“Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides,
Ever feel like you can’t control your brain?
Think about it….
You drive away from the house, can’t remember if you closed the garage door, drive back to check…FIVE TIMES.
Walk into the kitchen THREE times and have no idea why you’re in there.
In the middle of a sentence and you just STOP TALKING because you totally lost your thought…again.
These seemingly innocuous blips can make it feel like you’re losing your mind. Odds are, your brain is in control, and you’re not.
Stick with me on this for a minute. The brain is a biological organ - it tells you to survive. Your mind, however, is what you need to not only survive but thrive. And during times of stress, anxiety and overwhelm, your brain goes into survival mode.
Surviving is a habit of the brain. Your brain is tricking you into thinking that it’s “all good” but in reality, it’s keeping you going through the motions of life. Years of COVID stress, kid’s anxiety, and stress of work have put you straight into survival mode, and your brain is telling you that this is “normal”.
It’s not “normal”. It’s survival.
Here are easy ways to get back in the driver’s seat of your brain and start thriving.
Plan out your day
I don’t mean an electronic calendar that has all your appointments - consider a handwritten planner that forces your brain to work. My favorite is the Savor Beauty Planner and it’s changed the way my brain works. (Disclosure: I’m not an affiliate marketer for Savory Planner but if they get a million orders and want me to be - I’m all in!).
This planner, or a planner like it, forces you to WRITE down what your week looks like, and actually be INTENTIONAL about life instead of going through the motions. Don’t take my word for it - I recommend it to all my clients and they LOVE it AND refer it to their family and friends.
Consider what you want your “normal” to be, not what it is
All this brain survival junk becomes your normal life junk, keeping you from noticing that you’re not thriving. Think back to a time when you felt joy, had fun, and loved living this life.
That feeling is what your normal should be. Reminding yourself of that feeling will get your brain out of survival mode, and get you retrained to get into the thriving mode.
Write down your thoughts
There is so much junk going on in your brain that it’s become white noise. When I meet with new clients, one of the first things I ask them is “what negative thoughts do you hear in your brain?”. The typical response, and the one I expect, is “none”.
After a few weeks of retraining their brain, these amazing, successful, and competent women are shocked at the amount of negative junk they say to themselves - and didn’t even know it. We get so used to hearing all that junk that our brain stops paying attention.
So, pay attention. Write down all the thoughts you have for 30 minutes a day for three days. You will start actually listening and be able to take control of your brain, so it’s not controlling you.
Changing your brain isn’t that hard, it just takes patience, intention, and action. YOU have everything you need to live a calm, authentic and intentional life. You just need to get smarter than your brain.
Mattie is a counselor, coach, and CEO of Cerebrations, LLC. With over 25 years of experience in understanding how the brain affects our emotions, reactions, and our experiences, she is passionate about empowering women to harness the power of their brain and body connection to create intentional action and deeper connections with their families. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by scheduling a free consult chat.