Have you ever allowed uncertainty, fear and control to consume you? Maybe had a time in your life when you didn’t know what was going to happen or you were waiting in eager anticipation of something to happen? In these moments of uncertainty, our minds can’t help themselves and they begin to build the story we believe (or want to believe) is happening. Unfortunately, we often start building the worse case scenario and as a result, we spiral into fear based thinking that leads us directly to a self imposed anxiety. Stuck in this anxiety, this thought pattern runs on a constant loop which then begins to cultivate a new behavioral pattern of control. Uncertainty, Fear and Control are the basis for this dysfunctional loop that we call Monkey Brain.
There is only one thing scarier than death and that is uncertainty. They are numbers 1 and 2 on the billboard top 100 of Fear.
Why does the thought of not knowing something make us so crazy?
Let me explain.
It’s because our minds are wired for our absolute protection and safety. We were given an EGO brain about 2 million years ago to protect us from Sabretooth Tigers. Although our brains have evolved since then, our ego operating system was never updated. So, unless we are living in a high state of consciousness, we are subject to fall into a primal “fear-based thinking” mode when we are faced with uncertainty. The idea of not knowing what’s coming next, freaks us out. Our minds immediately jump to the absolute worst case scenarios and we begin to make up horrific stories about what “might” happen next?
As a result of the uncertainty, we fall into fear-based thinking. This is when all of the sirens and flashing lights go off in our head. Our brain recalls that time when we were seven years old and we fell off our bike, it tries to correlate that event to the current situation and somehow starts making up horrific stories about the potential outcome of this situation. Uncertainty feeds a control mechanism in our brain that gets fueled by our insecurities and all of our safety-based fears: abandonment, rejection, acceptance, judgement, obligation, experiences of physical and emotional pain, etc. It’s like a Rolodex of every worst possible scenario your mind can imagine. Your body starts pumping out stress hormones and you feel very anxious. Not only is your brain spinning out of control but, now your body has joined the party to make sure you are feeling what you’re thinking. If this is happening to you now, please take several deep breathes before you continue reading.
After a while in this fear-based thinking mode, your mind gets really bored of feeling this way and starts a new control mechanism. One that tries to eliminate uncertainty. We start developing routines. We eat specific foods. We have a favorite soda. We drive the same way to work and back. We avoid doing perceived high-risk things and we begin doing other things ourselves because, we don’t trust others to do them. You procrastinate doing the things you are unfamiliar with or you find the need to gather tons of information before making a decision or you have to ask 10 people’s opinion before making a simple decision. You can never commit to a relationship. We stop being vulnerable with other people. You worry about everything and anything. These are all control based behaviors that we implement for our own safety. The crazy part is, the old “fear-based mode” is still in operation. Now, you have these two neurotic processes functioning in your head at the same time. It’s no wonder you can’t think straight and you feel drained all of the time? You’re spending all of your energy worrying about things that “have never” or “may never” happen. After millions of years you would think that we would have evolved from this state of anxiety called “monkey brain”?
Monkey Brain is not your fault. Unless you learned emotional intelligence or Jedi mind control from a very young age, you are susceptible to anxiety like the rest of us. It’s just the way we were physiologically and biologically wired as human beings. The good news is that you have the capability to update the EGO operating system yourself. To make this update, you will need to summon Courage. To combat fear, we must summon Courage. Courage is the ability to do something despite your fear. Courage is a birthright. Just like the EGO operating system, you were born with Courage. You have probably exercised courage at different times in your life but, may not have prioritize this value in your belief system. You need to implement this now if you want to stop your fear-based thinking and intolerance of uncertainty.
Along with courage, you will need a new self-empowered mode of thought. Courage in the midst of anxiety is having the confidence to trust your self-empowerment or inner guidance. Your inner guidance is that little voice, it’s your intuition, it’s your core essence, your truth, your wisdom and it’s always there for you whether you know it or not. Your inner guidance always wants the best for you. Unlike inner guidance, Ego loves to make us suffer. Inner guidance and Ego are always at odds with one another. Courage is the ability to call a “time out” in the middle of your own life, pull Ego out of the game and substitute with your inner guidance. Courage is the willingness to exercise your self-empowerment to consciously control your own thoughts, feelings and actions. When you rely on inner guidance, you’ll have the confidence to calm the storm. First, with deep breathes to settle your nervous system and allow your body to relax. Then with rational thought and your ability to let go of outcomes. Self-empowerment comes from understanding that your perceived control doesn’t have any impact on the outcome. Self-empowerment is understanding that you only have control over yourself. Self-empowerment is understanding your responsibility (ability to respond) under any circumstance. Self-empowerment is exercising your responsibility and influence in order to live your best life.
It is not necessary to succumb to monkey brain. We all have the ability, power and courage to call a “time out” in the middle of the chaos. The “time out” gives us the opportunity, in the midst of chaos to take control of our mind and body. We have the ability to respond, to not be a victim to our old patterns of behavior. To step forward with courage and say “enough”, to take a few deep breathes and call on our inner guidance to see us through.
Contact me if have Monkey Brain or you are interested in learning more about your own self-empowerment and living your best life.
Below is a favorite parable related to this post: