If left to our own devices, we will often tie ourselves up in knots trying to manage the complexities of life. Professor Steven Peters shares easy to follow instructions on how to live a happier life , freer of inner conflict and emotional distress. He shares the importance of programming the ‘computer’ of the brain with information that can sooth the emotional centre of the brain as it is required. If the inner chimp is relaxed, we will automatically be in computer mode. This means we will be able hear reason and follow grounded ideas of how the world work best from our perspective. When we are stressed however, we automatically go into chimp mode which will make it difficult to see reason. This is why it is so important to stay as relaxed as we can throughout the day and night. We can offload any emotional distress at the end of the day and plan how we will act, think and be the next day through self-reflection and journaling. The key is to prevent being overtaken by the chimp and that takes active focus, gaining new information, self-reflection and making decisions on what you believe and how you want to think.
Programming the computer in the brain can prevent us from by hijacked by our emotions. Programs like “ I can only do my best” sets us up well to navigate life in an emotionally grounded way. Some reference points will cover all situations. These are important as it means that you can practice these and have them readily on hand for when you are emotional and projecting.
“The stone of life is a stabilising force that will keep you in human mode and also return you to it when you are momentarily hijacked.” It is important to spend focus on finding your true core stone of life beliefs and values. These will be unique to you.
The chimp in you works with shoulds which are invariable leads to pain. The Human works with reality. It is important to program the computer with realistic expectations and not shoulds and or even what looks like reasonable expectations. For example , it may be reasonable to expect all people will treat you with respect, however this is not realistic. People will treat you the way they are programmed to think. This isn’t a reflection of you unless you say that it is. Setting the autopilot in the brain with generalised trues of life can be very helpful for emotional regulation and not overly personalising our world around us. While there is no harm in only making up beliefs that relate directly to the situation at hand, it may not be transferable to other situations.
Taking time out every day to journal and reflect on what you reacted to in the day, notice the underlying thinking pattern is a powerful tool. How do you really think? What are your values and truths? Are they reasonable or based on reality ? Write down your new beliefs and go over them and over them until the computer on your brain is so familiar with that belief it will automatically kick in no matter how loud the chimp is.
I wish you all the best on your journey to peace and happiness.
Marianne Love