Who is in your driver’s seat?


Marcia Harris, MA, CLL



Oftentimes you think nothing of getting into your car and taking off to your next destination or task. You think to yourself, “I have a sound mind, am focused and prepared for my next task or event.”

My question is “who” is in your driver’s seat?

If you are rested and relaxed, your brain is allowing the analytical-focused you to take control. However, if you are irritable from lack of sleep or from a challenging situation, the emotional-irritable you will often attempt to get in the driver’s seat and take off to your next task or destination.

Studies show that when you make a decision when you are emotional (upset, sad, anxious, doubtful or angry), you often do not weigh the consequences or see the end result of your decision to act. You see only what will ease your pain right here, right now. In other words, letting the emotional you take control or get in the driver’s seat forces the focused analytical you to the back seat with no opportunity to lead you to the destination that will benefit you in time and value. In other words, allowing the emotional you to be in the driver’s seat may lead to decisions that may create more pain and challenges than you initially experienced.

Once you return to your normal, focused self, you will ask yourself. “How could I have made such a mistake?”

Let me remind you that when you act out of emotional pain, you miss the main point. You seek only to ease the pain you are experiencing at the moment.

Studies show that your amazing brain — those 100 billion neurons — works best when the analytical-focused you is in the driver’s seat. Why (you wonder)? The focused analytical you will weigh the consequences before making that decision to act.

To prevent the emotional you from taking charge in your decision making, I encourage you to take the following steps: 1) Take 10 deep breaths when you become emotional to assist you in calming down before you act, 2) Ask yourself, “Will my desired action solve the problem?” 3) Ask yourself, “What will be the consequences tomorrow of my decision to act today?” and 4) “Will I be pleased next week or next month with my action?”

In closing, I challenge you this month to consider “who” will be in your driver’s seat — the emotional you or the focused- analytical you?

I encourage you to choose the latter. “Jumpstart your brain; jumpstart your life.”

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Marcia Harris, MA, CLL

For more information on your amazing brain, refer to “How the Brain Learns” (David Sousa) and “The New Science of Learning: How to Live in Harmony with your Brain” (Terry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek), as well as the Journal of Psychology “mindset development” Seaton, Fiona. Educational Psychology in Practice Volume: 34 Issue 1 (2018) ISSN: 0266-7363 Online ISSN: 1469-5839

Reach Marcia Harris, MA, CLL of YOUnique Whole Brain Life Skill, LLC and Time Out for Me, Inc. at 740-353-8056.

For more information on your amazing brain, refer to “How the Brain Learns” (David Sousa) and “The New Science of Learning: How to Live in Harmony with your Brain” (Terry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek), as well as the Journal of Psychology “mindset development” Seaton, Fiona. Educational Psychology in Practice Volume: 34 Issue 1 (2018) ISSN: 0266-7363 Online ISSN: 1469-5839

Reach Marcia Harris, MA, CLL of YOUnique Whole Brain Life Skill, LLC and Time Out for Me, Inc. at 740-353-8056.