The part of our brain that is responsible for our transitions from sleep to being awake and vice-versa. It does so by sorting out distractions and important stimulus. This is how we wake up to loud noises and sleep through the hum of a fan or soft music. Our friend RAS takes this job very seriously, and with good reason. Sleep is incredibly important to our health and survival or else we would have evolved a way to avoid it right?
But how else does the RAS affect our day to day? Most of our sensory experiences that we have enter the brain through the RAS. Sight, touch, taste, and hearing to be specific. That is a lot of information coming through. Don’t you worry though because your friend the RAS is here to help. It’s role during the day is to focus your attention on things you have deemed to be important.
So what information does the RAS like to focus on? Well, it to focus on what you think about. Let’s say you buy a new car. You start thinking about that car more frequently. Then as you’re driving to work or what have you, you start to see the same model more frequently. Because you now view that car as valuable information and a positive attribute in your life the RAS is no longer blocking that information. Now that is a nonplanned view into how it works.
What if we could control it? Say you start purposefully thinking about something you want to change. Then you add to that by saying “I intend to…” Statements. The next step you take is repeating it throughout the day. This same technique is used in Lucid Dreaming training and Affirmations. Those practices are examples of hundreds of year’s old tradtions that today we are just starting to take seriously in the western world. There are studies of what happens when you use these practices to influence the way you think and they all point to the benefits that they offer you.
Another helpful way to boost the way your RAS interacts with your subconscious is to speak about your goals in the present tense as if you are already in alignment or currently achieving this goal. It changes the way you think about the actions you take. It gives you a new viewpoint to view your goals and the steps you take to achieve them. One of the last steps that I use to cement a goal into being is the future self exercise. You roleplay as yourself at the end of the goal period and interview yourself. Ask the questions that came up during your goal setting. What was helpful? What was hard? Did I have any help from others? What was the most impactful part that of this journey that lead to the completion of the goal?
That exercise will help you identify where your potential speed bumps are, what areas you need to reach out for help on, and what part of the process that will give you the most results. As you answer those questions you can refocus your action plan and form a goal intention list. Highlighting the plan, your actions and the identity that you created at the beginning of each work period will activate your RAS and help you focus!