How to Stop Reacting and Start Living
Let’s talk a little bit today about how your brain works, and what you might do to improve the way it works so you can get better outcomes in life.
When you are in a reactive place, there are chemicals running through your brain which, in a sense, physically make you narrow-minded.
What does that mean? It means it shuts down a large part of your neocortex and you become more driven by survival responses (the limbic brain). Things that would have otherwise seemed rational to you had you been open – information that you would have been able to make sense of, that you may have been able to use – have actually shut off, because you get in this defensive zone.
Research has been done on this, using people from competing political parties who have very different views. If you take one person from either side, and you swap them over so they’re surrounded by people of a different view, do you think they would become softer or harder in their views? In fact, they become harder. Because they feel the challenge, neurologically they begin to shut down any other idea. That is just a brain response, a survival response.
So how do we change that?
We change that through something you would have heard about very often, and that is MINDFULNESS.
Mindfulness is essentially the ability to sit back and observe. It’s the ability to watch what’s going on, to think about your thinking. It’s called METACOGNITION.
Now, what they’ve discovered is that if you can get back and watch what’s going on, without being immersed in the emotional response, you are immediately promoting different chemicals to the brain, which bring the neocortex back on line and you are able to think more rationally.
When we react in life those reactions keep getting us the same results, getting us stuck.
We see something that hits a raw button – we feel a certain way, we behave in a certain way – and we make a decision that is not empowering.
The brain has 100 billion neurons. This is the way messages get passed around in the brain, and this is what enables the brain to send messages to the body to behave in certain ways. Now what we know is that when neurons fire together, they wire together. It creates a habit. I do something in a certain way and it becomes a habit, because once I’ve done it over and over (as you know if you’ve ever practiced anything that you wanted to get good at) it becomes easier, you don’t have to think about it – driving your car is a great example. It becomes automatic.
It’s the same in our responses to life. If we can watch those responses, if we can watch what’s going on and not be so caught up in it, caught up in the movie and the experience and the illusion of it, then those connections – those little habits and pathways, those neurones that fire together – become weaker. And so we can begin to break habits, we can begin to break old patterns.
Begin to access in yourself (in a conscious time) great feelings about yourself. Imagine yourself in the workplace, or imagine yourself in a relationship or imagine looking at yourself in the mirror and feeling fantastic – joy, bliss, excitement, enthusiasm, whatever it is for you – and really hold on to those feelings.
As you do that, you know what you’re doing? You’re building a different neural pathway, a new pattern. Then when those old patterns come up and you observe them, you can access that new pattern.
If you do it enough and over time, you know what? Those old patterns disappear. Now, that’d be great, wouldn’t it?
Once the old patterns disappear, and you’ve got these new patterns that are empowering about who you are and what you can do and what life can be for you, do you think you turn up in life the same way?
Do you think you’ll get the same results? Of course not. See, the aim of transformation is to turn up differently.
If you think you can turn up the same way you’ve been turning up the last 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of your life and get different results, you’re dreaming. You have to turn up differently. Does that mean you have to make up who you are? Absolutely not. But what you need to do is let go and move on from all the stuff you think you are, and get in touch with who you really are. That person has unlimited potential, that person can do amazing things, that person has a brain we cannot even begin to understand in its complexity, its ability.
You have incredible human potential. All you need to do is work out how to get out of your own way.
Join us on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 from 7pm – 9pm for this powerful FREE evening.
The Gift – The Passion Test, an excerpt
Can a simple test change a person’s life? Through their New York Times bestseller ‘The Passion Test’, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood have inspired thousands to shape their lives by discovering their passions and living according to what matters most to them. Readers can identify their top five passions by taking the Test, and then learn exactly how to align their lives with their priorities by following the Attwoods’ easy-to-follow step-by-step program of action.
Have a great day, and bring your best to the world.
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