If you’ve read any of my posts or seen any of my videos before you will have heard me relate to the primitive brain as the part of us that is wired for survival. This is a crucial element to our existence, but creates a huge problem in today’s modern world. It is the voice inside your head that tells you that everything is a problem that needs to be solved. It strives to keep us safe, taking minimal or no risks in or day-to-day lives.
It also makes every circumstance in our lives out to be a threat. Which, if we are in an actual life or death experience is extremely useful. But most of us don’t experience these types of threats day-to-day.
The problem is that because our primitive brain is on alert 24/7 making most everything mean that we have a problem, we are distracted by trying to solve things that don’t need to be solved. The most recent relatable situation was when I developed hives from an allergic reaction after surgery. For a decent chunk of time, I allowed my primitive brain to run the show.
Can you guess what this created? This created more stress, more cortisol, and guess what else it created? MORE HIVES. Instead of knowing that I was not going to die from the hives, my brain set out on a mission to figure out why it happened and to identify the thousand options that might eliminate this “problem.” Honestly, this is what most of us do each day unless we are intentional about managing our minds.
What is the remedy for this you ask? Consciously decide not to engage with your primitive brain or any thought that is not intentional. It helps to identify the facts of the situation and to keep them very neutral in description. For example, in the situation I described above I would have stated that I had small little markings on the trunk of my body. As opposed to itchy raised welts all over my midsection, which is not neutral at all.
So, anytime that you notice your mind wanting to go into the problem-solving mode, just identify the facts. Facts never cause feelings. It is our narrative about the facts that create every single feeling. After identifying the facts just watch and drop the thoughts without engaging. It helps to use a replacement focus such as a mantra or breathing.
The reality is that we will never be able to stop our minds from coming up with the 60,000 thoughts every day. However, we can pre-decide how we will handle them. The most important question to ask yourself here is: how would your life benefit from not engaging with all of the thoughts?
Asked another way: what is the price of engaging in these thoughts that your mind comes up with, mostly geared at keeping you alive, non-stop each day? The answer to these questions will be your motivation to do this practice.
I can tell you from experience that by doing this practice you will be more present, focused, and able to achieve almost anything you desire. But only work on this if you want to free yourself of stress, frustration, anger, and overwhelm. Only do this work if you want to run your mind instead of your mind running you.