Laugh with recognition

Ah, great segue here. Here’s a story about conditioning (habit) and how to change it.

In the brain, the neuronal pathways (created by synaptic connections) that are used repeatedly are enhanced. They are made stronger and more efficient by frequent use. 

When we become aware that they are no longer useful, there are two ways that they can be decommissioned.

They can be pruned or they can atrophy from lack of use.

Neither of these seem to be able to be consciously controlled, but we can indirectly affect change.

Firstly, observe an intent to change.

Secondly, when awareness of that undesirable happening occurs – laugh. Anything from a loud guffaw to a smile, or even a mental chuckle. This thwarts the completion of the old behavior and robs it of the satisfaction factor. It also floods the body with feel-good hormones.

& thirdly, imagine the new neuronal pathway being established that replaces the undesirable one. 

On the second point.. the awareness of the habitual response. You will come to recognize triggers. Usually, some intense emotion will arise in response to a situation. 

In a fairly short time, you will come to recognize that a trigger has happened but the response to it is short-circuited by the awareness of it. It simply won’t eventuate and you will see the new response (a chuckle) happen instead. 

Story here is that if we develop a trigger for the recognition that we have been sucked in to an unpleasant emotional experience (left brain activity) then whenever (sooner or later) that recognition happens we switch from left brain to right brain activity. 

If it happens during that emotional meltdown, it will short circuit it. If it happens after it is finished it will still engage the right brain and enhance the likelihood that the trigger will happen sooner next time.

We are overcoming a habit, so it can take time, but personal experience here says it does work. Oh, and if we celebrate the recognition event with a laugh (which changes hormone balances) two things will happen. 1. we are rewarding the trigger & 2. we eliminate any judgments about the happening that was recognized.