Teach your nervous system to fail better

Not everyone is born with talent, most likely they had a desire for a talent and then developed the skill. How many times did they practice and fail to develop this mastery? Neuroscience calls it deep, deliberate or dedicated practice to develop this skill and talent. Are you ready to fail to become better?

Deliberate practice is a practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort. The evidence shows that experts are always made, not born, and the development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment.

I had tons of fear when I had to take the big exam for my Certified Clinical Nutrition certification. I haven’t studied that hard in years, I wasn’t going to succeed, the content was overwhelming and it costed heaps of money if I didn’t pass. I had to get accepted to take the exam, and it was taking longer than expected. I would take study breaks and walk on the beach for weeks trying to visualize me passing the exam. I had so many stories of past failures flooding into my brain, like, when a teacher just told me to accept that “I am just an average student”, and what will everyone think of me when they find out I am “not enough”. Ouch. Finally, one day I saw myself leaving the exam room and texting a friend that I passed. When I returned to my computer, I finally got the acceptance email to take the exam. One week later, the visualization of me passing came true.

Happy thoughts and positive thinking support brain growth, as well as the generation and reinforcement of new synapses, especially in your prefrontal cortex, which serves as the integration center of all of your brain-mind functions. Your frontal lobe decides what is important according to the amount of attention you pay to something and how you feel about it. Thus, the more you focus on positivity or negativity, the more synapses and neurons your brain will create that support your thought process.

Thinking positive, happy, hopeful, optimistic, joyful thoughts decreases cortisol and produces serotonin, which creates a sense of well-being. This helps your brain function at peak capacity. You can be the master of the neuronal changes that will lead to greater happiness, and the rewiring starts in those teensy miracles known as your brain cells, or neurons.

A major player in unhappiness is stress, which from a body-chemistry standpoint, means elevated cortisol levels. When feeling emotional, physical, or mental stress this blocks the brain from experiencing bliss. Brains brew the perfect hormones to create a sensation called flow, and this feeling of flow can be a superpower and can become the new normal versus stress and fight and flight.

By staying in the present moment you will keep your nervous system calm and keep your stress hormones down. In other words, staying in the present moment can lead to a decrease in stress, and therefore can increase in happiness.

What to do to support your nervous system as you practice failing and find flow:

  1. Increase your oxytocin: Cuddling with people and pets increases oxytocin release. Oxytocin is the bliss hormone that you experience when falling in love, birth, and pleasure.
  2. Add in Passion: Feeling exhilarated by projects, dance, exercise, movement, laughter. I use to as well as many of my clients approach their nutrition too seriously, try being lighter with it all, versus heavy.
  3. Sleep support: I can’t express how important sleep is. Taking care of yourself and focusing on your sleep will support you long term. Make sure you have a dark bedroom, try an eye mask, or use earplugs to help with any distractions. 
  4. Add in quality B-Complex: Take B-vitamins when you are feeling depleted and overwhelmed. Check out our B-Vitamin Blog here
  5. Celebrate your failures & learn from them: The more we can use our beginner mind and stay curious versus judging ourselves and projecting our failures as our identity, the more we will feel our true power.

We are all in this together,

Heather Fleming, C.C.N