Rewiring The GMAN: How I Reprogrammed My Brain

brain_cell-200x151It takes only one person to change your life and that person is YOU. I knew that despite the people around me, the counseling, all the self-help material out there, I was the only one with the power of change my life by changing my thoughts. No one could have done that for me. Many people will open the doors for me, but I alone had to walk through the threshold towards the light. Sounds dramatic but it’s true in some sense. Recognizing this power to change my thinking was vital to my journey of self-improvement. Putting into practice, to change the negative thinking with the positive, I realized was the work I needed to do to make my life better. But how? The quick answer is brain training.

To understand what it took for me to make that change, we will have to sit down for several rounds of beer and perhaps shed a tear. There is a bit of the story here.

Anyways, my current brain training program consist of the following:

imagesThis is my daily breakfast for the brain. Designed by neuroscientists, the Lumosity brain training program is designed to challenge core cognitive functions in the areas of problem-solving, memory, attention, speed of processing and brain flexibility. It is based on extensive research in the field of neuroplasticity or the ability of the brain to adapt. Here is the Wiki on Brain Neuroplasticity. There is a free version and paid subscription. I opted for the paid family subscription. Everyone has fun playing the games.

The program is so easy to use. It only takes about 10 minutes to play and it reminds you when to play. Also, I can tailor the program to meet my  needs. I do this training at least 3-4 times a week!

images (1) Learning a second language can have positive effects to the brain and even change it. More of that here. I love Rosetta Stone for language learning. It is fun and challenging. The program is broken down into lessons and training segments. You can do it online on the go or using the CD’s of the target language of your choice at home. I usually do this right after my Lumosity session. It only takes about 10 minutes up to 30, depending on you.

download (6)Playing musical instruments, like language learning, keeps my mental monkeys tamed. I use Songsterr an online guitar, bass and drums tab player. I started playing bass guitar right away using this software. Very easy to use. It has a free version but the paid subscription has many more features.


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Neuro-Programmer 3. NP3 is a software application to stimulating the brainwaves. I use it with the Proteus Advance Light & Sound Stimulation System. More about Brainwaves here, here and here.  This is the crown of my personal self -programming tools. It is portable and so easy to use. I can customize my sessions and add my own personal affirmations. Adding my own personal affirmations has helped to anchor my new beliefs and agreements. This is very important for self-programming.

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The light and sound stimulation system helps deepen my meditation sessions. I put the glasses and headphones on and let the device do the rest. The only thing I have to do is empty my mind by focusing on my breathing. As I roll my eyes back a little, I can visualize the lights pulsating like neurons in my brain.

Once the affirmations start to play, I allow them to flood my brain. I visualize the words sinking into my sub-conscious becoming part of my new self.

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Books, Audiobooks and Positive thinking. Like I have said before, it is a constant and never-ending process and it is best if it is practiced daily.

I believe that if I have what I need readily available and in plain sight, it will be an easier transition into a positive, fulfilling life. Therefore, I made the effort to have positive visuals throughout my house so I can see them all the time. This exposure to positive things like phrases, quotes and notes encouraged positive thinking and since there were posted in every imaginable place, I had no other choice but to look at it and read it. The result was that it diffuses any attempt of negative thinking to enter  my mind.

One warning to this measure is getting used to it and overlooking it like you would with any picture frame around your house. I had to make an effort to remind myself why they were there in the first place.

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Since I drive a lot, I don’t have much time to read a good book. Audio-books are my road companions in every trip I have made. It makes the journey much more enjoyable plus I learn while on the road. The audio-book selection should include fiction and non-fiction alike, self-help, and biographies. Whatever I’m interested in as long it is of added value to my life. More about the choice of audiobooks.

download (5)Understanding how the brain works was critical in my brain rewiring program. I wanted to understand how the brain works down to the neuron level. I read this insightful e-book called Brain in Balance by Fred J. Von Stieff. It goes in-depth about neurotransmitters which made a lot of sense in understanding how my brain works. If you would like to understand  how neurotransmitters work and what causes a chemical imbalance in the brain, this is a great book.

download (1)Systema or Russian Martial Art is my way of life. It is not just for self-defense; it can be very effective in saving my life or the life of others in any dangerous situation but what I like about Systema the most is how it influences my life every day. It offers many health and fitness benefits which help improve my overall wellbeing mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually. It signifies a lifestyle that compliments and applies to everything I do. From the very essential like breathing, to keeping a good form, how to stay relaxed and move properly and with purpose. More about Systema here.

download (3) I use Evernote to record my daily events, ideas, pictures and videos. I don’t hold anything back. I write everything that comes to mind and at the end of the day before going to bed, I collect and review to make sure I have accounted for everything that went through my mind that day. This is a good investment to unload or dump whatever dwells in my mind into a digital format that is easily accessible from anywhere. Journalism is a great tool for me. I feel I have accomplished something at the end of the day.

