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How Your Reticular Activating System Works - And Why You Want To Know This

Have you ever heard of the Reticular Activating System (RAS)? No, me neither until a few years ago. It's a good job I continued reading, otherwise I could have been dashing off to Boots to buy an ointment for it!

We all have a Reticular Activating System, it's essential for our survival, but invaluable in making our goals a reality – it's the brain's strainer. Let me explain.

Can you imagine being in a foreign airport terminal, with thousands of different voices, languages and associated noise, all attempting to swamp your consciousness and fighting for your attention? Whilst you may hear the overall cacophony, it's not possible – or advisable – to listen to every sound, so the brain filters out the non-essential. Now, you're still in your busy foreign airport terminal, tuning out toddler tantrums, cappuccino machines and general hubbub, but when your flight is called you hear it – because it's important to you. That's your Reticular Activating System at work.

With the exception of your sense of smell (which is sent directly to the emotional receptors of your brain), all information is filtered through your Reticular Activating System, and it's your RAS that determines what – out of all of it – you pay attention to. In its simplest terms, it's like being a party to a conversation in a foreign language and listening for your name, or letting the kids burble on about their day at school, but your ears pricking up at the merest whiff of bullying or trouble.

Your Reticular Activating System is also a filter between your conscious and sub-conscious mind; it's the messenger that delivers the thoughts, decisions and intent of your conscious master mind to your entirely subservient subconscious mind. Your conscious mind can be likened to the captain of a ship (you), and your subconscious mind as the unquestioning and obedient crew. The captain sets the course, whilst the crew make it happen. Your subconscious/crew will do and believe all that it's told, which is why you must never entertain negative thoughts and self-talk – because you're listening. If your captain/conscious mind says: “I'm hopeless at parallel parking”, then your obedient subconscious mind will perpetuate your inability to parallel park. Try telling yourself you can parallel park, and that you're getting better and better at it with every attempt; this is a positive affirmation and will help you improve. Your subconscious/crew will be listening to that positive self-talk just as much, and will work just as hard to manifest your positivity as any negativity.

Your subconscious will only do what it's told, will believe what it's told to believe, and what it's reality is. What your conscious mind feeds in, your subconscious dispenses out – so make it work for you, as opposed to against you. This is why visualisation is such a powerful tool, and why visualising your goals as already complete – every single day – will enhance your performance manifold. For example...

You have a goal of living a millionaire's lifestyle, but you're not currently a millionaire. By i.e.: creating a highly detailed and precise vision board, writing imaginary cheques to yourself (or house builder, car dealership etc) for huge sums of money, visualising your children attending the best schools available and visualising your goals as already complete, you create structural tension in your subconscious mind. Structural tension is created when your subconscious mind identifies a discrepancy between what your conscious mind is telling it to be true (via your millionaire lifestyle visualisations), and your current reality (absolutely not a millionaire, yet). Once your subconscious mind has identified this discrepancy, it will work tirelessly to close the gap between the perceived and actual realities – and it's as powerful a force of manifestation as it is obedient.

Through frequent visualisation, structural tension intensifies over time, and programs your Reticular Activating System into allowing into your awareness anything which will help you achieve your goals. In addition to this, your subconscious mind – whilst meeting its structural tension obligations – will be creating solutions and formula for achieving those goals. It may begin to feel like you're having bolts of inspiration hit you from all directions, especially when your conscious mind is engaged i.e.: by driving a car, playing cricket with the kids or doing the crossword.

A happy side effect to all of this is that you can expect to enjoy increased levels of motivation, and the strongest urges to get a lot of stuff done. The bolts of inspiration are massively energising, and you can feel yourself moving towards your goals, which motivates you even more – and so it goes on in a positive swirl of energy and attainment.

Your Reticular Activating System will help you achieve all that you constantly visualise and affirm, so visualise as often, as vibrantly and as vividly as you can, because you're telling your subconscious/crew what you want and how you expect it to be. Unleash this powerful force of nature that you have inside yourself, and use it to create the life and success you want.

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions” - Albert Einstein

If you would like to talk some more about how to activate your Reticular Activating System, or which visualisations would be most effective for your individual circumstances, then please feel free to give me a call on 01536 601749, email me via or claim your free, no obligation initial mentoring or life coaching consultation by clicking this link.

Whatever you choose to do next, make it strong, make it positive and make it work for you for your greatest and highest achievement. Have fun and win!


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