My last blog asked the question, “what does it mean to have a conscious relationship with money?” Today, we expand on that question to ask, what does it mean to lead a fully conscious life?

We can all relate to the experience of thinking along these lines; I can’t believe I said that, or reacted that way or, where did that come from?

To paraphrase Victor Frankl, “there is a gap between stimulus and response and in that gap is our power to choose.” Neuroscience tells us that most of our decisions and choices are unconscious, implicit memory. WE move through life believing we are informed, conscious decisions makers, when in fact, most of the time we are unaware of why we decide on one course of action versus another.

I will be focusing my next few blogs on ways we can wake up and be more conscious in our lives. This blog presents insights into how neuroscience views the relationship between our brain, mind and body.

The physical structure of the brain is designed to help us survive and manage stress consciously. When we acquire tools that help us learn how to manage signals from this very complex organ on top of our bodies, we are better inclined to react positively and with greater awareness.

For example, directly up from our brain stem is a very primitive part of our brain called the amygdala. It is a kind of an alarm bell that is scanning the environment looking for potential threat. It reacts to its perception of threat instantaneously, which is good when someone pulls out in front of us or threatens the life of a loved one. But problematic when it is a loved one disagreeing with what we said or our children left their room a mess. You see it is unable to discern the difference between a physical and social threat.

It responds in one of 4 ways, fight, flight, freeze, or appease. As you consider the above we will leave with a question, when you are emotionally triggered (the amygdala has fired), what is your first response, fight, flight, freeze or appease? Do you have a combination like appease-fight? Start to notice, what kind of situations activate you? Is it being disagreed with, dismissed or diminished in some way? Seeing your patterns of response is a great place to start to lead a more conscious life.