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Mindsets can be changed – so, what is brain plasticity, exactly?

(Photo by Manu M. on Unsplash)


Last week I published my manifesto, you can read it here.
I am incredibly proud of it and feel galvanised when I read each principle, they really do bring me alive and are the reason I get out of bed in the morning (which I will add is quite a feat as I LOVE my bed).
The 10 guidelines I described are how I want to live. They are how I want my clients to live. In fact, they are how I want everyone to live (but that’s a separate conversation). They are why I coach and I will spend my life supporting women in their journey to living their most beautiful lives.
But, after writing them I thought about some I know, a woman I love and care about very much. She is fierce. She is feminist. She agrees with every word I wrote. Yet, she is a self-confessed people-pleaser and it seems more likely that Elon Musk will get to Mars before she stops.
Which got me thinking.
There must be other brilliant women out there who agree with what I say but feel like it is unrealistic for them to live the lives they ache for. Their dreams are too far away, too much work, too disrupting of the status quo and they have too many commitments. But it is one thing to clap and cheer for the manifesto and quite another to embody it. And, it is not possible to realise how truly incredible, beautiful, raw, real, full and FREEING life can be until you really are living on your own terms.
Do you believe this kind of life is possible for you?
This is where I come in.

A life, your life, on your own terms is not as unrealistic as you might think, and, even better, it is within you. You have everything you need already, right now at this moment, to start living life on your own terms.

But, let’s say for example you describe yourself as a people-pleaser and it is getting you down. You put others first. It has become second nature to you. And, you worry about the impact on your relationships and life if you stopped. You often wonder, “can I even stop?” You want to:

  • Stop people-pleasing → start putting yourself first
  • Stop doubting your decisions → be certain and sure about what you want
  • Reduce insecurity → increase confidence
  • Reduce self-doubt → increase self-trust
  • stop undervaluing yourself → start knowing your worth
  • Stop feeling lost → start fostering a deep connection to yourself
  • Stop living a life you believe you should have → start living life on your own terms

Changing the above starts with your mind and with your thoughts. If we can imagine a better life for ourselves we can build a better life for ourselves. If we can imagine changing our mindsets we can change our mindsets.

  • If you are a self-identified people-pleaser – you can change this
  • If you doubt yourself – you can change this
  • If you undervalue yourself – you can change this

I Promise.

How do I know? Well, let me ask you this – did you know you can re-wire your brain?! Literally, change the way it is wired?
Up until about 3 years ago (for me) and around 50 years ago (for scientists), I/they did not either.
I thought the brain I have is the brain I will always have so, the thoughts I have, the way I think and the things I believe will also always be the same. I thought if I am anxious I will always be anxious. That’s the way it is.

But I was wrong.

We now know the brains structure can literally change. For so many scientific and medical reasons this discovery has been revolutionary. On a micro-level, for myself, a person endlessly curious about humans and whose work is about helping people cultivate change it really is Fucking Cool.
This brain change I speak of my friends is neuroplasticity.
When nerve cells in the brain (neurons) talk to each it causes a connection. These connections allow everything in your body to happen from movement to thoughts and emotions. When neurons talk to each other in ways they have not before new pathways form. The more we use these connections the more established and worn the pathways become. Just as a well-trodden path would in real life.
Your brain has the ability to re-organise and restructure itself in response to any challenge you may face. In this case, let’s consider people-pleasing. If you challenge yourself to stop people-pleasing, the more you do it the more the brain will reorganise itself to this new way of being. Brain plasticity shows us the more we practice utilising new and different mindsets, responses or emotions the more worn they will become in our brains and the more we will naturally default to these ways of being. They become second nature to us.

I (think 😉) I have mentioned before but I am hellbent on helping women learn how to stop people-pleasing and start living life on their own terms. A life, free from perfectionism and full to the brim with grace, kindness and compassion. But, if you (like I used to be) are deep in the trenches of people-pleasing and don’t recognise your life as the one you had hoped for it might seem like a fantasy to imagine not living like this.


So I have three things to say:

  1. You have to be able to imagine your dream life before you can create it
  2. If you can change the way you think and the way you see the world, you can re-wire your brain in a way that supports this
  3. It is 100% possible to change the way you think

You can practice and train your brain to learn a new language. You can also practice and train your brain to adopt new mindsets which pave the way for a new way of being. Fostering mindsets that support the life you want is absolutely crucial. If the life you want to lead is the structure, your mindset is the foundation. And, it underpins everything you want to do.

I am not saying it is easy, but I am saying it is possible. And, I am not sure about you but all I need to know is something is possible, and I am in.

The most beautiful life you can imagine IS possible for you.


Hello, I am Lucy Siddall. I am a Positive Psychology Coach who helps folk develop their self-trust using whole-hearted, creative and nurturing strategies. If you would like to receive my newsletter - Letters on Life, please click here to subscribe.

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