Thursday, January 24, 2013

Brain Experiment

As part of my effort to transform my life so it's not defined by brain damage, I'm trying a brain experiment.

People often waffle on about the 'power of positive thinking' and it seems to me to me to be so much superstitious magical thinking rubbish. By contrast, however, I am convinced of the brain's plasticity, and our ability to change the patterns of the brain--our habits--by the action of our conscious mind.

So here's the experiment: every time I think "Ugh. Gotta go to the gym (or pool)." I am going to stop myself at "Ugh" and change that into "Yay! Time to go to the gym (or pool)."

It's going to be easier with the gym than the pool, because although the gym tends to be more physically strenuous, the pool I go to is kind of sketchy: it is a stupid length (22m, I ask you), is cloudy with chemicals, and the changing room is frankly nasty. The pool is on my block though, which easily outweighs any flaws.

The brain doesn't change without repetition, attention and intention, though, so it won't be enough just to think the words. I'll have to focus on the after-effects of exercise before they've happened, to strengthen that association; the pleasant glow of used and tired muscles, and how good that can feel.

If it works at all, it will take a long time for the artificial to become automatic, especially in an adult brain, but if it does, I'll let you know.