Ditch the Negativity: Harness the power of your brain’s ‘filter’ for more happiness in your life

brain happiness ras Sep 01, 2018

“You are where your attention is” ~ Jim Fortin


So, where is YOUR attention? As simple as this sounds, you have to get your brain on board to help you shift your focus to whatever BEST serves you.




Ok…let’s get a little ‘geeky’ right now… inside the brain, there is something called the 'Reticular Activating System' (the RAS). At any one moment, there are over 2 million pieces of data that your brain is trying to sift through. Since you can't possibly be aware of all this information, the RAS alerts you to whatever it believes you want to know (based on the thoughts you’re constantly telling yourself). This is why the saying "what we focus on, grows" is true. If you’re stuck in a cycle of loneliness, struggle, sadness…your life isn’t missing 'good' things. In fact, there are plenty of great things in your life RIGHT NOW. They are THERE. But, you may be completely unaware because you’ve never noticed them. Actually, your RAS has decided to filter them out and bring your attention to the ‘junk’ that confirms your belief (‘My life isn’t good right now’).


Right now, what are you focusing on? If you’re worried about money, finding a relationship, landing a great job, fitting in with the civilians in your life, relating to other people … what do you think you’ll notice time and time again?  Yup…the bank statement that’s not looking so hot, the last date that didn’t go so well, the latest job rejection…you get the picture.  


But the good news is that the RAS works both ways.  If you start focusing on the GOOD (even if there is only ONE thing you can find right now - maybe the fact that you’re HERE and you’re breathing!), more and more good will come your way. By RAISING YOUR AWARENESS of what you’re thinking, you’ll notice a huge difference between what filters through the RAS and will actually start noticing tons of hidden blessings in your life!


Let’s try something to give you a better idea of what the RAS does and how it affects us.  Take a look at the picture below and count the GREEN circles.


Now… don’t PEEK.  How many yellow circles are there?


Did you say 4? Great job!  Oh wait…. Did you only notice the green circles?  There’s a GOOD reason for that (and almost 100% of people will just count the green)…it’s that good old RAS.  Yup, it most likely focused on ONE color – GREEN and you answered the question correctly saving precious time and brainpower, right?


What are you FOCUSING on in your life?  Because if you’re focusing on the greens you’re missing out on the yellows!  And what you FOCUS on, GROWS.  In life, there will always be struggles and challenges but how we choose to confront them and move through them is critical to our progress and growth.  Problems are only problems if we SEE THEM AS PROBLEMS. If we move towards ‘problems’, they often bring us closer and closer to amazing breakthroughs. 


Today, write down 1-3 things (can be ANYTHING) in your life that are GOOD.  What are you grateful for right now? Close your eyes, visualize these things, be specific and detailed in what you write and in what you visualize when you think of these things.


Great job! You are on the way to replacing the old filter on your RAS. Get ready to start noticing more and more good! 



Go Forth and Hunt the Good Stuff!




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