How to prevent primitive self from hijacking the brain?


Imagine walking down the street after a busy day at the office.
You are hungry and tired, not in the best mood. You are in a hurry; your favourite kettlebells class starts in less than one hour.

Then something catches your attention. A massive doughnut screams from the bakery window

“Eat Me Now!”

A twitching sensation runs down your spine. Suddenly you are fully alert, your heart rate goes up and you start breathing heavily, like an animal before the fight. It feels like a matter of survival, a life or dead emergency. You start believing the tension can only be relieved by biting into the cake.

Stop! It is not true.

You’ve simply been hijacked by your own primitive brain, which seeks instant reward and doesn’t understand delay gratification. This primitive system was there to prevent you from skipping food when it was in abundance so you could survive famine times. Unfortunately this archaic system is still running, and it still tries to make us eat all the time even when food is available 24/7 all year round.

If you want to be in control follow these 7 simple steps and learn how to overcome any cravings!

1. If you are in danger of giving in to temptation (when you spot a mighty doughnut) apply the 10 min rule – stop & surf the edge. Observe those unpleasant twitching sensations without acting on them for 10min. Then you can decide if you still want to eat or pass on.
2. Remind yourself about your main goal, often. What’s important for you? Will eating the doughnut bring you closer to your goals?
3. Don’t try to suppress thoughts about the doughnut. It doesn’t work. Notice your thoughts instead, accept them and realise that you don’t have to act on them. You have a choice.
4. Be aware of the two minds in your head. The first one- impulsive – is driven by dopamine release. It’s an ancient instant reward system which will only promise you a reward but will never deliver satisfaction. And the second mind – Wise – based on serotonin and GABA – is there for the long game and ultimate satisfaction.
5. Be prepared. Keep emergency food in your bag, a banana or an apple will do the job.
6. Meditate often. Meditation will increase your ability to notice an urge and not allow autopilot to take over so you can choose what you want, anytime.
7. Read “The Willpower Instinct” which will explain the matter of self control in much closer detail!
8. Hire ME! 🙂 – Personal Training Edinburgh

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