When it comes to self-coaching it is important to have a basic working knowledge on how the brain works. By having this basic knowledge, it can help you, “be onto yourself.” It might be helpful to know when you don’t feel like doing something new it is a completely normal feeling to have. That tells you that your limbic is doing its job, trying to protect you and keep you safe. In fact, it is only through repeatedly engaging your prefrontal cortex and making the decision ahead of time that you are going overcome the limbic’s natural response.
For example, most of us have to talk ourselves into exercise or even just to go for a walk. It’s not just the thinking it is the action you decide to do after the thought. The idea of not getting up will not completely go away but you can create a neurotransmitter pathway that is so strong that you don’t necessarily have to talk yourself into anything anymore; you just get up and do it. Creating a Habit truly is a conscious decision.
When it comes to the human brain, I will be the first to admit that I am an amateur as to understanding its complexity. I find it so interesting that I’ve completed much independent study on the matter. I marvel at the way our brain works and how throughout history you can see us evolving as our world evolves.
We would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the hard wiring of our limbic system. As we grow from infancy to a child, we learn the boundaries of what is safe. Memories of each life event are stored so we can use it as a reference point when something similar occurs later in life. The Limbic System keeps us safe from things that might harm us allowing us to react when needed based on instinct. From the beginning of time, the limbic system allowed us to conserve energy, find safety, reproduce, and protect ourselves and our loved ones. My thought when I think limbic is “caveman.”
Our Prefrontal Cortex fully engages when we stop reacting and start creating with our own choices. This is the reasoning part of our brain; it helps us to navigate our daily lives through problem solving. As we became more self-aware, we grew more creative as can be evidenced by the Industrial Revolution and the many objects of convenience we use today. Someone thought it out, then created it, not knowing if it was possible or going to work, then it became a reality. Such an action as this is us deciding to use our prefrontal cortex.
Realize your limbic system is there to protect you from potential danger. This realization could be helpful when trying something new, if you foresee obstacles ahead of time and plan for them, this is you being in the driver’s seat using your prefrontal cortex. You are not ignoring the warning signs you are aware and say thank you to the Limbic but move forward in spite of it.
If It was up to our limbic, we would stay in bed, eat what and when we want, watch what we want, and make little to no decisions. If the caveman had our resources that might be exactly what they would have done. Animals also have a limbic system, so animals instinctively do what is needed to survive. What animals don’t have is the reasoning part of the brain. As our world becomes more automated it is up to us to make conscious decisions on how we want to live our life; constantly afraid or creating solutions to obstacles in our path.