Why Your Actions Are Not Your Own

To change our unconscious actions we have to notice our behaviours.

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We Have Three Brains

Our brains have evolved to respond to our environment. We have the reptilian brain, also called the amygdala. There’s the mammalian or limbic brain — which is responsible for emotional, behavioural, and social responses. Finally we have the youngest part of the brain (along the evolutionary continuum), the prefrontal cortex.

The Reptilian Brain

The reptilian brain is about survival of the physical body. It’s constantly assessing if there’s anything threatening us.

The Mammalian Brain

Our mammalian brain (sounds like a mammal and there are similarities) handles emotions, feelings, behaviours, and the social aspects of life.

  • Browse a dating app? Feeling bored? Horny? Not getting your needs met with your partner?
  • Run mindlessly to the store, buy a large bag of chips and pop, and then inhale them on the couch watching TV? Is it your menstrual cycle? Did you have a fight with someone? Did someone say you look fat?

The only way to change our unconscious actions is to notice our behaviours.

Notice when we do things we don’t want to do. Then we use our pre-frontal cortex to come up with an action plan to interrupt the undesired behaviours.

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The Pre-Frontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex, also called our human or conscious brain, handles writing, thinking, decision-making, and setting goals. You know, the stuff that makes us human! Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) our pre-frontal cortex is responsible for, at best, 20% of our decisions and actions.

  • How do I satisfy that feeling? Is it food? Is it friendship? Is it my children? Is it my lover? Is it sex? Is it drugs?

Notice What’s Happening

Take notice of what’s going on in your life, now that you understand how your three brains work for and against your goals. Notice how your unconscious brain overrides your conscious choices. This awareness helps you to prepare for future behaviours responses.

What’s ONE unconscious behaviour you’d like to change?

Let me know in the comments.

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Written by

I help human-hearted creatives cultivate their purpose to experience more freedom, impact, and joy in their lives. DarrenStehle.com.

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