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Confidence on Camera and the Reticular Activating System

What is the Reticular Activating System (RAS)?

Ring light with iPhone camera connected.

The groupings of neurons that together make up the Reticular Activating System (RAS) are ultimately responsible for what we decide to pay attention to and what we discard. The RAS is also responsible for attention, arousal, the ability to focus, amongst many other things.

It is somewhat like a filter or a “bouncer” at a club but for our brain. It ensures that we don’t take in any more information than we can handle.

It is also known as the “gatekeeper of information that is let into the conscious mind.”

Therefore, it is responsible for filtering through mass amounts of information that our sensory organs are constantly throwing at it, and it selects what is most important for our conscious mind to pay attention to and what we can safely ignore.

One popular example is that of two parents who will easily sleep right through a plane taking off nearby, which is extremely loud. Yet a mother will wake up almost immediately if a baby stirs in the next room, which compared to the airplane, is a much fainter and lower-level noise.

This is an example of what the RAS does or the RAS at work – it decides what information to pass through the brain so that you take action.

We also know that the RAS simply reinforces what is in our subconscious mind. Therefore, if a thought (which stems from our beliefs) is that, “I don’t like to show up on camera or on social media.”

Well then, it will be very difficult for you to get comfortable even attempting to try for the first time because your RAS will only filter information that will help to reinforce your beliefs in order to keep you safe.

Meaning, it will only look for negative “what if” scenarios about showing up on camera and will block information about successes you can achieve.

This is because the RAS is an automatic process that doesn’t necessarily distinguish between positive and negative behavior; it doesn’t look for what is good or bad for you, it looks for what is familiar or safe. It automates what is in your neural pathways.

So then, to create a change or instill a new behavior or routine, you must reprogram your neural pathways.

So therefore, you must create the chance to change your beliefs which influence your thoughts which then influence your reality.

How to do this?

1. Be mindful of the content that you consume and the words you use. Meaning, feed your brain with the information that you want to see in your life because the RAS is always listening.

This is why it’s important to be mindful of the people you surround yourself with because it’s like the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” When we don’t believe something is possible for us, we must surround ourselves with people who can show us that it is (which is why a mentor can be so beneficial to your growth and mindset).

And this is because of our mirror neurons. For example, when we observe others perform an action, mirror neurons are activated - the neuron "mirrors" the behaviors of others - and form new neural pathways. Therefore, we become the average of the people we spend the most time with as our mirror neurons cause us to imprint off each other. So in this way, we really are a product of our environment.

2. Next, try and change your perspective on how you view the task. For example, instead of thinking of it as, "I have to show up on camera and create content," change your perspective to something like, "I get the opportunity to create content and show up for my community and spread a valuable message that I know someone wants or needs to hear and will benefit from."

If you start to change your perspective and your beliefs, again, the RAS will begin to look for information to reinforce this to be true.

3. Finally, create a vision board or start to repeat daily affirmations. Things like vision boards, scripting, and repeating positive affirmations are super powerful (and effective) because they train your brain to focus on the things that you want.

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Adriana Leos; Chief Creative Officer; Our Mindful Marketing

written by:

Adriana Leos

Chief Creative Officer


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