You’ve gone to your mail box today and there is another letter with a BIG red stamp on it – OVERDUE it reads. Your stomach is churning. Your breathing becomes shallow. Your heart rate has increased.
You look in the pile of mail and notice another credit card bill – Oh No! Is it that time of the month again – I desperately wanted to pay out this balance out, but how will I even make the minimum payment?
Your mind is going in what feels like 100 different directions at once. You’re walking faster and faster as you make your way back to your office. You don’t see the traffic ahead of you and all of a sudden there is a loud horn blaring at you – you quickly jump out of the way of a moving car. That was close – now you’re really in a state of panic. Every nerve fibre in your being is yelling at you –
NOT SAFE NOT SAFE NOT SAFE.
You start to feel nauseous, your mouth is dry, and you have visions of being kicked out of the home you are living in with nowhere to go, and no one to help. Worse than that – you have visions of your friends and family saying – I TOLD YOU SO! You thought you could be a business owner, who were you kidding?
I know this story isn’t unique or new. However, what I do notice, is how many people want to logically and carefully think their way out of this situation. And reading this, in the calm state of reading a blog post you might also be thinking – well that makes sense, we need to calmly and logically rethink this poor person’s financial situation and maybe help them work on their catastrophic thinking.
However, this person is you. And this person is me – and right now in the moment of this experience and many more like it – no amount of self-control, willing, wishing or manifesting is going to allow our brains to be calm and for us to think logically. Now please understand that I am not a neuroscientist, however since I have learned about our brain and its peak performance state, this knowledge has revolutionised my life.
For the sake of this being a blog post – I am going to keep this simple, so we can learn and apply this. This information has been so powerful when used in context that participants of the Success Mindset Masterclass have left the event and immediately applied it with clients with incredible results.
The 4 parts of your brain that you need to know about
1. PFC – pre-frontal cortex; our evolutionary masterpiece.
2. The Limbic system – our survival center.
3. The basal ganglia – our habitual hardwiring.
4. The reticular activating system, RAS – our data filter.
Is this Blog Post I’m going to share with you the #1 thing you MUST know about your PFC and your Limbic system – get this, and look out – your life is about to change!
Image source: Michelle Loch, Your Brain is Your Business
My goal is to RAISE awareness of our brain function. There is no way in 1 blog post can I give you all the information and application that you need. I’ve met and worked with so many people who, if they could just understand this 1 specific function of how their brain works, would reduce so much guilt shame and ongoing panic.
So here is a snap shot of how your Limbic system and your Prefrontal Cortex work: ©
What I do want to help you understand today is this
Once you have engaged the Limbic system of your brain – when you are in fight or flight mode, you can’t also be in logic mode.
The PFC and the Limbic system do not work together. In fact, they will only work when the other is switched off!
In short – the Pre-Frontal Cortex cannot operate while your Limbic system is operating.
How many times have you tried to rationally and calmly think your way out of a panicked state? Does it work? Hardly. Think back to a time when you went “limbic” or into a panic.
- What happened?
- Were you able to make logical decisions, or decisions that you later regretted? I’m awesome at making a decision even if it is only to relieve the pressure and stress of something needing to change. Decisions I will later regret when, out of a limbic state will state – well Jo, that could have used some more thought.
- How well can you focus and concentrate when you are upset about something? Not very well would be my guess.
We place so much pressure on ourselves to be able to think and logic ourselves out of a state of panic. Is it any wonder then that we don’t see durable, long lasting behavior change when we are triggered by something that makes us feels anxious or panicked? It’s just not a logical state of being!!
The solution is to have a strategy with action steps in place BEFORE you hit the panic button. A strategy so once you know that going limbic has occurred, you can put into place a process that will be useful for you and stop you from perpetuating the panic or making decisions that result in consequences where we could see a spike on our limbic functioning again.
How do we make this practical? OK here we go….
Imagine how you would feel if 7 client’s all closed in the same week? Would that make you feel panicked? Would that make you feel sick, would that put into place a cycle of conversation and behavior that goes something like this
If you’ve ever experienced this situation you know exactly how quickly out thoughts can run away with us. And you will recognize that these thoughts are involuntary. We don’t have to work hard to think them, they easily come to us filling us up with more reasons to panic and stay Limbic.
So how can we stop this? Well, you won’t stop your limbic system from functioning. You see it has a purpose and that purpose is to keep us alive – so thank you Limbic system. Therefore, we don’t want to stop this from turning on. What we want to do is to learn to recognize those fears that will trigger our limbic system when its most unhelpful.
And once we have those fears and triggers identified we want to put a strategy, a plan in place to help us acknowledge that once we are triggered we can more quickly calm down and move out of limbic and move into logic (using our PFC)
So The #1 Neuroscience Hack You Need to Implement Now is:
You can’t be Limbic and Logic at the same time
Primary reference “Your brain is your business” Michelle Loch, 2015
You and I both know that when we take quick action then we will be more committed to making the change sustainable. It is my wish for you that you can move out of limbic for reasons that aren’t life threatening and we can use our brains more effectively.
I would love to know how you are able to put this information into practice this week. Leave me a comment in the comments section below, letting me know how you are going to put this information into practice.
Here’s to your success – Jo