I just finished a course on neural change. It was fascinating! Did you know that our brain never stops changing? It is constantly building new neural connections, while simultaneously pruning those connections that we are no longer using.
Neurons that fire together actually do wire together to form neural bundles. These bundles create high-speed connections that ensure messages from our senses to our brain and back again are exchanged with the greatest efficiency. This messaging process occurs unconsciously without our knowledge or support. Imagine if we could activate our own neural networks to consciously change a habit or a limiting belief?
It is absolutely possible to do so. The unconscious mind is supported by a tiny mechanism in our brain stem called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Until recently, this small, innocuous, netlike structure was thought to be just a group of random cells. New research however, identifies that the RAS is a conduit between the unconscious and conscious minds. It is also so much more.
Imagine wearing a pair of very expensive sunglasses crafted from the latest high tech materials. These glasses are guaranteed to filter out 90% of visible light. They offer UVA and UVB protection to block 99% of ultraviolet radiation. In short, these lenses only allow light rays that are safe and supportive to get past them, to us.
The RAS performs much the same feat for our brain. Our brains are bombarded with millions of bits of information every day. The RAS acts as a filter. It sends only those few bits that are pertinent to us through to the higher brain, where they can be reviewed at a conscious level. Once a particular item or sensation has been brought to the attention of the conscious mind, the RAS is on high alert for it in our environment.
The RAS understands when we are looking for new, creative ways to build a business or create a new habit. It will bring these pathways to our attention. If our focus however, is on things that stress us out, then the RAS is going to keep finding examples of stressful things. This may be the one glitch that we must overcome when trying to harness our RAS. It is not able to discern whether it’s bringing positive or negative things to our conscious mind. It just knows that these are the items that are whirling about in our unconscious.
Hmm! How then, can we tame our indiscriminate RAS to work for us and not against us? Researchers identify that the first step is to become aware of our thinking patterns. Practise interrupting negative thoughts and try reframing them. I recently counselled a friend who had been fired from her job to think of this as the job ‘releasing her’ so that she could move on to a position that made her happy. This reframing was really quite effective.
To review; we have identified our negative thoughts or patterns. We have begun to interrupt and reframe them to something more positive. Next we can start talking out loud about what we intend to see. Get all of the senses involved. Write down goals, visualize how different life could be, move and integrate these new images into motor memory. The more senses we involve in the process, the more we strengthen our signal to the RAS.
The RAS will support us in this endeavour and others. It will bring those items to our attention that will help us to activate our goals. As we see the Universe aligning with our intentions, we begin the process of creating a future that is of our own design. After all, our present moment and our future are both manifestations of our unconscious minds.
To learn more about your Reticular Activating System and how important it is for manifesting your own success and to live a life of your own design, please call to book a 30 minute phone session with Simone Usselman-Tod, Dynamic Visioning Coach, Certified Life Coach & Business Coach and Certified NLP Master Practitioner. Learn more about Dynamic Visioning.
Stress Management and Mindset Breakthrough Coach