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  • Traci Kanaan

Switch it up!


If you’re stuck, now’s the time to fire up your neural network!


One of the things our unconscious minds do best, is to keep us “safe.” We are hard-wired for survival, so our unconscious minds will go to great lengths to protect us. Unfortunately, staying “safe” may entail keeping us “stuck.” We do the same things over and over because we know they’re safe. When we get stuck, our brains quit making new neural pathways. We run the same programs over and over in our brains, and then we wonder how depression sets in so easily. Try some of these neural network hacks to keep your mind fresh and engaged.

Try any or all of these ways to fire up your neural network for positive changes!


Meditate / Be Still

Take a moment to sit in a comfortable position, and relax. Empty your brain of all thoughts. Take a few relaxing breaths. Start with clearing you mind of all thoughts for 1 minute. Each day, add another 30-60 seconds to your time, until you work your way up to 10 minutes.


Write in your Happy Journal

You can read more about a happy journal in my blog post here.


Go to/from a usual destination taking a different route

Try taking a different route to your usual destination (work, school), or leave at a different time. Take a moment to observe your surroundings, and if weather permits, open your window and smell the air. Stop at that store you’ve been meaning to stop at, or visit with a friend on your way home.


Read something you wouldn’t ordinarily read

If you read fiction, try non-fiction. If you read true crime, try reading a light romance. Reading something different is a great way to form new neural pathways. Love audio books? Try reading one for a change, and vice versa. Switching how you process and retain information is a great way to form new neural pathways.


Read up on a topic you’d like to know more about.

We all have those “When I get around to it” books and magazines. Now’s the time! Set an hour aside in your week to learn something new.


Read up on a political view you disagree with.

I watch a lot of news, and for fun I like to switch channels to see “what the other side” has to say. It gives me great insights and perspective into the values other people have. The information I gain helps me gain an understanding of those who disagree my views.


Call a family member or friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile.

Learn what your family members and friends have been up to! This will reinforce the good neural pathways you’ve already formed with these people, and may open up some new pathways as you step back into each other’s lives.


Learn to cook a dish in a cuisine you’re not familiar with.

Memories are stored in the 5 senses; sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Learning to cook a dish in a new cuisine helps you form new neural pathways in sight, taste, smell, and touch.


Listen to a podcast or watch a TV show you wouldn’t ordinarily go for.

If you’re a podcast fan, try watching TV, and vice versa. If you’re a big talk radio listener, switch it up to some music. For years, I only watched comedies, until my boyfriend recommended a show called “Lie to Me,” and then “The Mentalist.” Buh bye comedy! I binge watched the hell out of both shows.


Try a new outfit.

When buying clothes, try purchasing clothes from a new store, or try on a piece of clothing that isn’t “your style.” The only one who has preconceived notions about who you are and what you where, is you. Step outside your comfort zone and wear something different. If you’re afraid to try a bold new outfit, start with accessories or wearing a different colored sock on each foot.


Listen to a new style of music.

Love rap? Try listening to classical music. Like classical music, try listening to rap. It’s amazing how many combinations of music you can come up with between music notes, rhythm, voice, and instrumentation.


Go to a new restaurant, or order something different from a restaurant you love.

I know your favorite dish is THAT good, but to fire up your neural networks, try something you’ve never tried before! You just might have a new favorite dish! Going to a new restaurant will do something similar - new environment, new food.


Take a relaxing bath.

My functional health practitioner recommended I take a 30 minute bath with baking soda 2x a week to detox. I wasn’t keen on sitting in a tub when I have so much to do, but I felt so much better doing it that it became part of my routine. I switch it up with candles, essential oils, and a meditation.


Have fun!

Whatever you switch up - go into it with a sense of wonder, curiosity, and playfulness. The only result you should get attached to, is lighting up your neural network!