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Reprogram Your Brain

Are you using your brain right? The human brain has two thinking systems: A fast system and a slow system. The slow system is for carefully considering situations, and it uses a lot of energy. The fast system provides quick answers in routine situations and uses much less energy.

Our brains have evolved over thousands of years to automatically select which system to use. In every situation, the fast system gets the first try. In 98% of all cases, the fast system comes up with what it thinks is a good answer, and doesn’t even ask the slow system.

Fortunately, you can use the slow system to re-program the fast system. To change your behavior, think about a situation in advance and tell yourself what you want to happen. Your fast system might automatically say yes when your boss asks you to do one more thing today. Tell yourself that next time, you will say that you will do the task tomorrow. Simply stating your goal tells your fast thinking system that the automatic response is no longer the right answer.

You Have Options

In comparison with my American friends in Texas and elsewhere who are freezing without power, I have it easy. Even though our gas boiler just stopped, we have a fireplace to heat our home and we still have electrical power.

When you are faced with an unexpected problem, take a moment to think about your options. If your normal heating is out, do you have alternative heating sources? Do you have a cottage with a fire-burning stove? Do you have an RV heated with propane? Can you stay with someone who does have heating? Does your community provide emergency shelter for people without heating?

The most important thing you can do to improve your life is to break the chain between an event and an automatic response. You always have options.

Emotional Agility

Do you have emotional agility? If you do, you are able to respond appropriately to the challenges that life throws at you without over-reacting.

The term was coined by Susan David and Christina Congleton in a Harvard Business Review article, and it is very similar to the technique I help my clients use.

The point is to stop the automatic response that occurs when faced with unpleasant or challenging situations. Instead, you learn to become aware of your feelings, accept their existence and then take action. Breaking the stimulus-response chain is the most important thing you can do to take control of your life. Contact me if you want to learn more. Click the button in the lower right corner to schedule a free call.