How To Train Your Brain

mental health optimal health Jan 16, 2018

How to train your brain to produce the results you say you want, but never seem to achieve. 

In this post I’m going to get into how our minds work and I’ll walk you through why who you are right now is the sum total of the thoughts that are always playing in your head.

 Who are you right now?

Are you stressed out?

Are you overweight?

Do you live in fear most of the time?

Wherever the buck stops, let’s first review what your thought patterns are, then how you can MASTER THEM, and ultimately achieve your desired outcome.

If this is your first time here, let me introduce myself. As an international entrepreneur, a success coach for women, and a speaker, I own a number of businesses, I travel a lot, and generally have a pretty hectic lifestyle.

Training my brain has helped me with everything I’ve achieved and want to accomplish. Whether it’s a big goal, or smaller action step, focusing my mind in the ways I am going to share with you has been a game-changer.

 I believe we all have things that we want to accomplish in life, but it’s so easy for us to get in our own way!

 The fact is that person who knows you the best, and can effect any real change inside and out, is YOU.

The only thing I know is that, because you are reading this, you have a desire for personal development. You have a desire for wanting more in your life or enhancing your life in some way.

So if you want the most out of this coaching, then I want you to grab a journal, or a piece of paper, and something to write with. Note that typing notes on your computer is not as powerful, and the reason is because you need to be physically engaged as we go through this. Typing doesn’t quite work your brain the same way writing something down does. 

Write this down: Mind, Spirit, Body.

Most of us are used to Mind, Body & Spirit, but today the order we need to pay attention to is Mind, Spirit, Body.

Now write down the answers to these questions:

Who are you right now?

Are you a bit blue?

Are you unhappy with your body?

Are you not making the kind of money you want to be making?

Do you have the energy you want to have?

Who you are right now is the total of the thoughts that constantly playing in your head. Your thought patterns are directly linked to your circumstances.

 You may feel a bit down or lonely. You may feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Unhealthy or not grounded. Write down where you are now.

Our situation is the way that it is because of our thought patterns, but so much of what is happening in our minds we’re not aware of. However, some things we’re very much aware of. For example if you’ve tried a food in the past that you absolutely hate, and you see that food or are offered that food, you have an automatic emotional response followed by a physical response. Mind, Spirit, Body.

For example… I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, and when I tried sea urchin for the first time, I was at a seaside sushi stand, where you walk up to the counter and order whatever it is you want, they make it there right in front of you, and you eat it standing at this tall counter.

I had never tried sea urchin before, but I was in my early 20s and I was up for trying almost anything. I was pretty adventurous when it came to trying new foods, so when I put the sushi into my mouth, I instantly tasted something that to me – was incredibly offensive. I mean it was the most disgusting taste that ever hit my palette – it was that awful, but I had nowhere to put it. I couldn’t take it out of my mouth. I didn’t have a plate, or even a napkin to help remove it.

I felt trapped and I instantly started to sweat.  I was trying not to gag as I chewed it and although it probably only took a few seconds to chew and swallow, it felt like an eternity of torture.

Since then, there have been many times that people have tried to encourage me to try sea urchin again, and I almost have! But just the thought of it (my mind) gives me an immediate feeling because of my memory (spirit or emotion), and then my body shivers in disgust and I refuse to try it (body).

That’s a thought pattern that is pretty obvious. That mind, spirit, body relationship is very clear. But we have patterns about money, about our relationships, about our body image, our intelligence, our self worth, that are just as powerful, but we’re not as aware of them because they are playing over and over and over and over all the time.

Our subconscious mind is 90% more powerful than our conscious mind.

The Universe, or God, or the Divine, or Source, depending on your beliefs has given us a profound and priceless gift – the ability to change our path at any moment, and change our lives. We literally have the ability to shape our situation and environment. 

To help us along, we have something in our brains called the Reticular Activating System. It’s a small part of the brain that is important in goal setting, attention keeping, and sustaining life. So even though it’s small, it’s pretty important. The RAS is responsible for filtering the massive amounts of information your sensory organs (eyes, ears, tongue, skin & nose) are constantly taking in. This system selects the info that is the most important for our conscious mind to pay attention to.

Here’s an exercise for you. Take ten seconds and listen to every sound around you that you can perceive...

You weren’t paying attention to probably 99% of those sounds a few moments ago – but that (and much more when you consider your other sensory organs) is what you miss on a regular basis. This is because your RAS decides between what is important, and what can be safely ignored.

