The More You Know

Learn more stuff!

The Brain, Imagination, and Memories

Did you know that when you imagine doing a movement for example, you activate the same areas of your brain as if you were actually doing the said movement?

This gives a tremendous power to the brain on your body, I’ll try to show you how far all this extends, it may be a bit lengthy, but bear with me, this is worth it.

A common example is a tennis player thinking about how he serves before a game, repeating the movements in his mind to be sure to remember every details. Well, while he does this, his brain is actually using the same process as if he was actually serving.

The same goes for senses, if you use your memory to think about a smell you liked, you can trigger your brain in the same way as if you were actually smelling it. And as the brain works a lot in association of things, that is where your brain will also triggers associated memory, that is why a lot of us have memory of smell, or taste of cookies, or other treats we loved in our childhood that are associated with given moments of our life, of the presence of someone familiar, a mother, a grandmother for example.

This is actually used in some cases of hypnotherapy and in Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) like the one called Anchoring.

Anchoring is a very good example, as it makes you associate a state suited to face a situation, to an action. An example would be best:

Assume you are someone with too much anxiety, you can try to remember a moment of you life when you were perfectly calm and felt safe, think about this, and try to feel every feeling associated, the sounds, the taste, the smell, what you saw at this moment, the touch of the wind, or of a warm good old sweater on your body. If you do this properly, your brain should feel like it was at this moment, it will tell your body: everything is alright, and you should feel that way.

But doing the whole process in the case of a panic attack is not possible, that is why once you get to this state, you will choose a simple given action like joining your index and thumb for example, doing this in full conscience, concentrated on your action.

Because of the state you were in, and the act you just did, your brain will associate the two. For a good anchoring it may be required to do this multiple times. But once this anchor is properly set, you should be able to trigger the state you were in, simply by doing the associated action.

This power of the brain is pretty amazing and has quite a lot of possible uses, I actually discovered the basics of this principle in the following video. I find it pretty interesting although, Martin L. Rossman does talk about the Triune Brain which apparently has been unanimously rejected by the scientific community (found in the NLP french wikipedia page). Anyway, even if the principle of the three parts of the brain explained there are not completely accurate, the principle stays the same, and does work.

I suggest you have a look at the video, if you have some time in front of you:

In my opinion (I don’t claim I’m right about this), relaxation, part of meditation, of hypnotherapy and NLP, and probably much more, are all taking advantage of this same capacity of our mind to gets their benefit, and I’m pretty sure there is still a lot more to learn about the subject.