Did you know that the modern shape of your brain may be 40,000 years old? OK, I don’t mean your particular brain but all our brains are working on “coding” that was developed to keep us safe in the jungle!
This means that in many daily situations your brain and mine will often choose the fastest route to “keep you safe” even though our more modern thinking brain (prefrontal cortex) is crying out that we should use more logical options.
An important part of my work is developing simple ways my clients can take some control over their own autonomic (automatic) nervous system. This helps us make better and healthier decisions, helps us have better relationships with ourselves and the world around us and helps us feel safer and more supported in our own lives.
So here is something you can do whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with thoughts and worries that you would like at least to quieten down in your own mind.
Just imagine how you might react if someone is talking absolute nonsense about something that you know is not true. You might not want to offend them but you would more than likely raise your eyes to the ceiling wouldn’t you? These eye movements instantly make powerful changes in the brain that help engage our logical thinking cortex.
Now why not do the same for thoughts that are not supporting you. Remember, in the jungle we need to be able to make a very quick exit if a predator is about to attack us. That protective part of the brain is programmed to instantly “kick in” if we are in danger. Unfortunately the old system is in effect still using the original software in all situations. It does not distinguish between a mild irritation or a life threatening situation.
So, any time you find yourself getting into a spiral of needless worry just rapidly move your eyes towards your forehead in just the same way. This is taking you out of your primal mind and into your rational mind.
Two or three strong upward looks toward the forehead will begin to dislodge the old pattern that previously put you into “fight or flight” mode every time you thought about it. With those three upward looking glances we are triggering ourselves into a different part of our nervous system and connecting to the “new” part of the brain.
Have a bit of fun with this as you continue to help reprogramme your “unconscious thinking cues” into a different and healthier set of responses.