Another example… Have you had the experience of buying a car, and then all of a sudden you start seeing the same car everywhere. Your neighbors have one, it’s all over the street, and you even notice it on one of your favorite tv shows. With the vehicle that we have our daughter notices others like it everywhere. She’ll say, Hey look there’s our truck, Mama look it’s our truck just a different color. It’s the only vehicle she’s ever remembered having, and it’s also a fairly unique vehicle, so her Reticular Activation System has distinguished it as important.

What we want to do is train your Reticular Activating System to support you in achieving your goals.

So here is your reticular activating system exercises:

For 5-10 minutes a day, set a timer, and write in a journal everything that you’ve ever achieved. You may write down that you graduated from high-school, graduated from college, got married to an amazing partner, left a relationship that wasn’t serving you, bought a house, started a business, or achieved a certain level in your career. And then you’ll run out of things to write down… but the timer will still be ticking.

Don’t stop – let your brain start searching for other things. You’ll start thinking, well, what else is there? Maybe you organized the mess in that closet last month, and that felt good. You got the kids off to school. I brushed my teeth and my hair this morning (mom’s with small kids will appreciate how big of an achievement that is). Perhaps you talked to a good friend who needed support?

The idea is that we want to start training our brain to start automatically looking for what is great in your life. Your reticular activating system will start looking for everything you’ve achieved, big or small, and start recognizing them.

 It sounds so simple, and it is! This an incredibly powerful conditioning exercise because, after the timer goes off and you finish the exercise, your brain will continue to look.

The consequences of appreciating, or not appreciating, yourself and recognizing that you’re already successful, that you’re already achieving so much, has led you to where you’re currently at.

 When you recognize your accomplishments (your mind), you start to feel better about yourselves and your brain starts to motivate you (your spirit), and that triggers you into acting upon what you need to do in order to achieve your goals (your body).

How many times have you tried to achieve something - like losing some weight or exercising more, eating better or even something like writing a book - and at first you’re gung ho… Ready to go and excited! But the motivation wears off and you lose steam, your focus shifts, and you get off track.

And then most of us do what?

We beat ourselves up, of course! “Oh I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just can’t see anything through. I can’t stick to working towards my goals. I must be the problem.”

Internally that’s what’s going on. That’s what we tell ourselves. 

Externally, many of us will come up with a million excuses of why we didn’t achieve what we wanted to, but those excuses are to cover up the guilt and shame and embarrassment we feel because we think we failed.

Let me share another story about my daughter. This past summer she learned to tie her shoes on her own. My mother was staying with us and she decided she was going to teach my daughter how to tie her own laces. So one day I came home from a business trip and they meet me at the door to welcome me home, and my daughter shouts, Mama, I have something to show you!

I watched her as she painstakingly held the two laces in her tiny hands and crossed one lace over the other, and tried to slip it through a few times until she got it. Then she made a loop with one lace, while trying to hold it all together with her little fingers, and it kept falling out between her fingers. Eventually she got it and pulled the two laces together and proudly presented her shoe tied up in a bow.

Now do you think that it looked like a perfectly tied shoe…Not even close. Do you think I looked at her and said, Well honey, you didn’t really do a very good jobthat doesn’t look that great.

Of course not! I got excited and gave her a big hug and told her how proud I was, and said that what she did was amazing and that she was amazing!

And how do you think that wired her brain? Did it motivate her to keep at it? ABSOLUTELY. Did it make her feel good about trying something new, even if she’s a bit unsure and still trying to figure it out? YES.

We celebrate our kids’ achievements, we celebrate our friends and loved ones achievements … Now it’s time to celebrate yours! Every single day.

I challenge you to do this exercise every day for two weeks and I can almost guarantee you’ll feel a shift. See how your brain starts to recognize your greatness! Witness how you start celebrating your milestones – even if it’s something simple. Notice how you feel about trying something new compared to how you have felt about venturing outside your comfort zone in the past.

When I work with my clients, I make it a requirement that they celebrate their achievements big and small every step of the way. Personally I think it’s more important to celebrate the little ones that normally don’t get the attention because that where the real shifts in training your brain happen.

I believe we’re all on this planet for a reason and I believe we all have a life’s purpose. We are all so incredibly powerful and can create the lives we want! When we take a step back, recognize what is serving us and what isn’t, we’re in a better place to make conscious decisions and work towards creating the life we’re meant to live.

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