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Making RAS Work for you: Goals, Affirmations and Saying Thank You

Why should we care about our Reticular Activating System, I hear you say?

Well, RAS is the reason that you need to have a really clear idea of what your preferred future looks like; to have lots of detail and to run over it in your mind, amplifying all the positive feelings that come up when you think about it.

RAS is a small part of the brain stem that all your senses (apart from smell) plug into. It deals with billions of pieces of data, and decides which are important to allow into consciousness.

It’s a bit like having your brain’s own information ‘bouncer’ on the door, deciding what to let in and what stays outside. When you set clear goals, it creates a filter for those goals, drawing your attention to people, opportunities and resources that will help you achieve them.

But RAS needs training and you need to remind it that the goals are important, by running positive films in your head of your preferred future, and constantly re-reading your goal list.

RAS is also the reason that affirmations can be an effective way to facilitate the changes you want to see in your life. They help set the filter, and remind your brain daily to pay attention to what is important

You can also programme your RAS to draw your attention to things likely to make you more content in your current circumstances.

For this you need to set a gratitude and appreciation filter. Through regular gratitude expression and savouring of simple pleasant experiences, giving them a good swish round your mind, RAS will point out triggers in the environment that will allow you to recreate pleasant experiences.

So goal set without fear, but also be super thankful for what you already have…

…and your brain will help you move in the direction of all that good stuff.

The reticular activating system (RAS), suicide prevention, affirmations, the Rewind Technique, Raising self esteem, Mindfulness Based Mind Management (advanced MBSR), worrying well, solution focus, guided visualisation, resolving addiction, epigenetics, mapping the connectome, polyvagal theory, secondary gain, trauma resolution, coaching for kids, treating depression, worrying well, working SMART, therapeutic stories, insight, psycho education,  positive mental rehearsal, imagery, dissociation, goal setting, new paradigms, reframes, fast track learning, perception shifting, self actualisation, positive psychology, reframing, metaphor, personal empowerment, motivational thinking, resilience and resourcefulness, human flourishing, anchoring, rewiring your brain, the STOP System, the SAFE SPACE happiness recipe, holistic coaching and working on the continuum of wellbeing plus many other professional theories, tools and techniques underpin the content of the fast paced, fast track, Fusion training programmes.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.