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It dnsoet mtaetr waht oedrr teh ltetrs aepapr yuor biarn siltl mkaes snsee of it as it rcoesiegns ptrtanes. Teh hmuan barin is a wdeoufnrl tool, so use it!

So how is this helpful?

Well if you had to logically process everything you encounter, you’d struggle to get out of bed in the morning! The brain has evolved to recognise patterns and these can be really helpful. Do you remember when you learnt to drive? What a fiddly, diddly, daddeley thing! Fee,t hands, eyes, outside world, mirror- signal-manoeuvre! And yet, if you are anything like me, I drive now without even thinking about it and sometimes arrive at the wrong destination! As I set off, the brain recognised a pattern and kept following it.

So our brain seeks causal links – if this pattern in front of me matches something from the past, this is what is likely to happen so this is the best thing to do; our brain is constantly shuffling between the present, the past, the future and then the present again (and usually in that order and all within half a second).

So when is this a problem?

The best example is a phobia. Most of us walk into a room and don’t see the little black speck in the corner. If we see a larger arachnid friend we may ignore it or put it outside or kill it ( shame on you!) . With a spider phobia, the person will search the room on entry and that black speck or even worse his much bigger brother is SPIDERZILLA! They run out of the room as their brain kicks in with an automatic, prelearned response – EXIT NOW!

This is a learnt pattern. Somewhere in the past, an event has happened which triggered this fear. Usually this is as a child. The brain has a powerful response and takes a snapshot of   afraid of. In order to protect you, anything that vaguely looks like this again- a pattern match- it will trigger you to flee as it thinks you are in mortal danger. Hence the phobia develops.

Eating habits can also derive from the same effect. My mum used to treat me after school if I’d had a bad day with some sweets. Over time I cam to associate eating sugary stuff with comfort. Enter problem restricting sugar which can be a massive factor in weight loss. I have dealt with this  now, by the way! I phoned a friend!

 

Jill Tonks

Jill Tonks

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