Brain Science and Life Coaching

Brain 300x300 Brain Science: How To Change The Way You ThinkCan you really change the way you think?    Yes! 

Are you as a life coach or business coach concerned about how your clients think?  If not, you should be.  The way your clients see the world, the quantity and quality of thoughts they have, and the factors that affect how they think so they get the results they seek . . . ALL these items should be the focus of your coaching . . . that is, if you want to be a really effective coach!

Brain scientists, and philosophers before them, have been arguing about how the brain works for centuries . . . in particular, they quibble over the idea of Free Will vs Determinism.  Many brain scientists – notably Sam Harris and David Eagleman – report that “Free Will” is an illusion, and that we are (in Harris’ words) merely  “biochemical puppets”!

Jeffrey Schwartz disagrees.  He is the author of Brain Lock and You Are Not Your Brain, and is one of the foremost experts on brain science in general, and Obsession-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) specifically.  He strongly asserts that FREE WILL places a vital role in not only the treatment of brain dysfunction, but also in the evolution of our species!

For you as a Life Coach, approaching each client using the Free Will model – even if you believe otherwise – is the only real way to affect long-term and permanent change in the way they think, and the way they get results.  For Dr. Schwartz, it often became a matter of life or death for his patients.

While the OCD exhibited by Sheldon Cooper’s character on TV’s The Big Bank Theory is hilarious, it is no laughing matter to Schwartz’s patients, and the tens of thousands of others who suffer from this debilitating disorder. Dr. Schwartz was even summoned by Leonardo DiCaprio to coach him on how to recreate Howard Hughes’ OCD for his role in the movie The Aviator.

(For those that aren’t up on their brain diseases, OCD is a condition where the subject constantly repeats words, phrases, actions, or a sequence of actions to calm down the fear they experience as  result of excessive neuron firing in the area of the brain related to decision-making, called the caudate nucleus.)

Dr. Schwartz, initially in conjunction with his mentor and UCLA neuropsychiatrist Lewis Baxter,  set out to find out why OCD patients do the things they do . . . and in the process discovered FOUR STEPS that have radically altered the treatment of OCD.  These same steps, by the way, can also affect how you and your coaching clients can get beyond personal limitations such as worry, negativity, and other forms of mental-emotional self-sabotage.

The key, it turns out, is tied in with the ancient Buddhist practice of “Mindfulness” – a form of meditation used by monks for centuries to calm the mind in preparation for enlightenment or Satori.   Mindfulness is simply allowing the awareness to settle on the fact that you are not your thoughts . . . and that the mind “thinks” without prompting – often to our detriment.  Dr. Schwartz’s FOUR STEPS are modeled after this practice.

Here are the steps:

 STEP ONE – RELABEL.  For Dr. Schwartz’s patients, there was a huge shift once they understood that their OCD was a product of faulty brain wiring, and that they were not crazy!  The rallying cry for these patients become “It’s not me . . . It’s my OCD!” 

For you and your coaching clients, just getting them to the point where they realize that hidden thoughts and decisions run their lives is huge . . . and Muscle Testing is the fastest and easiest way to demonstrate this!

STEP TWO – REATTRIBUTE.  Once Dr. Schwartz explained that the faulty wiring was the cause, and not the person himself or herself, they were able to start seeing and attributing each episode of OCD as faulty wiring, and NOT something they were doing wrong.  The OCD became separate from their sense of self.

As in Step One, Muscle Testing can shed light on, not only the nature of their self-sabotage, but also the hidden memories and decisions that created it in the first place!

STEP THREE – REFOCUS.  As in Mindfulness meditation, the OCD patients were taught to regard their mental flareups with dispassion and a “non-minding” attitude.  Dr. Schwartz further instructed his patients during meditation to come back to their breathing, i.e. to refocus their mind once they became aware it had wandered.

In the practice of Transcendental Meditation®, as also instructed in The Logical Soul®, each client is taught to regard thoughts and feelings with the same dispassion and non-minding attitude.  This silent and effortless refocusing is key to diving deeper into the vastness of pure consciousness.

STEP FOUR – REVALUE.  Dr. Schwartz was eventually able to convince his patients that OCD thoughts and fears were simply “trash . . . not worth the gray matter they rode in on.”  Soon after consciously placing a lower value on the “trash” in their minds, OCD patients were eventually able to go throughout the day exhibiting this attitude!  Not only that – each patient’s brain scans were showing the same results exhibited when on OCD medication!

For you as a life coach, its much simpler because you are not dealing with disease!  Simply get your coaching clients to the point where they see negative thoughts, attitudes, and actions as uninvited guests!  After a little time using the Mindfulness or other kind of meditation, their results will be no less than amazing . . . and YOU will be the hero!