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  • Patti Norris

Are you human?

Chances are if you are reading this, then the answer is yes, as the only non-human that I know that might be smart enough to read this is my border collie, Rosie, and the last time I checked, she didn't have internet access...

Now that I have your attention, let me clarify why I am asking such a silly question.

To be human is to have problems. It really is that simple. It you weren't born, you wouldn't be here, and thus wouldn't have any problems. I don't know about you, but I am happy to be here, having this incredible human experience, with all it's ups and downs. I am immensely grateful for my husband's smiling face, for the feel of my sons' arms around me, for the warmth of my cat's paws on my arm, and the canine faces that greet me every morning when I open my eyes.

But sometimes we can get overwhelmed by our problems, and by the problems of the world in general. I, like so many of you, have definitely experienced this overwhelm. In fact, the last decade of my life has been an exercise in persistence, but I am happy to report that overwhelm no longer is the story of my life.

My awakening started in the form of a great deal of reading and self-reflection, the kind of self examination that can be both daunting and teeth-grinding, and I am not going to lie, at times it was uncomfortable and scary. The journalling, the meditating, the talk therapy, the beating myself up for behaviours that I knew were not serving me, but yet I couldn't seem to shake. The best analogy I can think of would be it was as if I were walking up a long, steep hill, in three feet of mud. There were times of fun and lightness, but the overwhelming feeling was one of "why is life so hard?"

The reality is that at some point in our lives, many of us will hit a tipping point, where the volume of challenging experiences will start to overwhelm our mind-body system, and we will experience mental or physical health challenges. The importance of the role of lifestyle factors in our ability to "keep the demons at bay" can't be overstated...eating real food, spending time in nature moving our bodies, sleeping restfully, and genuine connection with others are all critical factors in our well-being and longevity. So, when you are done reading this, might I suggest that you go outside, take a few deep breathes, and then find someone you care about and give them a smile and a hug? If you can't, then put these things on your to-do list for later. :) But for me, finding the key to the proverbial castle took the form of learning how to increase my emotional intelligence, and this, my friends, came through, drum roll please, subconscious reprogramming/memory re-consolidation.

The short explanation of how this works is this: the experiences we have in our lives create memories, which are, from an anatomical perspective, nothing more than neurological pathways in our brains. These experiences get recorded as data, which give us an "operating system" whose principal job is to keep us safe. With this in mind, our brains tend to focus on the negative experiences, as from these we have learned how to avoid those things that could hurt us. Both our conscious and unconscious minds are wired to keep us alive, but the important thing to know is that our subconscious mind is in control of 95% of our behaviour. It runs the "programs" based on our past experiences, or memories, and that becomes our personality and the way me move through, and respond to, our world.

From this understanding, it becomes easy to see that as we move through life and experience trauma, loss, and other hardships, our brains become wired to reflect these realities. But what if there were a way to change the way we "store" these memories and data in our brains, and thus change our "operating systems" to produce more positive outcomes?

Turns out, there is a way to do just that! Developments in neuroscience have given us ways to reliably and consistently change our subconscious programming to better serve us in our day-to-day lives. The old idea that our brains become hardwired, and difficult to change as we get older, is turning out to be inaccurate...we can "teach an old dog new tricks!"

I have successfully been using these techniques on myself, and am experiencing profound changes in how I think, feel and behave, as my mental and physical health are improving. The walk now feels less like an uphill slog through the mud, and more like a downhill stroll, filled happiness, gratitude, and optimism for the future.

If you would like to hear more, please reach out to me on my website and schedule a free discovery session. I look forward to hearing from you, and sharing more about how we may be able to work together to change your "wiring" to give you the life you have always wanted!

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