The Reticular Activating System’s (RAS) huge influence on Self-perception

Sandro Safareli
Jul 25, 2017 · 6 min read

Talking about RAS is a huge topic and many people have covered basics of it, but what I want to talk about right now is specifically the influence it has on our self-perception.

First of all What is RAS?

Your RAS is a small group of cells at the base of your brain stem. Its function is to act as a “gate-keeper”, evaluating the incoming information and prioritizing that information in the form of messages that need your attention.
It sorts out what is important information that
needs to be paid attention to and what is unimportant and can be ignored. Without this filter, we would all be over stimulated and distracted by noises from our environment around us. As an example, let’s just say you were a mother who has a baby sleeping in the next room, and you live right next to a busy airport with lots of loud noise from jets taking off and landing. Despite the constant roar of the jets and other noise, you will hear your baby if it makes even the smallest noise in the next room. The Reticular Activating System filters out the airport noise, which is unimportant to you and keeps you focused on your baby, which is the “Most important” thing to you. The Reticular Activating System is like a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It takes instructions from your conscious mind (like “I need to hear my baby”) and passes it on to your subconscious mind, which becomes diligent and alert to your request.

Our conscious mind can handle 40 bits of information per second. Sounds a lot right? What about our subconscious mind? How much information can it handle per second? Well, the answer is 40 million bits of information.Too much of information going on there right? That’s when our RAS comes in and filters out all the unimportant information that we don’t need at that particular moments so that we don’t be over stimulated by all of this and focuses on only an important information.

Your mind, including your RAS, cannot differentiate between something that is vividly imagined and reality. You are convinced that you won’t like the taste of something even before you have tasted it, (remember the food you thought you hated as a child) chances are that in reality, you won’t. The person who is frightened of spiders will see them in every corner, even when there are none.

The question is, what it has to do with self-perception?

Well, the only time your RAS could be viewed as a problem maker in your life is when your belief system gets in the way.
most of the people are just like prevention oriented, where they think about everything that can go wrong in their life. They are focusing on all the negative things they don’t like. Instead of thinking about what they want. Their brain is focused on what they don’t want. And all of that creates an unhealthy belief system. Your RAS giving you more of what you are focusing on. It doesn’t pay attention to all the good things that are happening in your life. It filters out it as an unnecessary information and picks information that is based on your unhealthy belief system.

When you are constantly focused on every single thing that makes you feel insecure in your appearance, for example maybe you have a big nose, maybe you are balding, maybe you have a couple of pimples on your face and other imperfections. When you are giving it too much attention and viewing as horrible thing what you will find out is that if you look in the mirror you instantly gonna see all the things you don’t like in your appearance, all the imperfections you have, you’re gonna focus only on that and you are going to think that you are unattractive. You’re not going to see your beautiful eyes in the mirror, you’re not going to see your big lips you might have, your pretty smile. You’re only going to see the thing that you don’t like in yourself and you’re gonna over exaggerate it.

I myself have tested that feeling of over exaggerating everything. I always hated when I had pimples on my face and when I got one and it didn’t disappear for more than a week I was angry and focusing on it every time I looked in the mirror. I thought that it was horrible and had too much of it. When my mom noticed that I was in bad mood She asked me what has happened. I told her about my pimples that I had on my face for a whole week but she said that she had never noticed it at all. Interesting right? She even told me that when she saw my pimples it was so small that it had zero impact on my whole appearance and was vaguely noticeable. This is what RAS does to you and to your self-perception. You’re gonna view yourself differently based on your thought pattern and based on belief systems.

you can do a simple test to find out if that’s true.

Just go out tonight, and have as much fun as possible, with your friend, girlfriend or whatever, but before you go out I want you to look in the mirror and think, “how attractive do I look?” focus on every little thing that makes you feel insecure with yourself. Then go out and have an epic night. On your way home I want you to look in the mirror again.

You’re gonna notice, how the way you feel about how you look has completely changed. You feel like you look amazing, more attractive than before. but you are the same person before you left your house right? But yet right now you look in the mirror and see a more attractive person. All the insecurities you had disappeared. Anything you see is positive. Instead of your RAS focusing on negative in your appearance, all that you can focus on is positive.

As we said earlier your RAS filters out everything that doesn’t support your most prevalent thoughts. That’s why your thoughts are so important. Your RAS acts according to your thought pattern.

By focusing your thoughts and feelings on good, beauty, love, laughter, peace, and JOY your RAS will filter out not the positive but the negative things and picks things that are positive. When you stop focusing on your imperfections and accept yourself, when you realize that you are more than your imperfections and start thinking that you are beautiful, your RAS will be reprogrammed and when you look in the mirror you’ll see different person than before.

Your attention to these thoughts and feelings will bring the people, ideas, and experiences of these very thoughts and feelings into your life. surprisingly enough when you start viewing yourself as a beautiful person, more attractive, amazing, when you stop focusing on your imperfections, you’re gonna find out that other peoples RAS will start perceiving you as more attractive. they’re gonna think that you are much better looking than you are, taller than you are and more handsome than you are.

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