How are you coming with your New Year’s Resolutions?  Or, have you, like many people, just quit resolving to improve yourself in the New Year because of past disappointments?  Maybe you have bought an expensive piece of exercise equipment or joined a gym intending to “get in shape” only to stay on the couch and stuff your face.  You have such good intentions and just can’t understand why you don’t follow through and take the time to take care of yourself.

 How our Brain Responds to Change

What I have described is a very common response to all our good intentions and resolutions.  And, it is a way of responding that is built into the human brain.  To understand how that works, and how to work it to our advantage, we need to understand a little about our brain functioning and how it affects our behavior.

Our basic brain function is to respond to life for survival.  The functions included in this response include, among others, breathing, maintaining blood pressure and circulation, balance and controlling our territory.     Maybe you have never thought of controlling your territory as a basic, instinctive, survival response.  But it is our way of staying safe and keeping things as they are and avoiding the danger of change.

Threats to our Survival

The most basic situation of territoriality may be when someone invades our personal space (comes too close to us).  It is interpreted as a threat and we may back up or push them away or otherwise control our territory.  Other situations that threaten might be when someone cuts us off in traffic, (invading “our” lane) or someone usurps our space in line, or interrupts “our story” and tells the punch line, or takes our seat in the class or church or wherever.

Other situations that create change and therefore might be interpreted as danger, could be a new exercise routine, moving to a new area, a new job, a new supervisor, new people in our territory, new expectations or demands on our time, a new person in the family, etc.  And conditions that are often interpreted as threatening or dangerous are the introduction of new ideas or new concepts.  If they are very much different from those we now hold they threaten our “mental” space and we may experience the same defensive response that we experience when our physical space is threatened and we may, perhaps, Fight or take Flight to maintain our mental space.

Situations that may seem to cause some threat to us and our space cause the survival or stressed response and sometimes a retaliation response. Or, if we are feeling particularly mellow and relaxed, we may logically agree that these are not dangerous situations.  Most often though, our initial response is that of fight or flight.

All of this goes to say that it’s natural to blow off your resolutions and good intentions and stay stuck in current behaviors even if they are contrary to what you want in your life.

Solution to Being Stuck

Fortunately, there is a way to move beyond the stuck place and you have probably already used it.  When you are scared or apprehensive about a new situation (perhaps one of those mentioned above) do you ever imagine what might happen and think about different ways you could act in the situation and rehearsed in your mind how you will maintain your personal control?  Children do this “let’s pretend like” repeatedly as they rehearse being grown up.

The rehearsal of the upcoming event, when one is feeling relaxed and not threatened, creates the experience in memory so that the actual event is not interpreted as a new, threatening, and dangerous condition. It seems more like a natural course of action. The key is, one must imagine positive outcomes to create a positive expectation in memory.  The rehearsal with images of negative outcomes (worry) would create even more stress.  Jose Silva was well aware of this when he created techniques for us to create more positive outcomes in our future.  And he knew these techniques are ever so much more effective when done at the “inner conscious” level of awareness  which we use in the Silva Seminars for goal setting.

So, begin imagining yourself doing those exercises or waving on the one who cuts in front of you in traffic or contemplating a new idea and imagine the most positive outcome you can.  You’ll be amazed at how it affects you.

The Silva Method is a simple and extremely effective way of training the mind to focus at the most effective level on the images that bring success and positive changes and “an adventure to be lived, not an existence to be feared.”