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  • Mike Orsini

Phantom Pains & Neuroplasticity


For almost all of our lives we are unconsciously aware of our limbs: our bodies. This does not mean they are not there, they are fully there and we take them for granted. If someone loses a limb they can experience something called phantom pain. The limb has left a lasting impression on our brain and these individuals can now still feel their limbs as if they were still there.

The routines and habits that we have formed in our lives have left a physical imprint on our minds. THIS is why changing our lives is so difficult. The relationships that we have with others, the relationship we have with ourselves, our professional careers, our businesses, etc. all have routines or habits that have formed with each of these. We can go through these routines unconsciously at times because they are familiar to us and we have repeated them many times before and, as a result, they have become 'hard-wired' in our brain so that we do not need to necessarily think about them.

So, our current lifestyle has made, literally, a lasting impression on our mind. I bring up phantom pains because our limbs have made a lasting impression on everyone's brain and we can know this because of the pains/feelings/sensations that people who have lost them experience.

In order to create change in our lives it is difficult because we literally have to forge new impressions and connections in the brain while our mind and body just want to do what we 'normally' do.

So to make change we will still 'feel' our old selves, our old routines and habits. Our old ways are so deeply rooted in our subconscious that to go against what is familiar and comfortable is what creates a challenge for us. Just as losing a limb will change the way we live our lives we will have to adapt. The difference between losing a limb and trying to change your life is that when you’ve lost a limb it’s not coming back so out of necessity you will HAVE TO CHANGE THE WAY YOU LIVE; you have no choice. With changing your life to better yourself you can slip back into your old ways at any moment through choice or triggers that set you back.

However, there is the concept of neuroplasticity, which gives us hope. The old view of our brains was that they were literally 'hard-wired'; that the connections that existed within our brain could never change. Now we understand our brains differently and they do have the ability to change. The connections that exist within our brains currently can change anytime and all the time.

So there is hope, we can 'rewire' our brains, however, the challenge is that we will have to work against the way it is already wired based on our current habits and routines.

As Always, Strive To Optimize!

Mike

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