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How to change your life experience: Action

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The future depends on what you do today. – Mahatma Ghandi

Photo by SwapnIl Dwivedi on Unsplash

When you want to change something in your life, where do you usually start? If you’re anything like me, you want to start with action. You want to start by doing something.

I mean, that makes sense, right? If I do the thing, it will happen. If I do the thing, it will bring it into reality. But what you may not realize is that there are a couple precursors to “doing the thing”.

The thinking brain

In this recent blog post I explained the first domino to fall, or the top-most level in the funnel that will eventually lead to the results you will see in your life: thought.

Thoughts are created in response to your outer, and sometimes inner environment. Your senses pick up on this information, deliver it to your brain, and your brain interprets the information by thinking thoughts about it.

The emotional brain

Next in the domino lineup, or the funnel, is emotion. (I wrote a more extensive blog post on emotion you can read here.)Your thoughts trigger an emotion to be created. I’m sure you don’t often think of how you feel being caused by chemicals, but that is exactly what is going on.

You pituitary gland creates, and can direct other glands to create, the chemical cocktail that is released into your bloodstream in order to direct your nervous system about how to feel. Once your nervous system picks up on this chemical information, the next step follows…

The body in action

Once your nervous system picks up on those chemicals, it is moved to do something. This cues your body to either engage with, or avoid something.

Both engagement and avoidance can look very active (like running towards or running away from something), or can look still (like when you settle in to watch a movie, or you freeze out of fear).

Either way, your body is pretty much taking action all the time, even when it seems like it isn’t. So if you’ve ever gotten down on yourself for not taking action, know that your life is full of action. You just haven’t been able to continually take the action you want to take (because you haven’t found the thought to keep it going).

One way to get clear on your current actions is by doing an Action Audit. This was the subject of a Facebook live I recorded, and you can watch it here.

Tying it all together

Your brain thinks thoughts. These thoughts trigger emotions. Emotions tell your body to take action. And you end up with results, or what you create in this world. 

The dominoes that fall, or funnel that occurs, truly is that simple. But there is complexity within, like thoughts attached to other thoughts that trigger multiple emotions that can take us from doing one thing one moment to something entirely different the next.

This is normal human life though, and if you can accept that, you’ll be on your way to higher mindfulness through better thinking, feeling, and acting.

And a final note; the reason you might waffle back and forth on a certain action or, for instance and action you have to take to create a new habit or reach a goal, is because your thoughts are waffling back and forth. 

Your initial thought might have been something like “this will change the world” or “this will make me a lot of money” or “this will solve my problem”, and you felt the emotion of inspiration. But after some time your brain might kick in with thoughts like “this is hard” or “maybe this isn’t worth it”, and the emotion changes to doubt. 

This process is normal, but if you want to continue to feel inspired, you have to find those thoughts that create that emotion. That might not be your habit, so you’ll have to work to encourage those thoughts in your mind. 

Remind yourself of those inspiring thoughts, just like you would remind yourself of appointments, or regular tasks. Keep it in your conscious mind, and you’ll create the required emotions to take the needed actions.

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