This is what works for me. Brain training and self-programming is a work in progress, not a short-term try. Through repetition and some self-discipline, it will pay great dividends in the long term.


What It Takes to Make the Change


Our brain is wired to manifest whatever we think the most. For years, I had the intention to make changes and sincerely wanted change. However, my actions did not correlate to what I deeply wanted. I was more on the surface; a wish of short-term goals and instant gratifications. I didn’t realize this because my mind was constantly bombarded by external influences like television, gossip, daily worries and other distractions to infinity.

Garbage IN-Garbage OUT

An internal commitment to change and be disciplined enough to discern what is bad for me versus what is good does make a difference. Later I was able to define it like this: “added value”. Asking questions like “ does this ( thing, TV program, book, word, action) adds value to my life?” helped me to developed a higher standard to what I let inside my mind. Though I cannot take the ostrich approach to everything I face every day, I have the power to choose. Everything I meet whether good or bad does come with a lesson within or an experience that it must happen to decide what is of “added value” and be kept and what is not and be discarded.

Changing my thoughts to change and improve my life is my personal never-ending challenge. Once I had realized this is the key to positive changes in my life, I plunged boldly into self-programming: Neuro- Linguistic Programming (NLP), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness and Brainwave Entrainment (BE).

There are couple things that must take place ( at least to me) before crossing over to real change: motivation, understanding, and determination.

I was really sick and tired of being sick and tired. This is not just a form of expression. I was absolutely mentally, physically and spiritually sick and tired of how I was handling my life. For some it is just that gut feeling, constant nagging every day. That preoccupation that something is amiss. For others, like me is hitting rock bottom having experience something so dramatic that there is no turning back.

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“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you” that became my personal mantra. A quest to become stronger, wiser and a better person than I was yesterday, the last hour, this past second. This is my motivation; to improve the latest version of me: Version 2.0.

I wanted to take a different route than the traditional faith-based approach to really understand what was going on with me. Through some counseling and personal research, I came to understand that to change what was happening inside my brain and what was influencing my behavior, I needed to go deep into the cellular level of my brain. I just didn’t jump blindly into Brain Entrainment nor I put all my eggs in one basket. What I mean I did my research through reading, counseling and even taking classes and lectures about the Brain, Neuroscience, Neuroplasticity, Addictions, Neurons, on an on. I wanted to understand the science behind it and both sides of the coin. This understanding  it’s a work in progress, not an overnight thing. You will be disappointed to try for a few weeks and then dropping it all because you think nothing is happening or you just don’t get it. Do your own research like I did. What works for me may not work for you. We are all unique people and each brain is uniquely wired and operates  however the owner wants it to.

This takes an 80/20 approach: 80% mental effort (internal) and 20% the rest (external). What I mean is that It works if you believe it works. All the self-help books, classes and gadgets available out there will only input 20% of what you want as the result. No amount of money or time will create permanent changes for you unless you have your mindset into what you want and have the determination to follow through.

Like the saying goes “if you think it will work, you’re right, if you don’t think it will work, you’re right too”.

It is most important to understand and accept this. Believe that it will and do whatever is necessary until the results are evident. Then keep it up as it becomes part of your lifestyle for life. No short cuts here. Change and improvement is a 24/7 operation. Drop your guard and you will be absorbed by the negativity of the world, the mundane and mediocre. You may find yourself right where you started.

And that is why you wanted to make that change in the first place right?

Altering your Brainwaves: The Secret to Personal Transformation | MyScienceAcademy

Brain Entrainment  is powerful and effective. It must be practiced daily and tuned to your ” specifications “. It certainly  has worked for me in changing  negative  thinking and bad habits. It is a work in progress. ….

7 ways to practice emotional first aid |

“If a rejection, failure or bad mood is not getting better, it  means that you’ve sustained a psychological wound and you need to treat it.”

Psychologist Guy Winch lays out seven useful ways to reboot your emotional health … starting right now.

