The power of the Human brain: rewire your thoughts to reach your full potential
Hi, my name is Amanda Campbell, founder of Bend Like Bamboo a program designed to maximise resilience and your health. I believe that you can change your mind about what can be possible, in your mind, in your body and in your life. Flexibility in your mindset impacts everything that matters. Your body’s ability to repair, how happy and resilient you are and how connected you feel. I stand here today against all odds; I’d love the share my story with you about how I learned to Bend Like Bamboo.
Ideas vs. beliefs
If we are to explore resilience, we must also understand what causes stress. I want to begin by introducing the concept of ideas vs beliefs. An idea is a goal or a desire EG: I want success, better health or to bring more love into my life. Have you ever noticed that just wanting something is not enough to make it happen? That is because what you deeply believe is what matters.
Many of us are living life in a survival pattern from an inner conflict of an idea not aligning with what we believe. This is the perfect recipe to create an inner and external environment of stress, our brain perceives threat and over a long period of time living in this survival pattern, we can manifest inflammation and disease.
When we are stressed, we tend to focus on what we don’t want and worst-case scenarios because that is the safest way. When what we believe about ourselves or what is possible, is in conflict with our goals in life, this misalignment is a stress that sends a survival signal to the body.
When our ideas are aligned with what we are believing, there is more harmony in the mind and body, this alignment I believe, also connects to the deeper connection we have with the universe that allows us to manifest and be the creators of our lives.
The good news is, your triggers are a blessing, they are a sign to stop and listen. Listen to your reactions as they are a mirror image of what you are believing. You can then ask yourself within these moments, is what I am believing in conflict with what I want, can I change my mind about this ‘story’ and what is possible for me? This dance is what we are here to do, to transform, to grow and to become, navigating through a world filled with polarity and comparisons.
Every time our idea does not align with our belief, I believe it is an opportunity to birth a new desire. It is the catalyst for growth. It, therefore, makes sense to give our mind and body the best environment to create, to be resilient and to change our mind and what can be possible.
“How you think and feel is a mirror image of how you will see your reality around you perceive stress and therefore the biochemistry you will fire” Amanda Campbell.
There are two predominant pathways our body’s will fire, one that promotes growth and repair and the other fires a stress signal prioritising survival. The body decides which path from how we perceive stress in our environment, past experiences and what you we believe about our circumstances and ourselves.
Also, our body believes what we tell it, so our inner dialogue, how we process our stress and how we care for ourselves plays a large role in how the body chooses to prioritise survival to keep us alive, or growth and repair instead.
Let me tell you about my story and how I came to these conclusions.
Moving “towards to” your dreams instead of moving “away from” pain
When I was young, I was always a motivated, happy and driven girl. My twin sister Nicole and I were both lucky to attend school’s that not only offered academics, but also sports and music. We had a passion of music, so much so we learned flute, violin, piano and trained in singing and dance. We become obsessed, this led us to peruse a career in music where we sang and wrote our own music. We were living the dream.
At age 19, we were studying music theatre and dance full time, this was the year I first experienced pins and needles down the left-hand side of my face and fingertips. I went to my local GP who then ordered an MRI. They found one lesion on my brain, but there was no diagnosis. But it eventually all resolved, and I just got on with my life.
I fell into the fashion industry a career I loved throughout my 20’s. At age 24 my symptoms came back. But this time, the numbness progressed to weakness. Another MRI showed 2 new lesions in my brain and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. From that moment on, everything just stopped. Feeling stressed and uncertain about my future I began to focus on what I didn’t want and what I was scared of. That I might end up disabled, bedridden or worse. So, I went out later, I worked harder and disconnected more and more from the inner conflict that was brewing in my body. Externally, I was still driven, I worked and played hard. But in the inside, I was terrified and wanted to disconnect from the fear and pain.
MS is a disease of the Central Nervous System, the brain and the spinal cord. When you have MS, your body believes that it needs to attack the myelin that protects all of our nerves. It is an incorrect signal that we are yet to understand. Picture a phone charger; the white plastic is the myelin that protect all of our nerves (the wires) on the inside. The myelin acts as a conductor allowing electrical impulses to fire out to our body. Therefore, symptoms can include blindness, paralysis, we can stop swallowing, digestive issues, cognitive changes, heat sensitivity and nerve pain are also very common symptoms.
5 years later, living in fear, my inner conflict brewed, and I began to believe that I wasn’t going to be ok. I started to believe that I would not be able to achieve all things I wanted for my life, professionally and personally. The symptoms came back and I had the biggest relapse of my life. Slowly over a slow cruel ten days the entire left-hand side of my body become completely paralysed. My face dropped, my left arm twisted, my hip, leg and foot just completely stopped working on the left side of my body. I lost the ability to walk, wash and feed myself, and I simply couldn’t get dressed without help. I lost my financial independence, my ability to work and life as I knew it. It had to completely stop and reset.
