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Your Brain's Focus Switch: The Reticular Activating System Explained

Your Brain's Focus Switch: The Reticular Activating System Explained

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

Do you ever feel trapped in a never-ending cycle of negativity, unable to break free? Repeating the same errors, envisioning bleak scenarios on repeat, or encountering the same unfortunate events repeatedly?

It might seem like bad luck or an inevitable fate, but did you know that you could be unconsciously training your brain to attract negativity?

That's where the Reticular Activating System (RAS) comes into play.

This powerful part of the brain acts as a built-in focus switch, influencing our ability to achieve our goals and manifest our dreams.

In this week’s blog, we'll explore the intriguing realm of the RAS, delving into how it functions and its profound impact on your life, decision-making processes, and ability to manifest your deepest desires.

If you’re new to this topic, or if you’re struggling with manifesting your desires, then this will be a game-changer for you!

You’re about to learn about an incredibly powerful (almost magical) part of your brain that once you know how it works and how to use it to your advantage, you’ll be able to train it to attract more abundance and happiness, and less negativity, lack, or frustration.

What is The Reticular Activating System (RAS)?

The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a bundle of nerves that sits in your brainstem and is there to keep you alive and sane. It does that by trying to automate your behavior as much as possible.

It’s responsible for several different functions in the body, including sleep, motivation, and breathing.

But the function that I want to focus on today is the ability of the RAS to help you filter out certain kinds of information.

Simply put, think of your RAS as a filter within your brain that determines which information coming in will actually get noticed by your conscious mind.

How does it work?

Let's say you’re at a gathering and there’s a lot of people.

There are lots of unfamiliar faces, music blasting, and basically a whole lot going on to overload your senses.

And then, even though you’re not searching for anyone in particular, you notice a familiar smile in the sea of faces. Now, how the heck did you manage to pick up on a single familiar face with all of that distraction going on?

Well, it’s thanks to your Reticular Activating System!

Your RAS sorted through all of that information at light speed and filtered out what would likely be the most important to you. It then sends that information – in this case, a familiar face – into your conscious mind for you to decide what to do next.

Let’s say you’re someone like me who isn’t very interested in cars... until it comes time to shop for a new one!

I remember years ago I wanted to get a small, economical car, and I knew that I wanted it to be a convertible.

But I didn’t want a soft-top convertible! I knew that I definitely wanted a hard-top convertible.

Now, Glen (my ex-husband who’s my business partner now) did a bunch of research and came back to me and said that he thought I should get something called an “Eos” – and I had no idea what the heck an Eos was!

So he showed me a picture of it online and it was kind of like a VW Golf type of car and I thought, “Ok, I quite like the look of that car.”

And then, I started seeing Eos’ all over the road! Before that, I’d never even known they existed.

The difference is NOW my RAS recognizes that the Eos model of car is of interest to me.

After researching the Eos model of car, my RAS became primed to look for that model out of the hundreds of cars I saw every day. So every time I saw an Eos, my RAS bumped it up into my conscious mind... so I actually NOTICED it.

See how that works?

The RAS basically acts as the gatekeeper between the subconscious mind and the conscious mind to only let through the information that’s of relevance or interest to you.

But here’s the catch…

Remember I asked you if you felt trapped in a vicious cycle of negativity and unable to break free?

Well, that’s because the same way we can train our brain to focus on the good and the positive, sometimes your RAS can act oppositely by making you focus on self-defeating thoughts and can cause you to stop perceiving the REAL opportunities that already exist in your life right now.

That's why it's crucial to not only know how our RAS works but also to pay attention and be careful when it's not helping us reach our goals as we can find evidence for both good and bad things.

If we keep thinking about failure and pay attention to it, the RAS will show us more evidence of failures.

How can you use your RAS to achieve your goals?

To harness your RAS to achieve your goals, follow these 3 steps:

1- Start by getting very clear about what you want, with as much detail as possible.

2- Visualize the experience or outcome you desire, picturing it vividly in your mind – what it looks like, sounds like, feels like, and what you see.

3- Repeat this visualization regularly to reinforce it. Repetition is the key because the more you visualize your future the greater confidence and security you will have and the more you are going to create a great life.

Once you've defined your goal and consistently visualize it, your conscious and subconscious minds will work together to help you achieve it. Same with your core beliefs, start by paying attention to your self-talk.

If you notice any negative, discouraging, or limiting beliefs, work on changing them. Instead, feed your RAS positive, empowering beliefs about your abilities, progress, and confidence in achieving your goals.

You'll be amazed at how quickly things shift when your brain actively seeks evidence of your capabilities, success, and progress toward your goals, rather than focusing on the opposite.

I hope you try this ASAP! Leave me a comment and let me know how you did; I’d love to hear from you!

P.S. A powerful way to start training your subconscious mind to do what YOU want, is through affirmations. By repeating these empowering mantras over and over, you’ll be implanting NEW thought patterns and beliefs that can draw to you all of the success that you deserve and desire! Click this link to get 100 Affirmations on Abundance and Success and let’s start reprogramming your mind for more of what you want now!


Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.

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