We make neurological maps constantly up until the age of around 12. The process is simply to allow us to ‘remember’ what to do in any given situation. Imagine having to learn to drive every time you got in a car! Or learn to type every time you used a key board! So neurological maps are created to save certain patterns (behaviours or actions) to our neurological hard drive to save brain space for new experiences.
Years ago it was thought ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ and that once we had a certain way of doing things, that behaviour was set. Neuroscience has moved on since then and we understand the brain can be changed and rewired, but that certain conditions have to occur to delete an old map and create a new one to replace it. If you have followed the Placebo Diet programme you will understand this concept. Therapeutic techniques such as TFT (thought field therapy – or ‘tapping’) can help, and other techniques that reply on neurological function. In the Placebo Diet we look at a variety of ways to change how you think and feel and create new maps, and today we have an easy tapping exercise.
Mindfulness is an effective way to change how you make decisions and create new maps. Put simply, if you increase your internal experience and focus, you literally change what you see. We use our eyes to see, but actually when you look at your surroundings although you think you see it clearly, most of it is a blur and your eyes only clearly see about the size of your thumb pad, so your eyes send this information to the brain, which constructs the rest.
We also know that the front of our brain (prefrontal cortex) where we make cognitive decisions, shuts down when we are stressed. This means we lose the ability to rationalise our decisions in the heat of the moment, and then look back afterwards and think “why did I eat that, I didn’t need/want it!”… that’s when the prefrontal cortex has come back online – but it’s too late! What we need to do is change the basic associations and habits much deeper in the brain’s neurology so we don’t have to rely on our thinking brain! We want to make better choices automatically, in any situation. That’s what the Placebo Diet is all about. The guided meditations are a great way to do this but I want everyone to understand more about how your brain works and how habits are formed, whether you are on the programme or not!
So one way to change your mind is to literally keep your eyes on the prize; but of course it has to be a prize that you really want! You could flip it around and say the prize of eating an extra helping of cake is to get fatter and feel less attractive, then ask yourself if that’s a prize you want to win!
Sometimes we find it hard to collapse a negative feeling such as a craving, and Tapping (TFT) can be really useful for this. Here’s a short video I made for my weight loss coaches that teaches you how to use TFT to eliminate cravings.