A neuroscientific approach to spice up your life

Bachir Boumaaza, aka Athene on Youtube, a professional gamer from Belgium, gives prescious insights into neurological findings.  Whaaat? A gamer? Yep you heard right! I stumbled upon his video and for me it has been an eye opener and so I want to share his explanations about how to change disadvantageous dynamics that affect our life, with you! 

Why we act the way we do

What drives us and what we desire is fundamentally based on two processes: the evolution of our brain and the experiences we have while growing up. Our driving force in life is thus defined by two timeframes: our own development and by the time the human species has existed, even before we were alive.

The “Gaming for Good” founder gives the example of people who’s deepest need is to be liked and loved by each and everybody in their environment. This need can be explained by by going back in history to a time when being part of a group was a crucial part of survival.

Those immemorial driving forces express themselves in the feelings and emotions we have. Most of them can’t really be explained conciouscly because they are developed in the most primitive parts of our brain. Basically our emotions are the result of those primitive parts expressing themselves. That explains why we sometimes feel and act in a pretty weird way and even though we know our failures, we seem to not be able to stop them.

An insight into neurological processes

Taking a look at the evolution of our brain, we can see that it was built layer by layer and it evolved over the years allowing us to become the intelligent species we are today. The most modern part of our brain is the prefrontal cortex. This is the part which allows us to be aware of ourselves as human beings, to think, speak and rationalise emotions if we know how.

Knowing how the brain is constructed, the process of us thinking and acting in the ways we do seems pretty logical. First, we unconsciously experience the emotions developed in the primitive parts of the brain. When we become aware of them, we rationalise them with our prefrontal cortex. If this process happens without our awareness, our brain reacts to emotions in the way it was trained to do when we grew up – and sometimes those ways are completely stupid.

Getting control of the processes

Simply being aware of this process is only the first step. What we further need to do to get control of unwanted emotions and behaviours is to stop beating ourselves up for having them and start seeing them more analytical angle instead. If we feel bad or if we experience irrational fears we need distance ourselves from them and look at them from a third-person-perspective. If we get to the core of an emotion and if we know the reason for it, it starts to soften and loses strength.

Secondly, we need set ourselves the new core value of making sense. As simple as this sounds, it can become a pretty hard exercise to undertake. It includes planning our days and finding the sense in absolutely everything we do. It means getting up and leaving the TV switched off just to find a source of knowledge that really helps us develop. It means letting go of unhealthy relationships because you know they are toxic. And it means not spending those last pennies in your pocket on coke and sweets.

The result, if you can manage to make this your new way of life, can be amazing. You conciously train your mind to do fulfilling work, to look for people who enrich your life and to see the world as an open book you can learn from each and every day. At the end there’s the life you are dreaming of.

How to get our brain into the right state

As cheesy as it sounds, there’s an additional thing we need to do to get control over our emotions and our brain – and that’s the combination of working out and eating healthy. Doing so stimulates the blood flow to our brain which allows our prefrontal cortex to be more active and get into the state of real awareness. Just turn it upside down – now you have a goal that’s really worth working out for!


Find out more about the topic in the original video:

Photo credit: Cover image by Pixabay

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