Neural networks are created by focused, engaged stimulation. . .the choices you make actually do influence the physical structures, the neural networks, in your brain. ‘Experience coupled with attention leads to physical changes in the structure and functioning of the nervous system. This leaves us with a clear physiological fact. ..moment by moment we choose and sculpt how our ever-changing minds will work.
On the other hand, when we don’t pay complete attention to what we are doing in the present moment, our brain activates a host of other synaptic networks that can distract it from its original intention. So, attention matters, whether it is gentle meditation or the intense concentration of an athlete at a critical competitive moment. (72)
As we engage these neural networks they strengthen their signaling power, hone their ability to collect and transmit information, and increase the effectiveness of their neurotransmitters through a process called Long Term Potentiation (LTP). Through this process our neural networks begin to expand their reach, taking up more real estate in the brain’s topography. What you focus on literally grows, and what you no longer focus on may begin to soften into the background.
What thoughts emerge when you begin to pay attention today?
What thoughts would you like to swap out for some healthier ones?