RAS- What the heck is that?
“Reticular Activating System. The reticular activating system (RAS) is a network of neurons located in the brain stem that project anteriorly to the hypothalamus to mediate behaviour, as well as both posteriorly to the thalamus and directly to the cortex for activation of awake, desynchronized cortical EEG patterns.”
Woahh!! Enough with the science Cass!
The RAS, as mentioned above, are nerves at our brainstem which essentially filters out unnecessary information so that the important stuff gets through. It’s all about energy & emotion
Have you ever noticed how when you bought a new car, you start noticing it everywhere? You can thank your RAS for that.
The RAS takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it. The cool thing about it (or maybe not!) is that it does it all without you actually being aware of it. It programs itself to work in your favour- all that you’re focused on, filters in through your RAS and forces you to become aware of it. Additionally, the RAS brings people, opportunities and life events into alignment with your focused thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
It also seeks information that validates your beliefs and does everything to prove to you that what you believe is what will be your truth. This is great, right?!
It is, except for when you are focused on negative things.
“I’ve always been a smoker”- Roger that, I will never let you quit.
“I’ve always been fat”- Roger that, send more fatty food to make you gain weight.
Essentially, the RAS wants you to be right- quite like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It helps you see what you “want” to see and in doing so, influences your actions.
Do you ever notice too how on the days when you’re really happy, you see more beauty in the world than you ever have before and on the days where you’re feeling down in the dirt’s, everything pisses you off? Yep, again, that’s your RAS.
If you’ve been given a perceivable “crappy-set-of cards” up until now, you’re probably thinking, “Okay Cass, cool So what you’re saying is that I’m responsible for everything that’s happening in my life?”
This is true to a point. But that’s great news because it means that you can now start to re-program your RAS in your favour.
Create a compelling vision of the life that you want. When constructing that vision, focus on these 7 areas of life:
- Physical health & body
- Emotions & meaning
Step 1. Write down:
- What are your beliefs around these areas right now?
- What do these areas of your life look like right now on a scale of 1-10? 1 being burtal, 10 being freaking spectacular.
Step 2. Write down what you’d like your life to be like in all these areas.
- What does that look like? Feel like?
- How will that impact your quality of life?
- What are the rituals and behaviours you must do in order to make those things happen on a consistent basis?
You say you “want” to lose weight and be healthy but your beliefs running in the background are:
- I’m big-boned
- My parents are overweight and it’s genetic so that means I’ll be overweight
- It’s too hard to lose weight
- I don’t like working out
- I’m picky. I don’t like healthy food
- I’m addicted to sugar
- I’ve never been healthy before
- I can’t do it
- I’m scared to be like my parents
RAS says “Roger that, we will be overweight and in fact, let’s get bigger!”
When you have these beliefs and thoughts over and over again, they run like a record in the background of your mind without you even noticing. Your RAS system will do whatever it takes to keep you aligned with your true beliefs.
Take a moment to let the sink in and see how this applies to your life.
Let’s look to see how we can change the above example. As mentioned above, it’s simple. Create a compelling vision that you want, however, you must also be mindful at the fact that wanting is not enough. We all want things but wants don’t get met.
- Create a compelling vision and state all the reasons why this is important to you
- Pay attention to past beliefs that have been running your life- you may not be aware of all of them and that is okay, they will come.
- Get emotional! FEEL how it is going to feel when you step into your vision.
- Focus on this feeling and vision every single day. Do not allow your mind to revert back to your old thought patterns.
This takes practice, awareness, intention and commitment- DAILY.
Your RAS does not know the difference between what’s real life and what’s made up in your mind. When you focus on what you actually want, you will begin to attract those people, opportunities and anything that’s needed in order to turn your vision into a reality.
I invite you to give this a try and feel free to send me a message with what you were able to uncover about yourself.
And hey, if you’re feeling stuck, I also offer 1:1 coaching session to help you with this exactly! Simply hit reply to this e-mail and we go from there.
Thank you for sticking around. I hope today’s post has been helpful.
Love & Gratitude,
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