Our story superpower
When we can stand outside our own brain for a moment, in a position of being self-aware and mindful, we can tell a new story and our brain will engage with it. But we need to make it a story that’s short and powerful, or rich and redolent with detail, so we can light up more than just the language centers. We become the narrator and we can choose a better story.
This juiciness doesn’t just light up those areas of the brain for a fuller and more rich engagement. It also helps memory. Remember memory?
We know that the brain uses its memory of the past to predict the future. We also know that memory is fluid and rewritable.
We also know that when the brain is exposed to a story (reading, listening, watching), if there are rich sensory or emotional details included, our mirror neurons will activate and our brains will light up as though the story were happening to us, in that moment. If a story includes the word “cinnamon”, my olfactory system lights up. If I read Mr. Darcy’s passion for Elizabeth Bennet, my brain lights up with the thrill of a new love. And if I watch Meryl Streep eating Sole Meunière in Julie and Julia, I cannot help but salivate as my brain’s taste circuits light up.
It turns out that this quality of rich, redolent detail is a key factor in forming memory.
Molecular biologist John Medina explains that when the brain detects an emotionally charged event, the Amygdala releases dopamine into the system. Because dopamine greatly aids memory and information processing, you could say it creates a Post It note that reads, ‘Remember this.’
This is why dry data is hard to remember. We need a juicy story in order to effectively form memories. We don’t remember the boring stuff.
So by telling a new story with lots of vivid detail, we are helping the brain write a new memory landscape from which to imagine a new future.
We even know that a very familiar phrase (for example “a rough day” or “raining cats and dogs”) can become so familiar and ordinary it loses its ability to light up other parts of the brain, as though it had become a single word. This is why authors avoid cliches if possible; they’ve lost their power.
And this brings me to the importance of having the RIGHT affirmations. The purpose of affirmations, like all good manifesting techniques, is to create change in the brain so it can deliver a new reality.
And we know from the research that two key things are required in order to make changes in the brain.
One is that juicy rich engagement we’ve already mentioned. The other is consistent repetition.
So affirmations which are dry, or boring, or full of cliche, just won’t work. Similarly, affirmations which trigger painful memories won’t work. The key to powerful affirmations is to make them rich and redolent and pleasurable; and to use them daily in a way we enjoy.
And to do that means you have to get self-aware. What lights YOU up? What words get you excited? What rituals will help you do this work daily?
In other words – YOU need to become the authority here~be willing to experiment and play! Give up judgement, embrace a spirit of curiosity, and explore different wording and language, different rituals and practices. Please make sure you’re taking advantage of Nancy’s great expertise.
You’re telling the new story of your life. And your brain is listening. Make sure your story is a good one!
We know the high value of self-love, and Janette isn’t just an expert on the brain science of story – she has some fascinating details to share on how self-love works in the brain, why it’s such a key part of any deliberate creation practice, and the huge myth that holds many back. Treat yourself to Janette’s free video, The Science of Self-Love
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Janette Dalgliesh is the LOA Brain Whisperer, also knows as the Sweet Relief Coach. She’s a Law of Attraction coach and author, but also a self-confessed science geek who is especially lit up about the brain science because she believes it’s the biological mechanism by which we can consciously create the reality we want. Her books in the “Your Everyday Superpower” series ask the question “can the new brain science open the door to creating a new reality?” – and they answer a resounding YES.