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Your Brain Makes You Uncomfortable

Your Brain Makes You Uncomfortable

Lean into the discomfort! You hear that in society, read it on the internet, there are even books about it. If you are a client of mine I am going to tell you that you need to get used to being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Here’s the thing, it SUCKS!

When we are trying to make changes in our lives our brain kind of freaks out. There are two main reasons.  The first reason is the X and C systems in our brain.  Neuroscientists have divided the brain into two systems, the X-system, this is the auto reaction system of the brain, it is concerned with being energy efficient, strives to be automatic, works from old habits and patterns, and is concerned with status quo.  The other system is the C-system, this system requires more energy, processes things slowly, and it’s main job is to challenge the habits and beliefs of the X-system. So when I say that you brain works against you when you are trying to make changes, it is because there are literally opposing systems.

The second reason is the triune brain analogy. You may have heard this in different ways but here is a simple version. We have three main parts of the brain. The reptilian brain, the most basic part of the brain that controls the functions in life eating, sleeping and sex. The second part is the limbic brain, it controls emotions, memory and habits. Last is the neo-cortex (new brain) this is our “thinking” brain, it controls, cognition, problem-solving and growth. The first two systems are all about doing what is easy and efficient and the neo-cortex is the part that requires more effort, power, and thought.

So when you put the three layers of the brain and the two systems together, change sucks and it is truly physically uncomfortable to your brain! It requires more energy, it isn’t efficient, it requires the challenging of old beliefs and habits. Our brain will cling to the old ways because they are comfortable and require less energy.

Here is the good news, the brain is ever changing, it is forming new connections, continuously restructuring connections, and pruning connections it doesn’t use. This happens thousands of times EVERY DAY. We have incredible potential for change.

So your first assignment in “Leaning In” is to know you can,  it is going to be tough, but your brain is built to do it.

References: Leiberman, M (2007). “Social Cognitive Neuroscience: A Review of Core Processes.” Annual Review of Psychology

Want to learn more about how your brain works? SPHERE Education has coaching, classes and workshops.  Check out, for all the services we offer.

The Tsunami of Grief

The Tsunami of Grief

My dad died 3 years and a couple of days ago. I spent this last week, buried in my work, spending time with friends, reading new research, basically making sure that I had so much shit to do that I didn’t have time to think about the anniversary of his death. It worked, until Sunday!  Sunday I didn’t have a full day of clients. Sunday I packed up the last of my things at my old house. Sunday I worked on getting caught up from a whirlwind week. Sunday I waited for a text from a friend. Sunday I dropped my soda on the way in to the office. Sunday sitting at my desk, I experienced the tsunami of grief.

I was sitting at my desk, working on an email, music playing in the background. There was a tingle in my brain, then warmth spread over my face, then tears stung my eyes. Before I knew what had happened I was sobbing, tears falling on keyboard, the heaviness of loss weighing me down, and I couldn’t breathe. The grief was so overwhelming I needed someone who knew me just to tell me it was ok. I called Shanna, she picked up and before I could even say a word, she said, “what’s wrong”?  I sobbed my story to her and just she listened. She reminded me that I am allowed to have bad days and that my emotions are all valid. She told me the same things I would say to a client who was in the same place. We talked, I cried, and then I took a deep breath.

Grief can be a tsunami, like I experienced today. Sometimes it is a small tickle in the back of your mind. I recently was talking to a client about what I call “scheduling grief” it is taking time to experience your grief, so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. Normally when I start to see signs in my life that I need to grieve a loss in my life, I will take the time to put aside a half hour to “do my grief thing”.  The thing is, this time I didn’t want to, I thought if I just power through the week I could make it. The lesson, we all experience loss and we all need to grieve those losses.  Take the time to let yourself fully feel the emotion, find a way to process the emotion, and finally… Breathe.

Jenn’s Journey – Author of My Own Story

Jenn’s Journey – Author of My Own Story

I have written dozens of blogs, but nobody ever saw them. For a long time I thought that I have to have research and facts. The blogs need to be well thought out, perfectly written, and relevant. If I have learned anything over the past 25 years of coaching, advising, and educating is that the journey is the most important part of life. As a coach, adviser, educator, and mentor, my clients learn from my expertise, my knowledge, and my skills. However, what resonates with them, is my experiences. I love that I can share my experiences of life, change, struggle, and joy with them and they can see their lives reflected in mine. When we struggle we want someone to sit with us and say “me too”.  The way the universe works is as my clients grow, change, struggle, achieve, and move along their journey, so do I. Everyday my journey shows me new opportunities for growth, I find my self in the hole of struggle, or on the summit of joy. Somehow there is always a story that resonates for my clients and they breathe in, breathe out and embrace their own story.

So here we are, the beginning of the next part of my journey, sharing my story, my thoughts, my struggles, my joy, my heartache, and everything in between with you. There is bound to be some facts, figures, and references to research, but more than anything I will share my journey. Take what works, leave what doesn’t, and remember we are the authors of our own stories.

Hang on and enjoy the journey.


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