Creating New Neural Pathways

Sep 13, 2021

Grassy field
Grassy field
Grassy field

We all have our habits and patterns of behavior. Often, we create a behavior because we need it at the time. Then we keep using it over and over making it even easier to do until it’s automatic. 

This is what we call a neural pathway. When it’s automatic like this, it’s a well-worn neural pathway. It’s like a freeway in our brain—it’s quick, it’s familiar, and our brain can fire it off without us really needing to think about it. 

Over time, some of the behaviors that we’ve developed start to no longer serve us. While they may have been helpful—even necessary—for us in the past, they can begin to shift out of alignment for what we want now. We don’t even really think about what we’re doing, it just happens and it’s after the fact that we reflect and realize that we want to shift that behavior into something more supportive.

But our brains don’t know that—they just know that there is this well worn neural pathway that has worked for us in the past, and it’s fast and efficient. Our brain loves patterns, so it looks for the signal and then fires on the well worn neural pathway. The way to shift our behaviors and build new, more aligned habits is to build new neural pathways. This is what we do together in coaching.

We slow down and take a look at the highway your brain automatically takes. We notice when it tends to happen, what it feels like, and what the resulting behavior is. We even talk a little bit about when this neural pathway was formed and why it was so helpful at the time. 

Then we explore what a new neural pathway might look like. How we can create a new behavior that allows you to live in alignment, express your true essence, and end the day rooted in harmony. 

Now, creating a new neural pathway doesn’t happen automatically—remember that it took many times of repeating your earlier behavior for it to become a highway. This means that when we define a new neural pathway, it’s like you’re stepping off of that freeway and onto the grass nearby. The first few times you practice your new behavior, you are matting down the grass on the new path. Then the more you practice and consciously use that new pathway, the deeper the path becomes. It goes from grass to a dirt trail. Then it becomes a well worn trail, until it becomes a paved path. Then it becomes a road until ultimately, it becomes your new highway. 

It takes time and awareness to build new neural pathways, but it can be done. This is what is so amazing about our brains—they want to be as efficient as possible and take the fastest path, but they are also able to develop new pathways, which is called neuroplasticity. 

In coaching there is a safe space to take a look at the well worn neural pathways and to explore where you want to go if you step off of that freeway—where leads. you to harmony? Then, we practice the new neural pathway and you keep practicing as you live your day to day life. In sessions, you may notice when your brain jumped back on the freeway. Or, I as your coach can help point out when your brain takes the freeway when you really wanted to step off onto your new trail and then we reflect on that together. We design systems and anchors that support you so that you can consciously take your new path and keep deepening the new neural pathway.

I like to say that the effects of coaching don’t always happen within the session—there is a lot that happens in-between coaching sessions. You’ll take what we uncover in session and then play and experiment with it in your real life. Overall, the coaching experience is one of continued support so that you can successfully build your new neural pathways in a nourishing way. 

Are you ready to walk some new trails that lead to harmony? To build different pathways that are more aligned aligned to your vision of a resourced, relaxed, and true version of yourself? I would love to help you get off the highways that aren’t taking you to where you want to be. Learn more about my coaching services.