Your brain is constantly in motion. Even when you’re sleeping, it’s firing neurons and there are lots of things going on up there. This makes it want to be a super efficient organ and it rewards you for helping out its efficiency.

Because it handles so much throughout the day, it likes being able to go to default mode or be in a mode that is familiar. That’s what it encourages you to do – find efficiencies that it can do over and over again with minimal energy or thought.

This, in most cases, is really great for you. You don’t want to have to think super deliberately about how to put one foot in front of the other every single time you take a step or have to focus on exactly how to raise a fork to your mouth so you can eat. Creating these efficient pathways frees up thought space to spend energy on more important things.

But there’s a shadow side to this too. Sometimes that efficient pathway stops serving you.

An example of a really detrimental pathway is coming home to have a glass of wine to destress from the day. If we don’t keep that pathway in check and make sure your brain is asking for permission each time, that one glass of wine could lead down the path of some serious drinking. Your brain has associated de-stressing with a glass of wine and it wants to de-stress quickly and efficiently, so it has a desire to increase that association.

Of course, this is an extreme example that has other layers to it, but it shows up in minor ways as well.

Do you get up, put the kids on the bus, rush out the door to work, get the kids to and from after school activities, rush through dinner, get them in bed, collapse on the couch before going to bed yourself? Then you get up the next day and repeat.

This is efficient for your brain. It’s predictable. It wants you to stay on this path because it knows what to expect. It knows how to handle this – even if it’s stressful.

But the question is, how is this serving you? What would your days look like if you took control back from your brain? Would you choose to create these same pathways? What is your brain doing without your permission?

Content provided by Women Belong member Bri Salsman