Do your brain’s predictions help or hinder you?

I recently read a very interesting article by Dr Lisa Feldman Barrett, a psychologist and neuroscientist and author of How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life Of The Brain. After discussion of research around the subject of how emotions are made, she states that, as many may know, your brain’s primary function is to keep your body alive. What I found interesting, with my Coaching hat on,  is that she goes on to write that your brain, with its focus on keeping you alive, does so by devoting most of its time predicting what will happen next and spends 60-80% of its energy on predictions. These include predictions about your world and also your body, regulating such things as  your blood pressure, breath rate and hormone levels.

positive and negative

Your brain predicts what it thinks is going to happen next, based on the current situation and from your past experiences and makes your emotions based on these predictions. There are ways you can make changes to these predictions and also help to elevate mood; keeping your body healthy means the brain has to work less hard to compensate for ill health and this facilitates less negative mood. The predictions your brain makes based on your past experiences is harder to control but is possible by changing your beliefs that formed about previous experience and removing attached thoughts such as fears which are no longer relevant.

For example: You have gone for a promotion at work three times previously, which you didn’t get and now your brain is predicting you won’t get any future promotions you go for -you may have attached a fear to the experiences such as not being good enough. However, you may revisit these experiences and realise that all of your previous attempts were for roles you were not suited to HOWEVER future roles may be perfect for you —you know you are great at your job and have some great skills and therefore your fear of not being good enough are not warranted and you can interpret the experiences differently enabling your brain to predict differently and not flood you with negative emotion when going for the new job.

Working with a Life Coach can help you to examine previous experiences, reassess and change your beliefs that are unnecessarily holding you back from where you want to be and free yourself from much negative emotion and increase positive emotion. For more information please email me at or give me a call on 07708238929.



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