I can’t do that. What! No, silly, you got this, what if don’t. It’s everyone else. What is wrong with me? I’m awesome! That depends… who is this?
Sounds confusing? That’s because it can be. Mind chatter and your internal monologue can be enormously overwhelming. If I was to ask you to lock yourself in your own mind for the day, would you take me up on that offer? Most people would probably decline knowing what’s in store from them.
Random thoughts, semi-sentences, visions that blur memories with fears, fantasies and hopes, voices telling you opinions and judgements that don’t feel like your own.
Learning to control the white noise and negative mind chatter is the key to creating a more disciplined and happier life, but first, you need to take back control of your brain.
To keep complicated things simple, let’s break down the most complex organ in the universe, the brain, into three very general departments: the Amygdala, the Limbic System and the Frontal Cortex.
The Amygdala is your unthinking reptilian brain. It’s not inspired or motivated to live a luxurious life. Instead, the Amygdala is only interested in keeping you alive. This reactionary almond-sized part of the brain is tens of thousands of years old and is governed by sensory stimuli only. It’s your flight, fight or freeze zone that is responsible for instinct. It is an essential part of the brain with our best interest at heart, but sometimes the Amygdala’s intentions can get lost in a modern world where we no longer need to fight off lions and tigers.
The Limbic System is your emotional CEO. It’s always the unthinking brain designed to digest all incoming sensory data subconsciously, and then catalogue every experience you’ve ever had. The Limbic System is similar to the Amygdala’s role, as it is also responsible for ‘animal instinct’s like fear, danger, reproduction and caring for offspring.
Here, we developed habitual behavioural strategies to keep us safe, sound and surviving. The Limbic System is highly emotional and responsible for sometimes counterintuitive behaviours, like when you find yourself in front of the fridge during a diet inhaling chocolate – even though you know, you shouldn’t.
Enter The frontal Cortex: responsible for only about 10 per cent of all your decisions, but sadly the only part of your brain that has logic and language. The frontal cortex now has the challenging job of giving meaning to your choices and actions. This is a dangerous task on any given day considering a lot of what we do feel and act upon is either irrational or rational, but we don’t have any control over it – the primal brains mostly win.
The Frontal Cortex is where your perception of reality is created and how your emotional conviction is rationalized into action. The Frontal Cortex fuses present emotions with your past experiences, your values and habits, in turn, designing your ideas and perceptions about what your environment means and places you at the centre of your universe.
However, there is more than one sun in the universe, and thinking, behaving and interacting like you’re the centre of the galaxy can be enormously detrimental in a complex social society. Who says you are the centre of your universe? What would happen if instead of understanding reality subjectively or individually, you could observe reality objectively and accurately?
How do you think your self-perception and understanding of your environment would change if you could become more mindful of your three separate brains?
Can you create a mindful internal dialogue, that acknowledges and understands your deepest thought processes? Understanding your mind is the key to living a fuller and clearer life. You can’t change what happens to you, but you can control your reactions and responses. Becoming a better communicator with your own mind is the first step to successful communication into the outside world.