It's not me, it's my brain

Sep 10, 2021

When I married my late husband, I got a package deal in that he had a 5-year-old daughter. She was incredibly cute and oh so talkative – as in non-stop chatterbox level talkative. Her Dad once asked her if she ever stopped talking and she replied, “It’s not me, Daddy, it’s my mouth.”

I still think about it and laugh. And now I see the parallel in life after loss, only with a slight modification: It’s not me, it’s my primitive brain.

You see, the more we’re listening to the fear-based, scarcity-filled brain chatter, the more it feels like we’re stuck on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It may sound something like:

I don’t know how to do this.

I can’t make a decision.

I’m filled with fear.

I am incredibly overwhelmed.

I’m so broken.

Just as my little stepdaughter felt that she had no control over her mouth, it can feel like we have no control over our primitive brain chatter. And even worse, if we don’t know better, we simply believe everything we think – which keeps us stuck.

Here is the truth: we have complete control over our thoughts. We can use our prefrontal cortex, sometimes called the higher brain, to direct our thinking. We can think thoughts on purpose – thoughts that are true and serve us.

Here are 3 simple step to gain control over your thoughts:

First, let your primitive brain have it’s say. Write down all the brain chatter that is happening. This step alone is powerful. Your primitive brain is simply doing its job and it wants to be heard. Once you have all of the thoughts documented, simply recognize that these thoughts are normal.

Next, change the channel, so to speak, to your higher brain. This is the adult in the room; the epicenter of reasoning, judgment and impulse control. Ask yourself what else is true and write down the thoughts that come to mind. It may sound something like:

I’ve done hard things before, and I can do this.

I have made decisions before, and I can do it now.

I’m not broken, I am grieving a great loss.

It’s okay to feel fear, overwhelm and any other feeling, but I don’t have to stay there.

I’m capable of figuring this out.

I just need to take the next step.

Finally, spend at least an equal amount of time with your higher brain thoughts as you do with your primitive brain thoughts. Place your list of higher brain thoughts in a convenient location so that you can read them daily. After each thought, pause and notice how the thought feels in your body.

Think of it as your daily pledge of allegiance to the thoughts that are true and serve you.

As you go about your day, notice whether you’re listening to brain chatter or directing your thoughts intentionally. Said differently, are you listening to yourself or talking to yourself? It’s good to do a little of both. Listen to and acknowledge your primitive brain, and then use your higher brain thoughts to give you peace and fuel your growth.

If your primitive brain is running amuck and you can’t seem to gain control, I understand. My coaching program called Life Reconstructed is designed to help. It is all the tools and resources I wish I had in my own journey, along with a community of people who get it. Simply click here  and we’ll see if it’s a fit.

Simply click here and we'll see if it's a fit.

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