Insights: How Your Brain Views the World

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Young_Lady_Old_Woman_IllusionHave you ever viewed that picture where you can see a young woman or an old lady?  Either way you are right. There are many different illusions out there. That is frequently how marketing or magic works. We so often believe what we see as real. We view things through our own lens and that lens depends on what is happening and what has happened in our lives.

What we focus on the most or what has impacted us is how we now view the world.  Therefore our reality is only what lens we are looking through. These experiences, these events can be so impactful and yet we often do not even realize it.

We can pretend that our broken heart does not impact us anymore, or that car accident was five years ago or the brother who kept teasing us had no impact, yet all these experiences in different ways determine how we see life as we go forward.

What happens in our brain is these memories sit at a DNA level. We may not even have a physical memory of an experience but our body will. Even if we do remember the experience, we may not be aware of the impact. Being aware of the impact of these events is key, as once we understand the impact we can then explore what our reality truly might be.

I was in a train accident 30 years ago, but I still actually enjoy trains. Yet when I was in San Francisco a few years ago the train I was on suddenly slowed down and before I knew it I was standing up and gripping the railing. I don’t know what happened between me enjoying the train ride to grabbing hold of the railing.

However, if you could see inside my brain you would find that my amygdala part of the brain took over from my frontal lobe. The amygdala is the part of the brain that is responsible for keeping us safe. They call it the reptilian part of the brain because it is about survival. What is interesting is that when our reptilian brain kicks in our frontal lobe is not engaged.  Our frontal lobe is where we think about the larger picture. Unless you are being chased by a bear or crocodile our amygdala does not need to be engaged.  Our frontal lobe allows us to grow, to become better and think through our options or how we feel about something. It also allows us to look at different options rather than react to something. We are able see what distorted lens we are looking through, and we can make better decisions for ourselves.

Whenever I want to react to something, I stop, slow down and decide not to make a decision until the next day, which gives me enough time to bring in my frontal lobe. That is why when you go shopping they are trying to entice you to buy now, as they know if they can tap into your emotions of “wanting” (amygdala) you will purchase that product.

So live life by taking time to focus on what is truly important.  Do not let your brain take over and rule your world. Truly sit with what you know to be real, authentic and genuine.  Do not stray from that. Keep it in front of you in whatever way you can (frontal lobe).

As Edith Armstrong wrote, “I keep my mind focused on peace, harmony, health, love and abundance.  Then, I can’t be distracted by doubt, anxiety, or fear.”

Contact Dr. Zavala at or [email protected].

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