How Your Brain Stops You From Changing

Change is the ultimate paradox of the human experience; we are constantly changing through the aging process, our experiences and our environment, and yet the vehicle in which we operate pretty much hates change of all kind.

You know what I'm speaking want to start a goal (or finish a project you began 12 years ago), carry out an exercise program, change a relationship, study something, or even choose to eat an apple over a cookie. And the moment you find the resolution within yourself to do don't. (Que: self-loathing, remorse, guilt, pressure, Netflix and chocolate.)

You are not entirely to blame for this phenomena because you possess the worlds most advanced thinking machine. Which sadly has one tinsy-tiny character flaw⁠—it is lazy AF.

Our brains are hard-wired to conserve energy which means that they love habits and detest change. Change requires them to wake up from sleep mode and start working. Whereas if you keep doing the same thing over and over (and over) again they can happily stay on autopilot and carry on indulging in memories and future plans where all your enemies have been vanquished, and you have taken your rightful place as ruler of the universe.

Getting out of paralysis and staying committed to your convictions requires the conscious (and mature) you to recognise this physiological trait. When you can disassociate your self from your physical brain, you have a lot more power to override it's functions as you will no longer be emotionally invested in all the excuses it vomits out.

Think about that: wouldn't you feel better about yourself knowing that your success is determined by working around a lazy computer, rather than identifying your self-worth, talents and capabilities with said data-capturer? You can retrain your brain to stop avoiding change with a bit of daily effort until it becomes habitual and your new 'sleep mode'. More on that here.

As if the lethargy of your character-flawed super computer wasn't enough to contend with, your brain likes to torture you with an emotional onslaught to make sure you don't initiate any change. It does this by deep-diving into all your wounded memories and throwing every negative emotion it can find at you. Gym? Hell no! Someone never passed you the ball in 3rd grade and you have reeeeeeeeally low self-esteem around exercise....remember? Nudge nudge wink wink let's rather go back to bed.

This emotional onslught is called 'triggers' for the simple reason that they are designed to trigger you into inaction by responding in one of four ways:

  1. Flight: OCD behaviour and obsessive thinking mixed in with a lot of anxiety and a real difficulty in relaxing and trusting to life unfolding as it should.
  2. Fight: Aggressive, confrontational behaviour that sees a lot of ‘action’ but none of it is purposeful or conscious. Problems are created where they don’t exist, drama fuels the motivation, and there is a lot of busyness but no true progress.
  3. Freeze: This reaction is a complete dissociation from the decision/event/desire. This can include too much sleep, binge watching tv and refusing to take responsibility. It is a state of contraction where no growth or progress happens.
  4. Fawn: People in this category seek to make themselves unthreatening by people pleasing, focusing on others to the detriment of themselves. They avoid action by giving their attention, time and energy to others. Co-dependent relationships are a result of this.

Nobody promised that the human experience would be easy, luckily though, we have the ability to learn and make adjustments with the knowledge we gain.

If you want to have an easier time with your goals and desires, see which one of the above four responses you default to, and refine your healing journey by choosing which thoughts you do and don't wish to believe. Remember at the end of the day it's all data and hormones and Not. The. Real. You.

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