Reboot Your Brain for Clearer Thinking!
Have you ever felt overwhelmed, or like you can’t think straight? Here’s why — and how you can “reboot” your brain to enable you to think more clearly, more consistently.
Whenever you’re feeling any kind of negative emotion, your brain and body are in a level of the emergency “fight-freeze-flight” state.
This is the same state you would be in if your life was being threatened. Since the brain and body don’t know the difference between reality and imagination (ever felt fear while watching a scary movie?) — the same survival mechanism is triggered when you just think about something upsetting, stressful, or annoying, that is triggered when you are in physical danger.
One of the effects of this emergency state is the draining of blood from the prefrontal cortex of the brain, to the amygdala and extremities — for fighting or running away.
The prefrontal cortex is where you do your cognitive thinking: problem solving; strategizing; processing of information; negotiating; calculating; risk-assessment; and other higher-level thinking. These activities are not necessary for running away, fighting, or pretending to be dead!
Whenever you’re feeling stressed, you literally can’t think straight — because that part of your brain is effectively offline!
Rebooting Your Brain
This makes it a top priority to do whatever it takes to bring down the level of stress chemicals that are being pumped into your bloodstream, in order to allow blood to be redirected back to your prefrontal cortex.
You’ll notice that once you’re no longer stressed, you start to see things more clearly; you see solutions and opportunities you hadn’t noticed before; and you’re able to cope better with whatever it is you’re dealing with.
In order to “reboot” your brain, to get your prefrontal cortex back online, you need to change your focus to something that feels good.
It may seem completely counter-intuitive — that’s because the emergency state is designed to be strong enough to keep you alive by getting you to fight, run away, or pretend to be dead — however, it is the fastest, most effective way to override that emergency system.
Think of it like a house alarm that’s going off because you forgot that you set it. It’s loud, and it’s convincing — but there’s no real threat. So, you need to override the part of you that wants to run away, screaming for help, and instead, walk over to the keypad and key in the code that will switch it off.
When you focus on something funny, uplifting, peaceful, or inspiring — in that moment, your brain and body stop producing stress chemicals and start to produce endorphins and other “feel-good” chemicals.
This is about more than just feeling good — the effect of this change in chemical state brings your prefrontal cortex back online, enabling you to think more clearly and strategically again!
How to Reboot Your Brain
Resist the compulsion to focus on what you’re trying to get done, or on what you’re worried about (that would be the equivalent of standing outside your house, focusing on how loud the alarm is, and how scary it sounds), and choose to take your focus off it — just until that part of your brain comes back online.
Comedy is one of the most effective rebooting methods — watch funny YouTube videos (babies laughing are funnier than you might expect). Listen to music that you enjoy; read something absorbing and uplifting; take a walk; do some physical exercise; have a conversation with people who inspire, amuse, or uplift you. Do whatever it takes to feel good in the moment.
Then, once you’re feeling good again, go back to whatever it was you were trying to achieve before — and notice the difference! You just successfully rebooted your brain for clearer thinking!