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Training Your Brain

Making a healthy personal change is hard work! The decision to change is often not hard - though it may be humbling...

The commitment to change is important and key to change becoming a reality.

However, when we make a decision and commitment toward healthy personal change, we find the training is really hard work.

Why? Because our whole brain (both rational and emotional) has to buy into it. Even when we rationally KNOW that we are making a wise, good, healthy, respectful decision for ourselves, we will often find that biggest obstacle to sustained change is our emotional mind.

I like to use the “horse and rider analogy” when training people about emotions and how to manage them. Imagine that your emotional mind is your internal horse living inside the lower part of your brain. It gives you lots of signals and reactions that you depend on. Your horse may react in all kinds of ways: excitement, fright, frustration, joy, sadness, caution, anger, nervousness, suffering and more. When your horse is anxious or frustrated, where is it going to want to go? Back to the barn…or in our case, back to old habit. But what if you’ve outgrown the barn (your old habits) and it’s time for new, personal changes in your life?

Well, the horse needs the rider to direct it on a new path. And like a horse, your emotional mind is a slow learner (in comparison to rational mind). So over and over and over again, it will feel like you are reigning yourself in and turning away from old, unhealthy habits (though they still may represent comfort to your emotional mind).

Your rational mind (the rider) and your emotional mind (the horse) are designed by God to work together. As we repeatedly train our emotional mind with our rational mind, we can pray and ask our Creator to help us with every step. In fact, we are invited to always draw our strength from God, who helps us produce wise new realities. Perhaps think of God as your “Horse Whisperer”, training you to reign in your emotions as you follow Him.

"Repetition is the mother of all mastery and skill."

- John Marquez from The Ultimate Journey


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