Brain Science For Success
Meet Fiona Livingwell!
She is a Behaviour Change Coach specialising in Neuroscience of the Brain.
Each fortnight, she will be answering your questions and providing you insights on how the brain works.
This ground breaking knowledge will bring clarity and understanding that will change your life, forever!
Please email your questions to – Fiona@pandoralifecoaching.co.uk and she will pick one for the week.
When I go to bed at night (and although I’m tired) I find it really difficult to get to sleep and will spend hours tossing and turning. This leaves me feeling shattered in the morning and unable to concentrate fully when I get to work. My friend suggested medicating, but is there anything that I can do that doesn’t involve sleeping tablets?
Yes! Many people struggle with their sleeping pattern due to unnecessary stresses during their everyday life. Stress can be triggered by lots of things; from money worries to life purpose. The limbic brain, due to its incredible storyteller skills will rattle scenarios around your head all night long if you let it. Making things seem better that they are, or even worse than they are. Thing is, whatever is going on in your head, when you should be resting is most probably a load of tosh!
The limbic doesn’t care that you are tired and need to be refreshed for the day ahead. It creates stories as a way of entertaining itself and believe it or not, these stories can be based on past events, what someone told you or something that you’ve seen or heard on the television or radio that day. We are constantly gathering information from our external environment through our senses, even if we don’t know it. This data is then analysed, processed and stored for future reference.
The brain has filtered the relevant information allowing you get on with your day. Potential threats have been recognised and dealt with and everything is wonderful, you feel great. However, here’s the bummer just as you’re about to go to sleep the limbic brain will revisit the day’s events and recall any near misses that might have come your way.
Thoughts are real and will come and go if we add no emotion to them. Leaving them to float on by like a cloud in the sky. Nevertheless, if we do acknowledge them and give them significance we give our thoughts energy. By giving our thoughts power, we give them permission to either help us or harm us and this all depends on the quality of the thought and how often we recall it.
Helpful thoughts like; I am enough, I’m perfect just the way I am or I can do this! Trigger chemicals in the brain that make you feel good. When you feel good about yourself you tend not lot lose sleep over it. In fact, you’ll probably sleep like a baby.
Then there’s the flip side, the unhelpful stories that will have you second guessing yourself, doubting your decisions, behaviour or who you really are. Voices rattling around your head into the early hours, getting increasingly louder and catastrophic as the night goes on. The limbic is the master at repeating old destructive thought patterns, with its negative 5/1 bias it will eventually cause deep psychological distress and over time will result in disease in the non-conscious mind- the body.
When the limbic brain starts to chatter, it creates chaos triggering the ‘fight and flight response’ which pumps survival hormones into your bloodstream. Getting you ready for imminent danger as your body prepares itself to run for its life. The brain thinks that what you are imagining right now is ‘real’, IT thinks it’s going to die if it doesn’t take action right away. All night long it will come up with solutions to threats, even imagined ones.
Sleep should be a time when our bodies are able to relax and heal. But when the thoughts generate survival chemicals, that’s impossible. The body isn’t able to heal, its more interested in getting the hell out of here! Therefore, signals are rapidly sent to the muscles in your body to get ready to run. Your body isn’t going to receive anything that suggests that you sleep! Your brain is going to pump up the stress chemicals, which strengthens the fear wiring in the brain to make sure you are on high alert for any potential threat, real or imagined.
When your thoughts are driven by fear your stress levels increase and your body’s natural healing ability decreases as the autoimmune system shuts down. The body begins to feel exhausted and it’s not long before you start to experience sickness and ill health. Our bodies are unable to prepare us for immediate danger and heal at the same time. It’s one or the other, you decide. Going to bed in a stressful state isn’t going to aid restful sleep, that’s a biological fact.
So before bed, why not take some time out for a bit of self-love. Maybe a bubble bath with candles and some light music that will make you feel relaxed and in a calm state, or how about a mindful walk around your local area, taking in the good from the beautiful gardens or the birds going about their own business. Notice how they aren’t sitting on the branch not worrying about where their next worm is coming from or if their nest is as good as the neighbours.
Create a life full of wonder and watch how your life transforms, notice how your health improves and sleepless nights will become a thing of the past. Change your thoughts and you create a new state of being.