How many times do you beat yourself up and think you are not motivated enough, or you simply don’t have what it takes to make meaningful changes in your life?
Have you ever thought that probably it’s not a lack in motivation that keeps you stuck, but most likely the fear of making a change?
The brains job
The brain has a very important and delicate job to do; day in and day out, it must accomplish its task, and the shift lasts for 24/7; the main job of our brain is to keep us alive.
With more than 7 billions synapses to control and regulate, the brain needs to be efficient and maintain those links and connections that have been proven to be harmless and safe for us.
The reason why our brain goes in alarm mode is that we undertake a new course of action or a new experience, that hasn’t been proven safe yet to the brain.
Our logical and rational mind knows that if we learn how to drive, we most likely make it through alive; the animal or reptilian part of the brain doesn’t know that yet, so it will provide us with all the possible support of hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, making sure that we are 100% focused on what we are doing, alert and awake and our senses are more acute than normal.
When the experience as been proven to be safe, notice how easy is to drive after 10 years upon receiving your license, then the brain doesn’t go into red alert anymore; neuron synapsis have now been built and the operation becomes a routine; it is end of the danger zone for the brain.
danger zone or just a change
Now imagine that you are in the process of making some sort of changes in your life, like a new training routine, changing job or career, wanting to change city or country; this is a red alert area for your brain. When a change from the usual pattern is undertaken, the brain doesn’t know (literally) if it is going to be safe or not, and if the new routine is going to compromise the very existence of the body and life itself.
For the most part we might be able to overcome these obstacles after a period of reflection, or talking to someone we trust, asking for advice from an expert, we literally make up our mind. We provide the brain enough evidence that will allow us to undertake the change.
Surely this doesn’t happen to start with; it might take a while before we make a final decision; some of us are more prone to risks than others, and for some people these changes will never become reality, and they will experience life from a wishful thinking prospective.
support yourself during changes and decision periods
While we are making up our mind, it is crucial to support the process and ourselves in the best empowering way. When we start comparing ourselves with others, when we feel we can’t do something because we are not good enough (brave, smart, adventurous, etc.) we undervalue ourselves, and this not only doesn’t help the decision process, but also creates a downward spiral that in some cases can lead to depression.
The first thing that we need to realise is that our brain is sending us signals as it perceives the change as a dangerous process; once we are aware of this, things tend to get easier because we might be able to isolate the negative self talk. Practices like meditation are extremely useful in this situation; during meditation we are able to focus the mind, for example on our breath, and the chatter of the mind dissipates, and with that also the negative self talk. A regular meditation practice has been proven also to bring more oxygen into our brain, allowing it to function in a sharper and more focused way.
If you really hit a road block, and the fear of making those changes prevails, it might be useful, exploring techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as Tapping; this technique has been specifically designed to sedate the fight or flight response of the brain, allowing a less emotional response to blockages, traumas and fears.
So when you find yourself in a rut, or blocked, before starting beating yourself up, thinking that there is something missing in you, start creating an environment for yourself that is uplifting but relaxed. You can diffuse peppermint essential oil, meditate more often and for longer, write lists of whys and why nots, so that instead of cluttering your head with disempowering pattern, you help your brain to discover new ones, that they might feel risky to start with, but at the same time are still safe to walk.