in such a short amount of time.
NLP practitioners are trained in how to access the subconscious mind to remove old programming that no longer serves you. They’ll then work with you to replace the story with one you’re excited to live.
It’s time to stop being so hard on yourself for acting like you did before you knew better
Can you see why it’s been so difficult to create new habits in the past?
You’ve likely been repeating the same thought processes that were developed when you were a child. And you were trying to fight how your brain works with your willpower.
Also, due to the reticular activating system, when you were functioning with old thought processes you constantly noticed more situations that proved your negative thought processes to be true.
If a thought process was unaligned with your new habit, then you were stuck in a painful and vicious cycle.
You are not responsible for what happened in your childhood, but you are utterly responsible for how you handle the world as an adult.
It’s been so hard for so long because you weren’t using the main tool to help you evolve quicker! And that tool is developing the ability to take advantage of your brain’s theta state through thought programming during regular meditation, before bed, and as soon as you wake up.
Now you know how to keep developing new habits in a much shorter amount of time!
It still takes effort though. To really break a habit, it takes humility and self-reflection to get to the root cause of how we are holding ourselves back, and why that programming exists. But, once you’ve done that work, you can then put yourself on a fast track to growth.
How to take advantage of your brain’s theta state
It’s not easy to open your subconscious mind and face the reasons why you created your programs.
It’s important to surround yourself with supportive people, seek guidance and practice patience with your growth.
I also highly recommend writing in a journal when the most pain is surfacing, and again, going to teachers, healers, and coaches when in need of support.
The main modalities of working with your brain’s theta state are: working with a trained NLP practitioner, working with a hypnotherapist, sleep hypnosis, deep meditation, (and more subcategories that fall under those four).
If you are looking for more guidance on this topic, please DM me directly on my instagram page.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope this helps you on your journey!
You might also enjoy reading the below OMNIMINDS articles:
The neuroscience of flow plus its
The truth behind what motivates us: HERE
Thank you for reading.