Have I ever told you about the day we almost got killed in Haiti? If you missed it, check out last week's blog HERE. It's quite the story, actually...
This week, let's talk about the brain and learn four ways your brain plays tricks on you. You may have heard me talk about how our brain can process 2.3 million pieces of information every second. Of course, not all this information get stored. Our brain uses some of this information to create thoughts. We have between 50 000 and 80 000 of those per day. Now here are a few tricky brain functions...
Your brain actually deletes stuff! Many of the thoughts that we have or information that is presented to us enter one ear and go out the other. Some information, your brain doesn't even bother storing. We delete stuff. Where did you leave your keys? What's your password again? What's this person's name, the one you just met? What day is it? Where are your glasses? Where did you leave your phone? This can get tricky sometimes when you need to remember something... And, hopefully, that doesn't include your wedding anniversary!
The second function that the brain uses is it retains the information deemed as "important", even they aren't always really important. This can get weird. I still know the phone number of the grocery store in the town where I grew up. This is ridiculous! Why do I remember this? I moved 25 years ago, but some of that information is stored forever.
How many times have you, for example, arrived in the kitchen and asked yourself: "Why am I here?" Your brain has deleted that information, and yet you can remember every word from a 1981 song. Let's test this. What if I start a sentence with: "Just a small town girl..." What are you going to say? You said it already in your head, right? "Living in a lonely world."
Very often, if we want to remember something, we need to be specific. When you want to remember something important to you, just say: "I will remember this. Personal assistant, please remember this. I will make a specific effort to remember this."
The brain can also play tricks on you by generalizing. Your personal assistant tends to generalize about the world. It likes to simplify things by putting things into neat little boxes. Here are a few examples: Blondes have a lot more fun! Women are stronger than men! All teenage employees are unreliable. The new generation is useless.
Those things are not true at all! Somehow, when something happens once or twice, then we assume that it will always be like that, and we include everything and everybody in that box. How many women are there that had their heart broken once that said: "All men are bad."? Well, not all of them! My husband's amazing! Not all of them, but we generalize. We place things and people into little boxes.
Generalizing can get us into trouble, because it causes us to make assumptions that are not necessarily true. And these assumptions can usually hurt our confidence.
Our personal assistant also likes to distort, exaggerate and catastrophize things. Last week in my blog, I was telling you a story where I was totally catastrophizing. And the title of the blog is: The Day We Almost Got Killed. I invite you to go check it out. This is a really good example of this. We distort.
For example, you have a headache, and then you think you have a brain tumor, so you Google your symptoms, and there it is: You have one month left to live. Or what about "teenage brain", as it's sometimes called? A small thing happens, and then suddenly, your whole life is ruined. Right? So bizarre.
These are four ways that your brain can actually play tricks on you. Try to be aware of that. Next week, I will mention three questions that you can ask yourself when you start distorting, when you start catastrophizing: Three Questions to Keep You from Freaking Out.
See you then!
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Check out some of my previous blog posts...
Understanding Brain Fog
5 Learnings from a Cactus
How to Use Low Hanging Fruit to Your Advantage