Edwina McQueen

Don’t let your imagination trick you!

The human brain is amazing isn’t it? We need to imagine to be able to survive right? Without imagination how can we develop new skills, improve our performance or reach our goals? But our imagination has got a nasty habit of playing tricks with us if we let it!

Our old brain is our subconscious brain.  It’s where our memories and emotions are stored from a very early age.  It stores our fears, responses and reflexes and its where all our information goes first.  It’s purpose is to look out for the danger signs, and it keeps us safe trying to predict what could go wrong by seeing into the future.  And when it sees danger it gets us ready.

Our new brain on the other hand, is our conscious brain.  It’s the part of the brain we think of as ‘who we are’, its where our logic, reason and thoughts are stored but it has very little to do with most of the decision we make.

When our brain receives information, it uses its memory banks to create a picture.  It makes assumptions, snap decisions, connections and patterns that are not there.  It can trick us by picking out information that fits our view of the world based on our interpretation of our beliefs at a point in time – and it ignores the rest.

From a very early age our minds learnt to act and think like this.   However, we often find ourselves feeling anxious before anything has happened at all.  This is our mind playing tricks with us, it’s a normal part of our subconscious brain function, but it’s not helpful, if we find ourselves constantly living in the future, worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.

I am sure we have all got examples of situations where we haven’t done something for fear of: –

  • Not being good enough
  • That there are other people better than me
  • If I can’t do something perfect, there is no point in doing it at all

We should always take time to reflect and ask ourselves, “is this belief real or have I imagined it?”  If you can’t prove it and if there is no evidence for it, it’s not real.

As soon as we recognise that our mind is playing tricks on our imagination, we need to let that thought go.   It’s all in the mind, just something we have made up – we all do it.

If it is real, however, make an action plan to manage it.   This can be as simple as making a list of things that you can do now and in the future to help make sense of this thought and help it go more smoothly. Once your action plan is in place you will feeling better and more in control.

A coach will help you see things differently, which in turn leads to acting differently.  A coach helps challenge the content of your thoughts or view of the world unblocking those limiting beliefs that can hold you back.