Feeling Safe Brain HackJun 12, 2023
When you do not feel safe or you are stepping out of your comfort zone, your Prefrontal Cortex, the rational part of your brain, will go offline and not come back until your emotions are back under control. This is a huge deal for individuals who need to shift relationally or even professionally.
Literally your thinking process gets hijacked, and the Limbic part of your brain will put you into a state of fight, flight, or freeze. It is at this point that your willpower and reasoning will no longer be effective, and you will get reduced to the reactivity of a three-year-old who’s brain does not yet logically process.
To interrupt your brain’s potentially crippling shut off system, it is important that you become aware of TWO things:
- That you are getting fearful or anxious.
- That the Limbic system is all about survival mode and is trying to protect you.
You cannot change what you do not recognize, so the first part in changing something is to recognize you are being emotionally triggered. The more consistently you recognize your peace of mind is walking out the door, the more you will be on your way to taking back the controls.
Another thing to understand is that every time you think a new thought, your brain creates a new neurological pathway. In the beginning it is very tiny and easily dismissed. But with repetition it will grow bigger and stronger until eventually it just goes there on auto pilot.
Add to the thought a strong emotion and your brain can potentially weld the two together creating some interesting dynamics that may initially not make sense to you, but know they are connected.
So, the good news is, whether you are in the process of just starting a new thought or have a long history of a negative way of thinking, consistency is the key to changing both.
To get the logical part of your brain to kick back in, the first thing you need to tell your brain is that “you are safe.” Remember, your brain is thinking you are in danger and is subconsciously being triggered by something.
After you tell your brain out loud that you are safe, you also want to follow it with a positive emotion like laughing. You make a choice to do this because your brain simply does not associate a positive emotion like laughter or even smiling with danger.
Next distract yourself. Look at something like a wall or your shoe and describe in detail the color, texture, size, position, etc. Focus on anything but your fearful emotions because by shifting your focus, you give it the message that you are safe.
One final brain hack is that when you are calm, picture yourself as an overcomer and no longer being triggered. Keep the image and emotions positive. This will allow your brain to build up new neurological pathways.
The reason why this works is because the Limbic part of the brain cannot tell the difference between the past, present or future. So, by creating a future picture, it will actually think that you are in the present; how beautiful is that!
Remember, as you keep working the tools, they will start working for you. You will be able to step out of your comfort zone and into the realm of new and better possibilities.
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