“[Norman Doidge] made it very clear that the advent of neuroplasticity isn’t all good news. He has the analogy of a mountain with fresh powder being the brain. The more often we ski down the mountain, the more snow packs on certain trails. As we continue to ride over those trails over and over again, the faster we begin to go down those trails.
“In other words, the more we practice reactivity to our fears (e.g. from small fears to PTSD), the stronger the neural connections in our brains become that make us more likely to be automatically reactive to our fears. Or, the more often we practice automatic negative thinking, the stronger the neural connections become that lead to more automatic reactivity toward automatic negative thinking.”
“The other part of this news is that our brains are wired to look for danger and pay more attention to the unpleasant than the pleasant. If I were to pay you 10 compliments and then say something judgmental or critical, you are more likely to remember and ruminate about the judgment than the compliments. As you practice this, your reinforce the neural connections that reinforce the auto-pilot reaction.”
Consciously choosing to pay attention to positive things — taking ten minutes at the end of the day to focus on the good that occurred — can reset the brain to think in new and more successful ways.