You know how it works when you buy a red truck, and all the sudden you see lots of red trucks? When my kids were much younger we struggled with money. God provided for us with vans. I think we must have set a record for owning the most 1992 era Dodge Caravans in our state after the year 2005. We owned 4, one right after the other. Even though I said I’d never drive a minivan… You kinda need one with four kids under 6… I couldn’t find a photo, so just picture a very old minivan. Those things last forever! I had never noticed them before. During that time I noticed all of them. Now I don’t notice them at all (probably because they are now antique!) There’s a reason for that.
You have a pencil sized device in your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). This is the part of your brain that decides how to filter out all the unnecessary information you get each second. If non-essential info wasn’t filtered out, you’d go crazy. It would be totally overwhelming. Scientists say you can handle 40 bits (not sure what exactly a bit is) of info a second into your conscious mind. But the amount of information coming into your eyes straight to your brain is 40 million bits! I’m so grateful I don’t have to think about processing all that!
So how does your brain decide what gets past the subconscious into the conscious part of your mind and into your life? Programming.
Your mind needs to keep you alive and safe. So anything that could be a threat will get into your conscious. What’s a threat? Well, there are real threats, like an angry dog, or speeding car. Then there is programming from past experiences with danger. Maybe you were bit by a dog years ago, so ALL dogs are scary. Your RAS puts any dog in the high alert section. Even a small, harmless dog.
Your mind also needs to feel belonging. So other humans get priority- especially family and loved ones. My husband snores in bed right next to me at night and I rarely hear it. But if my daughter is whimpering across the house, I hear that. (I may wait to see if Travis will get up first, but I still hear it…) Social scientist know that you also pick up on tons of body language unconsciously. When people hide their hands behind their back, it makes you uncomfortable. If people don’t make eye contact, you don’t trust them.
We get what we look for. Einstein said, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” You probably know someone who can be having the most wonderful experience and find something wrong with it. They’ve told their RAS to find what’s wrong. Not intentionally. But if they believe, “Nothing works out for me.” Then that’s what they’ll find. Your programming is built and wired until about age 12. Most of it is helpful and keeps you alive. But if you find yourself responding to anything or anyone in a way that’s not serving you, or there are things showing up in your life over and over that you don’t want, there may be some faulty programming. The good news is that you can change the program at any age!
The best way to get your Reticular Activating System on board with your goals is through visualization. This is simply visualizing the behavior you want, feeling how it feels to have it or do it. You see yourself getting an A on a test, being the weight you want to be, or going to the place on your bucket list. You also picture yourself doing the things you need to do to get to the goal, and feeling good about doing it. You don’t just sit at home waiting to lose 50lbs, you picture yourself eating right and doing an activity you enjoy to get to that goal. You picture yourself enjoying exercising. You picturing yourself studying and remembering facts to ace the test.
I’m not talking about visualizing a new jet or a mansion. I’m talking about using this to have freedom in areas that have been holding you back. If you’ve had terrible relationships, picture a person treating you well, feel the peace of having a healthy relationship. Imagine being heard when you disagree, respected when you say no. If you’ve hated your body for years, picture yourself loving your body. Imagine what it might feel like to like your unique shape. Use your imagination to see yourself leaving food on a plate and feeling great about it. Telling your boss you won’t work on weekends as often, and feeling strong and confident. Most people never even think about doing this, but it works so well. You set up your mind to let in the data that goes along with what you are visualizing!
You can do this by sitting for a few minutes each day and using your imagination. You can write it out or just think about it. Don’t make it too hard. If you can, have fun with it. Your mind is amazing at this. You literally train your brain what to filter in.
I tell people pretty regularly that most of the time you can do this stuff on your own to deal with most problems without outside help. But if you have an area where you are stuck, Rapid Transformational Therapy, or RTT, can help. RTT is incredibly effective with this, because your mind responds to pictures, and in a session you’re able to picture yourself having and living out the behavior you want.
You are already using your RAS all the time. Use it on purpose! Try the technique of visualization. Be consistent for a while. You might be amazed how well it works. If you are struggling and need extra help, go to www.cyrinatalbott.com for more info about RTT.
Want to keep getting blogs like this? Sign up here for my email list.