Reticular Activator. We all have one but we’re not always aware of it. So what is it?
YouMeWorks.com defines the reticular activator as your first line of defense against being overwhelmed by stimuli. It’s your reticular activator that decides what will get into your awareness, what you will notice, and its filters help you determine what’s important and what you need to survive.
The reticular activator gets its name from the part of the brain, the Reticular Formation, that’s responsible for motivation and arousal. It really is essential so that you don’t spiral off in a thousand directions at once and get nothing accomplished.
If you want to be successful, happy, enriched, balanced… any of the good things in life… it’s crucial to feed your reticular activator the right things. The “Good in - Good Out” principle points toward this. Set your focus on the goals, on success, on a happy life, and your reticular activator helps weed out the things that don’t coincide with that. If you want to start a new habit, reset your focus in the direction of success for that habit.
Even something as simple as changing your vocabulary to a more positive focus can be achieved this way. Choose a new word for the day (there are apps for this) and engage your brain in using it. When my younger daughter was in 1st grade, they had a sparkling word wall; once a week, each child was given an overused word for which they had to come up with a substitute word, which was written in sparkling paint on the word wall, and then they had to use that word as often as possible. She came home from school and proudly declared to me, “Mom, you’re not pretty.” Before I could react, she went on to say, “You’re glamourous!” Wow, did I love that sparkling word wall!
There are expressions that speak toward the importance of your reticular activator, too.
“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
And a favorite of mine: “If all you have are silver bullets, everything looks like a werewolf.”
Focus on the positive. Find your own sparkling word. Make your positive goal list. And remember to feed your reticular activator something fabulous today!