Reticular Activating System (RAS) – A collection of nerves that exist in our brainstem, which filters out unnecessary and irrelevant information to make space for important information. Have you ever thought how we come across billions of information pieces, and our brain never gets short-circuited? Instead, our brain processes all of them and helps us retain only the relevant information. This miracle is carried out by the RAS in our brain.
If you learned a new word today, thank your RAS. This is also the reason why when you’re in a crowd and you hear your name called out, you immediately become attentive and look from where the sound came. Does that ring a bell?
What is the main function of the Reticular Activating System?
The main function of the Reticular Activating System is to filter a huge load of information we get and keep only those relevant to us or those that concern us. Your brain carries out this function without you knowing it. The RAS functions in your favor without any action point on your part. Nothing less than a miracle, right? So, how does all of this help in getting what you want? This sounds like the law of attraction. It’s not exactly the same but is closely related.
How do you use the RAS to get what you want?
Your RAS will accept what you focus on. So, if you think you will be frightened on the stage, you will be having stage freight. If you think you cannot do something, you will definitely not be able to do it. Your RAS obeys your thoughts and directs your actions to make it happen.
Now you know why they say, your thoughts turn into beliefs and then into actions. So, if you think you can, or you can’t, both ways, you are right. The RAS influences your actions following your thoughts.
So, we suggest that you think about what you want, and tell yourself that you will be able to achieve it. This will give the signal to your Reticular Activating System and make your beliefs and actions in line with it. This is called ‘setting the intent.’ This way, you are marrying your ‘intent’ to the ‘subconscious thoughts’ that influence the actions you take, and ultimately the outcome of those actions. In short, you should know that your Reticular Activating System will know your intent and open up avenues, people, and the path on how you can achieve it. If you think positively, you will head in that direction and succeed. It is that simple.
What happens if Reticular Activating System is damaged?
This is a situation which you definitely don’t want to run into. When your brain is affected by some accident or through some chemical injection, your RAS might take a hit. It results in damage to your sleep cycle, the way you process information, and the outcome of everything related to it. Severe damages include brain injury and brain becoming dead, in which case, you run into a coma. Therefore, you should always protect your head with a helmet while driving, in the wake of unforeseen situations. This protects your Reticular Activating System and eventually, your future capabilities to think and act.
Reticular Activating System Exercises
This is like polishing the inner power of your brain to act in your favor with rigor. It sounds complex, but it is simple.
Imagine a situation or a goal that you want to achieve. It should be realistic.
Now you should imagine how it would feel to move ahead in that direction towards the goal.
Last, but not least, the thing about how the feeling would be once that goal is achieved. Imagine the details of that feeling. It’s like daydreaming just as if it was real.
For physical exercises, refer to this article.
Now you are thinking why am I supposed to do this? In real life, things are not as easy. But once you realize that your Reticular Activating System should be boosted up to drive you towards the results, you know this is the exercise of the brain that demands practice. Just like you exercise daily so that your body stays fit, you need to exercise your Reticular Activating System to keep it polished and serviced!
Read about the Reticular Activating System in detail here.
Reticular Formation and the link to RAS
Are the Reticular Formation and Reticular Activating System one and the same thing? No. The acts of the Reticular Formation are mediated by the Reticular Activating System which is also called the ascending arousal system among other areas of brain. The RAS has many components, out of which Reticular Formation is an integral part. So, both are different and have a different purpose. Think of the Reticular activating system as the vehicle and Reticular Formation as the fuel. It makes it easier to understand.
So now, you can control your destiny by simply thinking positive and polishing your RAS. Go, build your future now!
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