[00:00:00] Hi, welcome to today's TLC. I'm Stephanie, The Light Coach, and today I want to share four truths about your brain.
[00:00:12] Over the last decade, I've noticed that the more that I learn about my brain, the more compassion I have for myself. So my whole goal of sharing these is not to just make you smarter or more knowledgeable, but to have a little bit more space to be compassionate with yourself along the way.
[00:00:28] So keep that in mind, as they share these truths with you.
[00:00:32] Truth number one: your brain is wired for three things —to seek pleasure, to avoid pain, and to conserve energy.
[00:00:41] Every living creature on this planet has that same instinctual wiring. Now this isn't the only thing your brain does, but a good portion of your brain is dedicated to these three things because they keep you alive. Like eating food or drinking water or sleeping. These things, help our bodies get what it needs to survive. Seeking pleasure also helps us want to reproduce as a species, which keeps us alive literally as humans on this planet.
[00:01:09] Knowing that your brain is wired to seek pleasure, it can help you have a little more compassion on yourself. When you see your favorite dessert and you really want to eat a lot of it, or when someone offers you a cookie and you commit to yourself that you're only going to get one and you eat five of them. Your brain is literally wired to get more pleasure.
[00:01:29] So that was the first thing your brain is wired to do: seek pleasure.
[00:01:33] The second thing your brain is wired to do is avoid pain.
[00:01:36] It may be obnoxious that you feel pain when you stub your toe or step on a Lego or get a cut.
[00:01:43] But if you didn't have pain associated with hurting your body, you wouldn't be as careful about keeping your body safe. Your brain is wired to keep you alive and wants to keep you safe. So it avoids pain. It's the reason why we hesitate when we see somebody do something that might be risky and we worry why we're not brave enough to do it.
[00:02:03] Since our brain wants to avoid physical and emotional pain, it's one of the reasons why we resist meeting new people or getting into that relationship that we've been avoiding. Because there's a possibility of pain.
[00:02:16] Knowing this helps us drop the judgment and instead get curious about why we're avoiding pain and if it really aligns with our values.
[00:02:25] The third thing your brain is wired to do is conserve energy Like all other living things, we only have a certain amount of energy in the day. And our brain's job is to determine which tasks are worth your energy. Now, keep in mind that your brain also wants to seek pleasure and avoid pain. So it does not think doing the dishes is important. It thinks sitting on the couch and watching Netflix is way more important than doing the dishes, because that does not take a ton of energy.
[00:02:55] This is also why it loves social media, because scrolling through and checking different things feels pleasurable and takes a very little amount of energy.
[00:03:05] But, too often, when we have these urges to conserve energy, we beat ourselves up for being lazy or unmotivated or whatever negative label we put on ourselves because we feel this urge.
[00:03:17] Knowing that our brain is simply wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy helps drop the drama about thoughts and urges we have in our day to day life.
[00:03:28] That's truth one: that we are wired for certain things.
[00:03:31] The point is not to just let your brain do what it's wired to do. You also have another part of your brain (called the prefrontal cortex) that can be in charge of your brain if you choose to use it.
[00:03:43] Truth number two: it's your job to be in charge of your brain.
[00:03:48] Your brain is kind of like a toddler who wants to help with dinner. It grabs a knife and is swinging around thinking it's fun wanting to cut some things up. If you just let it go ahead and do what it wants to, it might have a little bit of fun, but it's most likely going to hurt itself or hurt something else along the way.
[00:04:07] It's important that you are the one who's making sure that that knife is used properly, and that that toddler is trained to use that knife in a safe way.
[00:04:17] This is why mindfulness is so powerful. It's a practice of being aware of what your mind is doing and refocusing your attention where you want it to go.
[00:04:26] So truth number two: you're in charge of your brain.
[00:04:30] Truth number three was implied in the others, but I want to be really clear about this.
[00:04:34] You are not your brain.
[00:04:37] So often we muddy that line and we say, "I'm the type of person who (fill in the blank)." "I'm the type of person who procrastinates." "I'm just not a morning person." "I'm the type of person who gets easily angry and lashes out at people." "I'm the type of person who just really doesn't do well with a schedule..." All of these beliefs that we have are based on how we've shown up over time, what our actions have been. But our actions just come from our beliefs. We believe something and we practice thinking it and then we create that in our lives. But the reason why we show up that way is because our neurological pathways in our brain have practiced that path so many times that it feels natural to do it, so we think that it must be part of our personality. It must just be who we are.
[00:05:28] Now I'm not saying that you are only your thoughts and there's nothing that is inherently you. What I am saying is that there are parts of your brain that you have just trained to be that way.
[00:05:39] And this is great news because if you trained it to be that way, then you can train it to be whatever way you want it to be. If you think you're not a morning person, but you actually want to be a morning person, it's totally possible for you to rewrite that. It just takes practice and effort and takes you being the boss of your brain.
[00:06:00] It takes you understanding what your brain is wired to do and knowing how to answer your brain when it offers you suggestions like sleeping in, cuddling with your pillow, and snoozing your alarm clock.
[00:06:12] Fundamentally who you are is not the same as what you do or what your brain is telling you to do.
[00:06:20] That's truth number three: you are not your brain.
[00:06:24] And last, truth number four: nothing is wrong with your brain. Now you might have all sorts of drama about this, especially if you struggle with any mental illnesses. But hear me out for just a minute... if you believe that something is wrong with your brain then you give up all of your power to influence it. Even if there are some chemical imbalances that create need for some creativity in order to navigate those roadblocks, here's the truth. If you believe that there is nothing wrong with your brain, that it was created exactly the way that it needs to be for you to succeed in your life, then you tap into all of the possibilities that are there for you.
[00:07:07] Then you can say, " The reason why I'm showing up this way is because my brain was wired this way, but I can influence that wiring."
[00:07:15] You've seen it time and time again. The most hopeless people that you felt like their lives were in shambles, find motivation to manage their brain to redirect some of their natural wiring to be more useful to them and to recognize who they are on the inside and who they want to become and to create that.
[00:07:33] The reason that's possible is because their brain is amazing. And so is yours.
[00:07:40] Nothing has gone wrong with your brain. Whatever has been created up to this point was because that's what you needed in that moment. And now there's a new learning and new opportunities ahead of you.
[00:07:53] You have the ability to create whatever you want to next. And hopefully these four truths about your brain we'll give you more space to drop the judgment about how you've shown up in the past and sparked some curiosity about what's possible for you next.
[00:08:11] Learn about your brain and how it shows up, the trends of your natural wiring, how you can be in charge, and where you've kind of let that slip remembering that you are not your brain and nothing has gone wrong.
[00:08:27] Here's today's TLC takeaway: commit right now to add curiosity, instead of judgment.
[00:08:35] Because awareness is power and curiosity is the key to unlocking what's possible.
[00:08:42] If you want to learn more about how to think light, feel light and live light, then hop on my website, www.thelightcoach.com to schedule a free intro session and explore what's possible for you. That's www.theL-I-G-H-Tcoach.com. I promise you it'll be an adventure that you will never forget.