The World Has Changed, But You Haven’t

How you can use the Corona Virus to understand your brain.

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Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

If you’ve watched the news, a lot of peoples’ worlds have turned upside down in the past weeks.

The Corona Virus impacted our daily habits, family dynamics and the way we do business, but it’s also impacted our brains.

You may already know that everyone responds differently to this impact.

Some people have taken to stockpiling toilet paper while others have taken to social media to spread positive messages. Still others have take to social media to complain about how people are behaving in the supermarkets.

You may not know that all of these responses are normal.

Each of us responds to the world according to how we’ve trained our brain to respond.

A quick overview of two parts of your brain:

Our reptilian brain – the oldest part of our brain in charge of our fight, flight and freeze responses – it reacts automatically to the interpretations we make about what’s happening in the world around us. It’s all about making snap judgments.

Our prefrontal cortex – the more evolved part of our brain – can make more discerning decisions and override our reptilian brain when we chose to engage it. Like a puppy, it needs some training to stay focussed on how you want it to behave.

Our behaviors right now highlight who we already are.

We have a thought about what’s going on in the world, and that thought impacts how we behave in the world.

The opportunity in the midst of all this is to see how our brain works in a crisis, so we can see how we respond to our world the same every single day – crisis or not.

When we add the Corona Virus to our brain, it’s like fanning the flames of a fire already ignited.

I was coaching a client recently, and she blamed her indecision and lack of focus around her business on the pandemic. When we dug deeper, she realized she’d always had indecision and lacked focus around her business.

We can only make change when we take responsibility for our thoughts and how we choose to behave in the world.

If you find yourself with an urge to stock up on toilet paper, where else in your life do you choose scarcity? 

If you’ve decided to close your business rather than innovate to meet the needs of the market, where else in your life have you given up?

Angry that the person in line stands too close to you? Notice where else you try to control the outside world to try to feel better.

These are examples of our brain in fight, flight or freeze mode. 

If we pay attention to our reactions, we can use this as an opportunity to evolve. We can use this as an opportunity to create more of what we want in our lives and less of what we don’t.

This isn’t about judgement. It’s not about beating ourselves up for our thoughts or behaviors. It’s about being curious about ourselves, so we can evolve with the times.

Your brain is doing exactly what you’ve trained it to do.

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