Positive Pathways in the Brain – practical wellbeing

When we’re born, we have about the same number of neurons (nerve cells) in our brain) as we do now, but we couldn’t do very much. That’s because our neurons weren’t connected into pathways or networks.

When we think or know or remember or do something, those things happen because we’ve activated certain pathways in your brain. We’ve created those pathways over the years, by the simple act of repeating thoughts and actions.

Let me give you an example.

You know that the capital of France is Paris. And that ten plus ten is twenty. You know those things so well and are never likely to forget them for one reason: you’ve created strong pathways in your brain by repeating those facts in your head and by coming across them many times. Every time you did, that pathway became a bit stronger. (Sometimes we can know something well after only hearing it once, maybe because we learnt it very dramatically or because it fitted with existing pathways.)

That’s good.

And bad.

It’s good because it’s why practice makes us better at things.

It’s bad because we can also create, practise and strengthen a wrong thought.

For example, “I can’t do Maths.” “I’m ugly.” “I’m not a natural leader.” “People I love might die.” “I will probably fail my test.” “I can’t win.”

Every time you have those thoughts, you strengthen them

But it’s also GOOD because you only have to replace those bad thoughts with better ones and then practise those. I know that’s not easy but it’s not complicated either.

This Powerpoint helps illustrate what I’m saying:

STRESS WELL FOR SCHOOLS 3.1 pathways exercise from Nicola Morgan

I think this is a very useful piece of understanding. It helps us keep trying, practising, working, and keep trying to keep the positive thoughts strong.

This is very much a part of growth mindset, which I talk about in Positively Teenage.

Positively Teenage comes out early next year. Call this a sneak preview!

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