In one of my first rehab sessions, I remember trying to make just my fingers open and close, and I tears running down my face, because it was so hard. I knew that in that moment, I had a choice. I could either give up… or … I had to change my mind about what I believed could be possible, to get different results.
Something shifted within me. Like a woman on a mission, I was first in at physio and the last to leave. One day my toe moved for the first time, out of the blue. It was in that moment I found hope; as a result, I started to channel my energy differently. Now believing and finding hope, I started to focus on what I wanted, rather than what I didn’t want.
t is amazing what happens inside of yourself when you have no choice but to succeed. They said that I may never walk again, and I was 29 years old. It was the hardest darkest time of my life. It was as if you would light a candle in a well-lit room, you don’t so much notice the light. It is when everything becomes dark, that is a time when you can find your own light, and what you are truly made of.
I walked and ran within 6 weeks. Deemed a rapid recovery I began to study and research how I recovered when I wasn’t ‘supposed to’. I immersed myself into understanding the mind-body connection, the art of repair and transformation.
I believe that flexibility builds resilience. When we can truly let go of certainty and the resistance that is fuelling our inner conflict, the suffering stops. We surrender into a flow state that reconnects us. This becomes the best environment we can give the mind and body to repair, innovate and create.
I now understand that setbacks are designed to move us, we are supposed to feel uncomfortable. So that we move towards a new direction that is in fact our path. Otherwise, we would stay in the comfort of where we are! This requires getting out of our comfort zone. I had to master making the unfamiliar familiar, and began to make the familiar (bad habits, negative behaviour) unfamiliar.
In my own personal experience and now as a trained Sports Kinesiologist, I am astounded by the mind-body connection and have been able to identify patterns.
When we are stressed, the subconscious and old fear-based programs dominate, and we are not being our best selves. At the same time, the body perceives a threat and prioritises a survival, close-minded mindset. When we are promoting growth and repair pathways, we become more calm, resilient and open to change.
6 steps to rewire your brain and thinking patterns
The first step is to identify any inner conflict; once you are aware of the blocks, you can find clarity and from here you can take responsibility and the steps to be in alignment for creativity and innovation. You can rewire your brain to promote a growth mindset, where you will see your obstacles as opportunities and the gifts the challenging times can bring. Mastering your mind and state is key, with consistency, so much can then be possible for you, in your health and in your lives.
Within ourselves, integrated through our relationships and work culture, a growth mindset is also a catalyst for innovation. Our state becomes contagious as we are all so connected. A happy mind is connected to a happy body whilst we are nourishing it with happy foods. When we eat better, we feel better. When we feel like a leader we think and act like a leader too.
6 steps to rewire your brain and thinking patterns
1. Catch yourself when you react and choose your reactions in the moment. Remember your reactions are a mirror image of what you believe. Ask yourself when you are reacting in the moment; is this aligned with the vision of who I want to be or my goals? If it is noticeably a negative reaction, ask yourself what might I believe about myself or what is possible for me, that is in conflict with my goals? This is a great tool to bring into your awareness, what is blocking you and from here you can respond mindfully, rather than reacting.
2. Bring yourself back into the moment, as being present in the moment is your most creative state. It will also activate calm and repair chemistry in the mind and body. Try to meditate as often as you can with a goal to empty your mind and eliminate constant stimulus. From this space, you can tap into your intuiting and inner wisdom. Your best decisions will be made on your meditation matt.
3. Are you sitting down and staring at a computer screen for long hours everyday? It is important to set a timer to get up and move in during the day. Move your body, as your muscles are connected to your body via the nervous system, they are also connected to your organs and emotional state. A stretch or movement routine will help to process any feelings or emotions that you are working through. Our state of mind is connected to how productive and create we are.
4. Internal dialogue is critical. Sharing wisdom not baggage is a great intention. Did you know that your internal environment sends a message to your cells? Thanks to our receptors they gather information, which decides which pathway to fire, one of growth and repair, or one of survival and protection. When you think like a leader, you will feel like a leader and act like one too.
5. Setbacks are designed to move you. At times you are going to feel uncomfortable, otherwise, you would remain in the same place. To prioritise a mindset of growth, get used to getting out of your comfort zone and leaning into uncertainty. It will make you feel alive, enabling you to receive more joy in your life. Make it a safe place in your meetings at work to foster and nurture thinking outside of the box.
6. Focus on what you want, mix that in with joy and purpose and you have a recipe for growth, repair and innovation.
About the Author
Amanda believes that flexibility builds resilience. Overcoming adversity, Amanda discovered that a flexible mindset impacts everything that matters: your body’s ability to repair, how happy and resilient you are and how connected you feel.
“How you think and feel and believe is a mirror image of how you perceive your environment, how you will show up when tested and the health of your body” Amanda Campbell