Did you know that you have two brains? No, not your right and your left. Nice try, though. When you have information come into your brain, it is channeled to one of two areas: the Thinking Brain or the Reactive Brain, which I refer to as “Autopilot.” Here is the disappointing part: the thinking brain—the part that makes conscious, deliberate decisions that are well thought out and planned—only makes up about 17% of the brain’s processes. The Reactive Brain does all of the rest. The Thinking Brain consumes a majority of your oxygen and energy resources.
When you are under stress or ill, guess what happens? The part of your filtering system to your brain shuts down all pathways to your Thinking Brain. Why is that? Because it has to conserve the energy and oxygen resources to help your body combat the effects of stress. So, everything gets channeled to your Reactive Brain. At this point, you may be thinking you are making your decisions when, in fact, you really have little control. Your brain is finding the quickest fix and the shortest path to deal with the information, so it can move on to the next thing. That’s it.
Ever look back on something and wonder, “What was I thinking?” The fact is, you probably weren’t! You were reacting. More than likely, if you look at the context of what was going on in your life at the time, you were under some sort of stress which rendered you completely ineffective in making deliberate, conscious choices for your life. The same thing is going on when you feel like you are spiraling out of control.
Here is the good news: you can control it! Whew! Did I have you worried there for a minute? Yes, you can control it in three steps.
Step One: Program your brain for success. Affirmations, visualizations, setting intentions, mindset—they are not just some new age, feel-good philosophy. They work. There is a science behind them! I talk to clients who are caught up in some big, overwhelming problem they just can’t see past. Their Reactive Brain is taking over, and what they are thinking makes sense. In the long term, though, it’s just a Band-Aid to a bigger problem. So, I drill down. Normally, there is a huge burden causing stress. When we identify that stress, I have clients sit for a minute or two with their eyes closed imagining what it would be like and feel like for that burden to be gone. Just tell the brain, “This is gone. Now tell me what it feels like.” The results are so encouraging!
I had someone recently do this who is under a lot of stress, and it has been adding up to the point of becoming a health threat. She experiences several challenges, including some very specific pain that just a few months ago was non-existent. When she sat for just a minute with this visualization process, she had something happen to her that surprised even me. I’ve never had a client communicate with me about something so specific. I gave her zero expectation about what was supposed to happen with this exercise. I just wanted her to experience a moment of zero stress and see how it feels. She reported that this very specific pain she had been dealing with disappeared during that exercise. She hadn’t even noticed it until I asked her to do a quick body scan from head to toe to note anything specific.
I am going to prove it to you. Get a sticky noteor something you can write on that you see every day, preferably first thing in the morning. You can set a reminder on your phone if you wish. Write this down: “Today, I am going to see orange. It is going to catch my attention and wave hello!” Now, every morning for the next 3 to 5 days, read that. Let it soak in. Then, see if you can write down how many times during the day you see orange. Take a picture of it and post it on Facebook or Tweet it. Use the hashtag #iseeorangetoday. I want to see your orange!
Successful people will tell you that they were envisioning success in their days long before they really ever achieved any level of success. They credit that visualization process as a key factor in their success, and it continues to be a part of a successful lifestyle. Why does this work? There’s a big secret I’m about to reveal to you. Are you paying attention? The brain does not tie itself to reality. When my client imagined her burden was gone, her brain responded accordingly as if that were reality. When we envision our perfect day unfolding before us, our brain assumes that to be the reality, and guess what? Our days just seem to go better when we do that! This is why affirmations work! This is why intentions work. This is also why you will be seeing orange for the rest of the week!
Step Two: Manage your stress. Do what has to be done to manage your stress. Make this a priority. Stress is your enemy. It is impossible to completely eliminate it, because life happens. Become an effective manager of stress. Meditate. Keep a gratitude journal. Relax. Go for a walk. Breathe! Whatever you can do to release stress and keep optimum oxygen resource levels, do it. This includes staying hydrated!
Step Three: Manage your energy. You want to be sure you have enough energy reserves so that your body will not shut down your Thinking Brain. If you need to nap, take a nap. Some days, you won’t need one. Some days, you might need three! You only need 20 minutes to recharge and get the boost you need. So, take it! Your brain will thank you for it. You will be more productive. Food can be a fuel source. One of the best foods you can eat for energy is protein. Stay away from carbs and processed sugars. Those are temporary and are often followed by a crash, leaving you ready for another nap. Protein is really important. If you will eat a high protein breakfast within the first 15 minutes of waking up in the morning, it will help curb your sugar and carb cravings for the rest of the day. Another trick is to take 2 teaspoons of coconut oil after lunch.
I also recommend a book called The Charge by Brendon Burchard. This book has by far helped me maximize my energy for my days. I teach a lot of his methods from this book to my clients.
Your brain is an incredible tool at your disposal. You can program your day and your life by learning to program your brain for success and managing your supporting environments effectively so your brain can work at its optimum capacity.* Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Consistently envision success for your life. Visualize it. Commit to it by writing it down. Then, be amazed at what your brain will help you accomplish! #iseeorangetoday
Let’s practice. Comment below. Visualize a dream for your life coming true. Sit with it for one minute. Eyes closed. Share in the comments what you visualized and what it feels like.
* I am doing a free webinar this week on how to do Energy Blocking for your day. Instead of doing Time Blocking to schedule your day, this process teaches you how to manage your energy by maximizing optimum energy patterns in your day. It’s too detailed to go into here, but the webinar will teach you how to do that. I don’t have the webinar link set up yet, but once I get it set up, I will leave it in the comments below.
MelAnn Morales is a L.I.F.E.Strategist & Empowerment Coach. She is passionate about recreating that space between a rock and a hard place to win at the unfair game of life. She can find powerful life lessons in what she sees or experiences in every day life and excels at creating powerful habits and strategies that keep life moving forward when it encounters crisis or the unexpected. She hijacks the status quo. She “unschools” her two children. She enjoys photography, cooking, movies, reading, music, the outdoors, and the adventure of travel and new experiences. You can find her at melannmorales.com.