Updated: Dec 2, 2021
I vividly remember commuting on a morning train to work. As I looked around the train, there were a lot of unhappy people. They looked tired, rushed, and fed up with their lives.
How did I know?
Because I looked like them and felt the same. Maybe it was just me, taking the unhappy train to work. But it couldn’t have been a coincidence, that every morning different people looked unhappy. As I looked around, I was repeating to myself how I didn’t want to be on that train, going to a job that wasn’t my passion, deal with my unstable emotions. I just didn’t want to be in that state anymore.
Does this sound familiar? Or maybe your life is not that dark. Maybe you wish you didn’t have this excess weight, your body wasn’t that unfit, you weren’t so unhealthy, or mentally unstable or going through a hard break up? Maybe you wished you didn’t have financial debts, an aging parent you need to look after, an unsupportive partner, or working for money rather than joy?
It all sounds scary, but I have good news. There is a solution to all this. There is a way to get yourself out of the darkness and move into the light.
Why this always happens to me?
Have you ever been in a situation when you said that bad things happen only to you? You’ve just been through a rough patch and the ‘why me?’ comes up again. It’s hard not to judge when others have a better life (or it seems that way to you in a given moment).
Our prime tendencies are to look for danger, that’s why it’s so easy for you to focus on the negative rather than the positive. Our ancestors needed to be very vigilant and act within seconds when danger in the form of a lion appeared. For them, the ability to spot danger was equal to survival. And thanks to that ability, we can list all the things which are not working in our lives within seconds, when listing things that work can take us a while.
Try to count how many times a day you say what you don’t want? And then count the times when you say what you want? What’s your ratio? If your ratio of 'don’t want things' is much higher than what you want, it’s time to shift your focus.
The hardest thing
It’s very easy to say what we don’t want. And repeating it over and over well gives us more of the same. Going back to me feeling unhappy sitting on the unhappy train, showed me that I was getting more and more things I didn’t want. There may be things happening in your life right now, which you don’t want to deal with. That awareness that something is not working is an important part of the process of shifting your life. Because without the realisation, you can’t take the necessary steps to move forward.
But the hardest thing is to say what you want. It was for me. It’s so easy to list the things we don’t want to, that when it comes to listing what we want, we come up blank. It took us years or repeating of what we don’t want so that’s the only thing our brain can see now.
The first time I’ve heard of the RSA concept, I was skeptical. The second time I’ve heard about it I was still skeptical, the third time I’ve heard it I was in denial, thinking it wouldn’t work anyway. It wasn’t until I started recognising the power of RSA in my own life that I thought I’d better start paying more attention to this concept.
If you’ve never heard of RSA, you’re not alone. But just so you know, your brain follows the RSA, so the Reticular Activating System, which is located in the brain stem of the mammalian brain. It plays a part in many vital functions in human biology such as sleeping, waking, breathing, or behavioral motivation to mention a few. You use it all the time, either you realise that or not.
But the concept of RSA I got myself familiar with, was that the RSA is your control centre. As a control centre it processes the information you put into your brain and delivers results based on the information you put in. The realisation brought me to two points: it’s important what you put into your processing centre, because the more positive information you put in, the more positive outcomes you get. After all, all your thinking and actions produce results. Therefore, if you’re not happy with the results you get, you need to change your thinking and your actions. The second realization was that I can program the RSA to work for me, rather than against me.
Gain clarity of what you want
Now, when you know how your brain works and that you can tap and program your RSA, it’s time to regain your focus. To beat the overwhelm and stress in your life, to start getting the results you want you need to get some clarity.
The way to start is to ask yourself what would your life look like at your ideal level of wellness? Start focusing on the positives rather than the negatives. Listing the positive outcomes, you want to achieve will help your programming centre to start searching for ways to get them. Make your life a little bit easier by working with yourself rather than against yourself.
Are you feeling excited just thinking about the things you want out of life? Or are you feeling a bit scared because maybe this is the first time when you are asking yourself this question?
Don’t worry about the scary part, embrace the awareness you’re gaining and regain your focus. You’re in control now and it’s up to you what you tell your control centre to look for.
On the surface, it may seem that only bad things happen to you, when others live the happy life. But checking that your ratio of things you want is bigger than the things you don’t want out of life matters. The more you tell yourself what you don’t want to get, the more of the same you get. The RSA may be a concept you agree with or not, but it is part of you either you believe in it or not. It doesn’t cost you anything in shifting your focus on the things you want to get out of life, saying that you want to be happy, full of energy, and relaxed, that you want to have a meaningful job, a loving family, and be healthy. It’s OK to state out loud the things you want to get in life. And regaining focus on the positives will get your programming centre into a productive mode, and soon you will start seeing the changes in your life. Good luck, you’ve got it!
So, what is the big thing you want in your life to happen?
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