How To Train The Brain To Make Better Decisions

How To Train The Brain To Make Better Decisions

I have just finished reading an excellent book “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer


The book explains the neuroscience of decision making and how our two brains; the logical and emotional brain, compete and work together when making chooses.


By understanding the natural process we make when it comes to choosing which bottle of shampoo to purchase in a supermarket, how much to spend on a new car and which course of action to take in a life threatening situation, you can train your brain to make better decisions and choices



You may believe the brain always makes the best choice? In actual fact the way the brain has evolved to make better choices also has a negative side effect – it can easily make poor choices!



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The Logical and Emotional Brain

We have two key parts to our brain. The emotional brain is the part of brain that makes automatic decisions, this is where our habits are formed and it is this brain that creates the “gut feeling”


If a threw a ball at you, you would automatically catch it before it hit you in the head – the process is completed without you having to conscious think or choose what action to take.


In a supermarket you see several products and your emotional brain instantly draws you to one product over another. The brain quickly analyses of the available data and within milliseconds you have made a choice


The logical brain, is the part of the brain that holds our short term memory, this brain analyses data, checks facts and looks at reason. This analytical part of our brain ways up the facts and helps us make conscious choices.


When undertaking a new activity it is this logical brain that decides how to act, by searching for a new solution, learning from mistakes and deleting thoughts and data that are not required for this particular activity, allowing you to focus on the task in hand.


In the supermarket it is the rational brain that makes you stop and way up the various benefits of the various brands of the product you require, rather then making an instant choice.



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 When To Use Your Logical Brain 


The logical brain can easily be overwhelmed when a choice has more  than four distinct variables. The rational brain is best used in two scenarios.  The first, is the your automatic process (habits) doesn’t get you the desired result.


When wanting to buy a simple product such a tin opener, your emotional brain can make the wrong choice as it is influenced by numerous pieces of data (packaging, colour, brand name, shape, images on the product packaging, the sale price/deal, TV adverts, the list can go on  and on) – this can lead you to spending more money on items then is required as you are influenced by the unconcious overwhelming amount of stimulus


In this situation you want to be more rational and use your logical brain to analyse the several  key pieces of data (the material the tin opener is made from, the cost of the product, will it do the required job?) to make a better choice – buying a similar quality of product for less money


A Second example of this is when, you act in a certain way to a stimulus (when an attractive person ask you on a date, your automatic reaction may always result in the person asking you on a date to be put off by your repsonce) You can use your logical brain to analyse your response to teach you how to react differently next time; learning from your mistake


The second time to use your rational brain is in new situations. Your emotional brain, in a new situation will look for a frame of reference to help you decide how to react. In a new situation, this frame of reference can create a negative automatic reaction.


When emotionally drawn to act in a certain way in a new situation, you can use your logic to check the facts and ask “is this the best response to this situation now I have checked the facts?” 



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When to Leave Decisions to the Emotional Brain 


Your emotional brain works best with hard choices. Because we can only consciously think about several pieces of data at one time, the logical brain is easily overwhelmed.


The emotional brain on the other hand, can compute millions of bits of data at anytime. This data is broken down into manageable chunks and our bodies are told to respond via the emotions they feel.


Each experience we encounter is recorded and the brain uses this information to contrast results turning mistakes into learning experiences. This is why experts have undertaken hundreds of hours of repetitious practice  – the practice is turned into an automatic process


This automatic process (from the emotional brain) allows you to react without having to think – watch this video as an example of the power of the emotional brain



The emotional brain, as the video above shows works best in life threatening situations. If you logically think how to respond to a car that is just about to run you over, you would be hit by the moving vehicle long before you come to a conclusion.


The emotional brain makes instant choices, which in the car scenario situation will save your life.


Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions and Public Speaking Events


Chris Delaney is also a published author “The 73 Rules of Influencing the Interview – using Psychology, NLP and Hypnotic Persuasion Techniques”

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Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions and Public Speaking Events


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