QUOTES & WISDOM
TOP OF THE MIND
QUOTES & WISDOMfrom the Top of the Mind
QUOTES & WISDOM
Top of the Mind
Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL
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If there is one thing that almost everyone is experiencing these days, it’s feeling out of control. This could manifest as feelings of anxiety, worry, stress, frustration, and maybe behaviors, such as, becoming short with others, or even full-blown panic attacks.
Of course, when we experience these negative thoughts and/or emotions, we naturally try to change whatever we believe made us feel this way. Unfortunately, when we are dealing with aspects of life that we can’t change (COVID-19, difficult people, etc.) this only has us feeling more out of control, and a cycle of stress, frustration, and anxiety is created and exacerbated.
Many people have written books and posted videos on how to deal with this problem, however, one of my favorite solutions was created by Stephen Covey. He speaks to the process of regaining control by becoming clear about the difference between our circle of influence and our circle of concern.
Dr. Covey does a nice job of defining our circle of influence as those aspects of life we can control (our attitude, beliefs, behavior, reactions, etc.), while our circle of concern are all those aspects of life we can’t control, such as difficult people, the economy, the weather, etc. This is helpful, to be sure, however, I like to go a bit deeper and look at where all of these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors originate, and have as much influence as possible over this creative process.
For those of you who follow my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy, you know that this means understanding how the brain processes information. Basically, this starts with the limbic system, or middle brain, which is the “gate keeper” or the scanner, processor, and router part of the brain. The reason this is the first part of the brain to receive data is because, if we are in a dangerous situation where reacting without thinking is necessary for survival, we need to have a part of the brain that triggers this fight-or-flight reaction almost instantaneously.
Unfortunately, this middle brain is unconscious and reactive, and is working with old software. This means that it tends to interpret almost any negative situation as dangerous, numbs or bypasses the upper 80% of the brain where we make our best decisions, and throws us in to the part of the brain designed to deal with danger (the lower brain, or brainstem). Then, because this lower brain isn’t equipped to deal with the aspects of life that are triggering our negative thoughts and emotions (difficult people, the economy, etc.), we feel increasingly out of control.
Therefore, if regaining control is important to you, I suggest that we begin deep inside our circle of influence and begin to retrain or reprogram this scanner, processor, router part of the brain so that it interprets negative data in a way that engages the purposeful, wise, creative upper 80% of the brain…what I call “the Top of the Mind.”
Of course, reprograming the middle brain is easier said than done, and requires that we know how to shift to the “Top of the Mind,” and begin to create new neural pathways that result in our ability to influence how we think and feel versus being at the mercy of external forces, or an old reactive middle brain.
This is what I teach in my books and seminars, and therefore, if you would like those in your life to be able to access their clarity, confidence, and creativity by focusing on the most powerful aspect of our circle of influence, versus becoming trapped in the lower brain and our circle of concern, I suggest that you contact me.
As Albert Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
Therefore, until we raise our level of awareness with respect to what is truly causing our negative thoughts and feelings… and have an effective method of influencing these reactions, we will continue to feel out of control and trapped in a cycle of stress, and our circle of concern. Not something we would recommend to those we care for, right?
~ All the best, Dr. Bill