Ways to find encouragement: Train (or re-train) your brain


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Ways to find encouragement series:

Train (or re-train) your brain

Whatever you focus on only grows stronger. So if you’re focused on how discouraged you are — or anything negative — then you’re only setting yourself up for more of the same.

Instead, focus on what you want. If you catch yourself focusing on something you don’t want, stop, take a breath, and tell yourself you’re not doing that anymore. And then focus on something else.

It can be anything but that negative line of thinking at first. Anything to break that train of thought and those thought patterns.

But if you can train yourself to flip from those negative thought patterns into thinking positive/productive ones, that will help.

See, your brain likes the “roads of thought” you’ve built (neural pathways) and it will most often follow the same line of thinking as it has before — even if that proves to not be in your own best interest.

And when it does this enough, a habit forms. Habits are what we DO when we’re on AUTOPILOT. Your brain goes where it knows — and it takes the rest of you with it.

The good news is we can teach ourselves new habits (that are life enhancing) to replace those that often work against us. But this typically takes some conscious effort on our part to basically overwrite a bad habit (or an old negative thought pattern) with a good one. But it can be done.

For starters, I’d say whenever you find yourself focusing on something like “I’m so discouraged” or “Nothing is going right.” — catch yourself in the act and say “Hey brain, not this time.”

And then walk it down a different path — preferably one that you know will make you feel better. Focusing on what you like in life, places you love, or what you’re truly grateful for can help change your mental state from a negative one to a positive one. Your brain may resist at first and keep turning your attention back towards your negative thought patterns, but with consistent effort, you can truly take charge of it.

Many people don’t realize they can re-train their brain. They make excuses that “that’s just the way they are” and “they’ll never change” (when they want to) — but they CAN.

When you take charge of your thought process, you will feel more in control. And that’s encouraging.

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