Take Control of Your Brain, So Your Brain Isn’t Controlling You
Your brain is a beautiful thing…..when it works the way it's supposed to work. We take our brains for granted. It just does its thing, making sure you connect with others through communication, creating visions and opportunities at work, scheduling dinners for your family, and a million other small and large actions every day.
And, it keeps you safe by sending messages to your body to wear your seatbelt, watch out for that dog that doesn’t look nice, and to lock your doors.
Here’s a secret: your brain doesn’t understand if you’re really unsafe or not.
Sure, your brain will go into overdrive to make sure you remain physically safe. Adrenaline flows, and that most important executive function (making decisions) goes out the window so you can react instantly to protect. But, it does the exact same thing when it thinks you’re emotionally unsafe too.
Seems far-fetched? Have you ever:
During an argument, said something you didn’t mean and have no idea why you said it?
Used the one parenting “skill” on your kids that your parents did to you after promising yourself you never would?
During the conflict, do you feel like you need to go drive a car, hide under the covers, or just start yelling?
Welcome to your brain protecting you, likely in situations where you don’t need protecting.
Why? Because it’s trained that way. We all grow up in households with imperfect parents. While we can put a value on “it could have been worse”, your brain doesn’t know that and doesn’t care. While we’re children, our brain creates neural pathways that become the “go-to” for these uncomfort
able and emotionally charged situations. That’s all your brain knows, and so it just keeps going to that same neural pathway.
Until it has something else to go to.
Sounds easy? It’s not because your brain does not like change. But, you can take control of your brain so your brain isn’t controlling you.
Stop the white noise
Your brain gets used to external and internal stimuli and stops paying attention. Here’s an example: if you have a white noise machine, initially your brain will keep listening because it’s new information. Eventually, though, it will stop paying attention because it’s not new anymore.
This applies to how we behave and what we think. When was the last time you actually paid attention to the things you say to yourself? Are those words automatic so you don’t hear them anymore, much like the white noise machine?
Take one hour today and write down all the things you say to yourself in your head.
Your list may look something like this:
That was stupid!
Why did I do that?
I know better!
They think I’m an idiot!
That one hour will completely change the way your brain works because you will suddenly be paying attention to something that was just white noise.
While this is only a first step, it will start you on a journey of discovering how your brain works, and how your brain is controlling the way you react to your family and friends, your confidence at work, and how you feel about yourself.
Don’t let your brain keep controlling you. Make a decision to control 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 email@example.com or by scheduling a free consult chat.