Why Can’t I Get Motivated?

I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked the question, “What part of the brain can we tap into for more motivation? Is there a spot that we can focus on?”

That is a hard question to answer, because motivation comes from within; within the mind, body, and spirit. Research shows that both motivation and attention are controlled by the prefrontal cortex, which can be thought of as the “executive center” of the brain.

The prefrontal cortex, which continues to mature into early adulthood, controls functions such as planning, decision making and the ability to delay gratification.

There is a whole chapter on ‘Attention and Motivation’ in The Dana Guide to Brain Health, a great resource for anyone looking for more information, that explains the prefrontal lobe are its role in formulating complex goals and intentions. The authors note that “this means that the human brain is capable of creating models of the world not only as it is, but as we want it to be. The human brain is able to create models of the future. This is called intentionality. But merely creating a model of the future is not enough. We must have the ability to strive to change the world as it is into the world we want it to become. This ability is called motivation. Without motivation, no life challenge of any degree of complexity can successfully be met.”

We use the frontal lobes to set our short and long term goals, as well as to prioritize and keep our attention from being distracted from our goals. There is more to motivation that just setting a goal, as everyone is not goal oriented. Different people get motivated in different ways. For some people, motivation must come through positive reinforcement, such as:

  • Killing them with kindness; showering them with support. A positive brain approach.
  • Treating them with trust and respect.
  • Creating challenges.  Getting them excited!
  • Incentives and rewards.
  • Inspiring them – make them believe in themselves.

Inspiration – stimulating our mind and emotions to a high level of feeling and activity. Many of us can be inspired by the words of great leaders. One that rings especially true for me comes from Gandhi, who said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” We may get inspiration from a speech we hear, a story we read, or a simple act of kindness that we see during our daily lives. Poetry moves us in different ways. Music is a powerful vehicle for motivation; just ask anyone who feels the beat of their favorite song fueling them to run that extra lap, or work just a little bit harder the next time they exercise.

For me, motivation occurs on all levels, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually. I want to share this video with you that provided the inspiration for this blog. Just watch it. Texas County Reporter: Blind Quilter It will touch you in a way you didn’t expect.

Go explore your local library, the internet, or even ask your friends and family for sources of inspiration. Find something that rings true for you personally, and use that as your own personal call to arms, as your mantra to spur you forward towards healthy behaviors. However, if you still find yourself saying “none of that works for me, no matter how hard I try” and you feel out of control, you should stop blaming yourself and start wondering. Ask yourself, could there be a medical reason? Is your brain out of balance and not working the way it needs to? Are you depressed?  These are questions that require investigation. If you think you were born that way and can’t change it, you are wrong. You can. Seek the help of a neurologist or neuropsychologist who can provide you with the tools and treatment to help you heal yourself.

You can create positive change in your life!

Cognitive Behavior Disorders Center spreads awareness to both professional athletes and everyday people on the role biofeedback and neurofeedback can play in their lives.

We were proud to participate in the 2012 Ticketstock show this past weekend.  It was great fun hanging out with all the professional athletes, getting pictures taken with old and new stars, and getting the chance to meet some genuinely interesting people from all walks of life.  The best part is that these folks aren’t looking for the magic pill, or a silver bullet to improve their performance in life. In short, they’re our kind of people.

Ticketstock 2012

Our goal in attending the show was to create awareness of biofeedback and neurofeedback, and the far-reaching impacts they can have on your life.  You may be asking what a star athlete and child have in common. Neurofeedback and biofeedback give them the tools and ability to improve their mental and physical performance.  Research shows a high level of Biofeedback’s clinical efficacy for all kinds of neurological problems that range from ADHD, anxiety, to adult headaches, chronic pain, and addiction.

At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, it was shown how biofeedback and neurofeedback can improve the management of the body’s stress response. Various athletes were trained to self regulate their physiological states by slowing their breath and synchronizing their heart rate, putting the body in a state of recovery.  They were trained to take their brain from a calm state to a focused state, and vice versa.  These are tools that can be used in the highest levels of competition, or in everyday life.

In many ways, everyday life can be a state of competition for many of us.  We can’t seem to get our “busy brain” to calm down when we need it to.  Or, we can’t seem to come out of the fog that surrounds us every day, which stops us from doing what we need and want to do, whether it be with our families, school, or on the job.  If your brain is over activated, under activated, or both, it is neurologically imbalanced.  To put it simply, the brain can’t do its job.

“Why me?”, you might ask yourself, laying awake at night. “Why do I have to work 3 times harder than my friends, but I still can’t seem to get ahead”? Sound familiar? If you had a head injury you may have changed the wiring in the brain.  If you have a family history of the problems you are experiencing, it could be genetics.  Your brain waves can be as much a result of genetics as your height or hair color.

The good news is that you can change your psychophysiological state of being.  You can teach both the brain and autonomic nervous system (lungs and heart) to self regulate.  You can create your own balanced state.  Even better, it can happen over a few months of hard work.  We encourage each patient to do some inward reflection.  Pay attention to your breath, and rank your anxiety on a piece of paper on a scale of one to ten.  Then slow it down to 4 – 7 breathes a minute, concentrating on your breath. Then rank your anxiety level, and see how much calmer you feel.  This is just a quick example of the powerful tie between mind and body, between psychological and physiological states.  Try to find a few minutes each day to get the brain in a relaxed alert state using this exercise.  If you would like to take a step further, try www.lumosity.com for a week (for free!), and see what you can do to improve your focus or your memory.  Begin to take some simple states to improve your performance in your everyday life!

Visit our website www.cognitivebehaviordisorderscenter.com and learn more about what you can do to take control of your life, hone your mind and body, and be the best you can be.

That is our wish for all of you.

In the words of St. Augustine, “The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance.”