The Reticular Activating System

Did you know there’s a powerful part of your brain that, when you understand how it operates, can help you achieve any goal? It’s called the Reticular Activating System (RAS).

The Reticular Activating System is a small, pencil sized bundle of nerve cells that connects from your spine into the center of your brain, also called the thalamus. The thalamus is a command and control center for your brain, collecting data through your senses, organizing the raw data and transmitting the information to the relevant parts of the brain. Think of NASA’s mission control in Texas that has to constantly evaluate the rockets sent into space, making sure spacecrafts stay on course, on time and the astronauts inside stay safe. The reticular activating system function is that of the thalamus’s gatekeeper. It ensures that only relevant data is processed. NASA doesn’t want pop-ups on its’ computers during an important launch!

In other words, your Reticular Activating System is the part of your subconscious mind that filters through all the sensory data taken in by your senses and brings to your conscious attention only what is deemed important. Think about how many different bits of data your senses constantly process. The sounds, sights, colors, images, sensations, people vying for your attention, Facebook, all the thoughts in your mind, Superman flying by… You couldn’t possibly pay attention to all of this at once!

Read: The power of the Subconscious Mind

How does the RAS decide what to focus you on?

The keyword is importance! Anything that is important to your survival and to your goals will be brought to your attention. The best part is that you can ‘program’ your RAS or subconscious mind to bring to your attention anything you decide is important. Here are a few naturally occurring examples:

Survival – You are walking jubilantly down the street on a sunny Sunday morning when out of nowhere a dog starts barking maniacally and starts chasing you! Not only will you be focussed on the dog, you’ll get an adrenalin boost to boot!

Any danger or perceived threat is automatically brought to your attention and there is nothing you can do about it. You’re wired to survive! Even a garden hose that you mistake for a snake will hijack your full attention.

Your name – Every time, you see or hear your name your attention will be focused on it.

Novelty – You are sitting in the park taking a breather from a job when an attractive man or woman walks by… You just can’t help but look.

Conditioning – Now we arrive to the meat of the article! You can ‘program your RAS’. Ultimately, you decide what’s important to you and literally, your RAS will show it to you in reality. That’s the power of the subconscious mind.

Have you ever wanted to go on a tropical vacation really badly? Just thinking about the walks on the beach, the beautiful orange sunsets, surfing, snorkeling and finally relaxing captures your imagination and brings your mind right there.

And when you emerge from your daydream and get back to everyday life, you coincidently find discounted flights to Bermuda, see sunscreen commercials and your friend tells you about his vacation plans. It seems the universe responds to your thoughts. That’s the power of your subconscious mind.

The way your subconscious mind understands importance, is by what you think about most of the time with strong emotion!

Read that again!

What you think about most of the time, tends to become your dominant reality especially when you become emotionally involved. This is true for your beliefs as much as it is true of the example above.

Have you ever noticed that the people who always talk about being late, never show up on time?

Or the people who talk about lack of confidence, always seem to be holding themselves back from the potential you know is inside them?

Or how money just slips through the fingers like running water of those who claim never to have any?

It’s because unknowingly, they are programming themselves by the way they think. They are thinking constantly about their problem so their subconscious mind responds by bringing them more of the problem.

This can be a turning point for you! Start focussing on what you want instead of what you don’t want and watch your life change. Spend 5% of your time objectively trying to understand the problem and 95% of your time thinking about the solution.

How to reprogram your subconscious mind

Hypnosis is the most powerful tool to reprogram your RAS and subconscious mind. Suggestions accepted under hypnosis will be understood by the subconscious to be important and can help you completely change every aspect of your reality.

Visit the Self Hypnosis Library and reprogram your subconscious mind quickly.

For now, I want to give you a self hypnosis tool so you can reprogram your subconscious mind right now: creative visualization. It’s not enough to just think about what’s important to you, you have to think about it in a certain way.

Remember that the RAS is connected to your sensory system. When you visualize what you want… When you see yourself having the results… When you can hear the surrounding sounds of success… And when you feel the emotions like you already have what’s most important… You will reprogram your Reticular Activating System in a heartbeat. In essence, you have to be able to imagine your goals as if you are already living them. The more detail you can add to the picture, the better, with a special emphasis on how it feels when you’ve achieved that goal. This will give you the emotional fuel you need to take action on the opportunities that seem to come out of nowhere.

P.S. Fun fact: the RAS also plays a role in managing the transition between wakefulness and sleep.