You put a bandage on a cut or take antibiotics to treat an infection, right? No questions asked. In fact, questions would be asked if you didn’t apply first aid when necessary. So why isn’t the same true of our mental health? We are expected to just “get over” psychological wounds — when as anyone who’s ever ruminated over rejection or agonized over a failure knows only too well, emotional injuries can be just as crippling as physical ones. We need to learn how to practice emotional first aid. Here are 7 ways to do so:

1. Pay attention to emotional pain — recognize it when it happens and work to treat it before it feels all-encompassing.
The body evolved the sensation of physical pain to alert us that something is wrong and we need to address it. The same is true for emotional pain. If a rejection, failure or bad mood is not getting better, it means you’ve sustained a psychological wound and you need to treat it. For example, loneliness can be devastatingly damaging to your psychological and physical health, so when you or your friend or loved one is feeling socially or emotionally isolated, you need to take action.

2. Redirect your gut reaction when you fail.
The nature of psychological wounds makes it easy for one to lead to another. Failure can often drive you to focus on what you can’t do instead of focusing on what you can. That can then make you less likely to perform at your best, which will make you even more focused on your shortcomings, and on the cycle goes. To stop this sort of emotional spiral, learn to ignore the post-failure “gut” reaction of feeling helpless and demoralized, and make a list of factors that you can control were you to try again. For instance, think about preparation and planning, and how you might improve each of them. This kind of exercise will reduce feelings of helplessness and improve your chances of future success.
3. Monitor and protect your self-esteem.
When you feel like putting yourself down, take a moment to be compassionate to yourself.
Self-esteem is like an emotional immune system that buffers you from emotional pain and strengthens your emotional resilience. As such, it is very important to monitor it and avoid putting yourself down, particularly when you are already hurting. One way to “heal” damaged self-esteem is to practice self-compassion. When you’re feeling critical of yourself, do the following exercise: imagine a dear friend is feeling bad about him or herself for similar reasons and write an email expressing compassion and support. Then read the email. Those are the messages you should be giving yourself.
4. When negative thoughts are taking over, disrupt them with positive distraction.
When you replay distressing events in your mind without seeking new insight or trying to solve a problem, you’re just brooding, and that, especially when it becomes habitual, can lead to deeper psychological pain. The best way to disrupt unhealthy rumination is to distract yourself by engaging in a task that requires concentration (for example, do a Sudoku, complete a crossword, try to recall the names of the kids in your fifth grade class). Studies show that even two minutes of distraction will reduce the urge to focus on the negative unhealthily.
5. Find meaning in loss.
Loss is a part of life, but it can scar us and keep us from moving forward if we don’t treat the emotional wounds it creates. If sufficient time has passed and you’re still struggling to move forward after a loss, you need to introduce a new way of thinking about it. Specifically, the most important thing you can do to ease your pain and recover is to find meaning in the loss and derive purpose from it. It might be hard, but think of what you might have gained from the loss (for instance, “I lost my spouse but I’ve become much closer to my kids”). Consider how you might gain or help others gain a new appreciation for life, or imagine the changes you could make that will help you live a life more aligned with your values and purpose.
6. Don’t let excessive guilt linger.
Guilt can be useful. In small doses, it alerts you to take action to mend a problem in your relationship with another person. But excessive guilt is toxic, in that it wastes your emotional and intellectual energies, distracts you from other tasks, and prevents you from enjoying life. One of the best ways to resolve lingering guilt is to offer an effective apology. Yes, you might have tried apologizing previously, but apologies are more complex than we tend to realize. The crucial ingredient that every effective apology requires — and most standard apologies lack — is an “empathy statement.” In other words, your apology should focus less on explaining why you did what you did and more on how your actions (or inactions) impacted the other person. It is much easier to forgive someone when you feel they truly understand. By apologizing (even if for a second time), the other person is much more likely to convey authentic forgiveness and help your guilt dissolve.
7. Learn what treatments for emotional wounds work for you.
Pay attention to yourself and learn how you, personally, deal with common emotional wounds. For instance, do you shrug them off, get really upset but recover quickly, get upset and recover slowly, squelch your feelings, or …? Use this analysis to help yourself understand which emotional first aid treatments work best for you in various situations (just as you would identify which of the many pain relievers on the shelves works best for you). The same goes for building emotional resilience. Try out various techniques and figure out which are easiest for you to implement and which tend to be most effective for you. But mostly, get into the habit of taking note of your psychological health on a regular basis — and especially after a stressful, difficult, or emotionally painful situation.
Yes, practicing emotional hygiene takes a little time and effort, but it will seriously elevate your entire quality of life.