How To Reprogram Your Brain Using Visualization
When my technical friends ask me what I do, I usually respond saying “I’m like a mind engineer”. As a “mind engineer”, I work with people to reprogram their minds. Why? Because our mind is our most important asset! Our thoughts create our emotions, our emotions drive our behavior, and our behavior creates our results.
But so many of us are running on old software — old beliefs, stories, and memories that do not serve us. Why is that?
SEE ALSO: What Is Your Purpose?
Why is your brain programmed the way it is?
The reticular activating system
Let me first start by talking about how the brain works. In every moment, there is so much happening in our environment. Every sound you hear, everything you see — your brain is constantly picking up on it! But not all of this information is necessary, that’s why an area of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) helps filter the information from your environment.
And how does our RAS know what’s important and what’s not? It’s what we believe is important. That means that we are the ones who are in charge of telling our RAS what to pay attention to and what is irrelevant. We’re constantly doing this every day, an example would be confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias and the RAS
Confirmation bias refers to the human tendency to search for, interpret, and favor information that confirms our current beliefs. For instance, if your best friend is introducing you to another girlfriend who she’s told you so many positive things about, you’re more likely to see those positive traits. Because you have already chosen to believe that she’s such a great person. We see this in politics all the time; if someone we hate does anything at all we’re quick to think “Of course, X would do that, they’re so Y.”
The bottom line? Our brain sees what you’ve programmed it to see. If you want to change your reality, then you need to reprogram your brain.
How to reprogram the brain
The good news is that the brain is extremely plastic — this means that it is capable of change. In fact, your neurons fire about 200 times per second. And every time they fire, we strengthen the connection. That’s why we can use the brains plasticity to our advantage and practice creating new neural patterns that serve us. Where does this start? You guessed it, the mind.
Your brain has a bit of a difficult time distinguishing real and imaginary. If you’ve ever watched a scary movie, tried to sleep afterward but couldn’t because you were terrified of demons coming after you, then you might have experienced this. Despite everything in our “logical mind” telling us we’re fine, we can’t help but see those images in our minds and as a result, we feel terrified!
Just in the same way that we visualize bad things happening to us, we can visualize the results that we want. For instance, one of my pre-existing beliefs was that “I’m not good at giving presentations.” Before a big presentation, I would imagine scenes of me messing up and feeling terrified. So every time I presented, I looked for evidence as to how I messed up.
So then I challenged myself to visualize my ideal presentation scenario. I visualized myself standing tall, articulating my points correctly and presenting with confidence. I then asked myself, what kind of thoughts would a person like this be thinking? How would this make me feel? What kind of behaviors is this person doing? And guess what? I killed the presentation!
Let’s take a step back for a second. Remember the model?
Your thoughts create your emotions which influence your behaviors, which then becomes your results.
The reason why visualization is a powerful tool is because it helps you answer these important questions:
- What thoughts do I want to practice thinking?
- How do I want to feel?
- What kind of actions will this lead to?
- How will my results change?
But remember, visualization isn’t the quick fix that will solve all of your programs. Reprogramming your brain is a process that is constantly happening every second. The more we become aware of our power to do so, the easier it becomes.
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