Our brain is plastic, not elastic. We can intentionally create new patterns in our brain — a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. And we can use this neuroscience to direct how we respond to certain triggers.
We know that neurons that fire together, wire together. So strong and close communication between neurons significantly influences the strength of their connection.
Here’s the thing – the reactions to our triggers are learned, conditioned behaviors that we’ve continuously reinforced.
I’m here to encourage you that is CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. We just have to grow in awareness and then practice. Responding is a skill, like any other skill that you can practice and get better at.
Here are 3 neuroscience-backed ways to increase the space between stimulus and response so you can respond, rather than react, the next time you feel triggered:
- Somatic Awareness: Our body is always communicating with us. Growing in somatic awareness is simply tuning in to our body’s cues that we’re approaching dysregulation, so we can use our regulation tools to help bring our body back to homeostasis before we lose our cool.
- “No-Go” Method: Dr. Andrew Huberman’s technique emphasizes noticing when you feel the urge to react impulsively. It could be grabbing your phone first thing in the morning or wanting to snap when your kids are ignoring you. First notice your impulse to do the patterned behavior. Then, tell yourself “no go” and interrupt your automatic response. By doing this consistently, you’ll gradually rewire your brain, create new pathways and reduce old habits.
- Prepare Alternative Responses: Decide ahead of time how you want to respond the next time you feel triggered. For instance, if bedtime is a challenge, prep yourself beforehand. You might delegate evening tasks, take a walk, or use calming techniques. By having a plan ahead of time, you’re less likely to react automatically.
Remember, re-wiring your brain is a process! Be gentle and kind with yourself. Don’t expect decades of patterns to change in a week. Replace judgment with compassion and curiosity. Prioritize sleep, nourishment, movement, stillness, and play. Filling your cup will grow your window of tolerance and expand your capacity, mama.