Healthy Mind

Escape Your Brain’s Sabotage

brain sabotage healthy living magazine_297167969

The brain has a strong tendency to favor short-term, immediate rewards; you know how hard it can be hard to resist immediate pleasure and satisfaction. Your brain often sabotages all your good intentions. Instead of making the right and healthy decision, you succumb to short-term satisfaction or the easy choice. What can you do to escape this “sabotage?”

I want to share a cognitive technique that will help you to make better decisions in life and for your brain health.

Visualize the ‘greater good’

The goal is to use your imagination to visualize the effects of your decisions. This will give you a higher perspective to guide your decisions.

Think of a situation where you have to make an everyday decision. For example, imagine you have to choose whether to go for a run or to just stay in. Or you have to decide if you’re just going to buy a pizza again, or if you’ll actually cook something.

Vividly imagine the effect your decision has on your body and brain’s long-term conditions. Imagine your brain. Visualize it. Imagine it’s in a pretty good state, it’s pretty happy.  Your brain is waiting to see what you’ll do to it next and how your decision will affect it. Will your decision create a long-term benefit to your brain? Or do you ignore the effect your decision will have?

Let’s take the example of running versus staying in. When you think about going running, imagine how your heart starts pumping the blood more vigorously through your body; imagine your brain lighting up with power as you flood it with new nutrients and stimulate its growth with your pulse-raising exercise; imagine how your brain feels after your workout—boosted, strengthened. Now imagine just staying in instead of running. That’s not really exciting for your brain. It’s more of the same. It’s routine. Your brain almost is falling asleep.

Be as imaginative as possible when making your mental movie. Make your brain come alive in your imagination and let it give you some direct feedback about how you’re treating it and its health. Once you have started forming these mental movies of your brain, you can use them in making decisions. Use them to think about the greater good for your body and brain.

You can use this visualization technique for any decision. Should I supersize that meal or go for regular? Should I work those 10-hour days and cope with the stress or find another less stressful approach to my work?

Use the greater good technique at least five times in the coming 24 hours. Some good areas of use are decisions about your physical fitness, your diet, your work, or your family.

In summary, use the greater good technique to vividly imagine the effect your decision will have on your body, brain, your performance, your health and your overall sense of well-being. Use the power of visualization and a higher perspective to help guide your decisions in life for a better and healthier brain.

In the next session, I’ll teach you what a good, healthy nutritional diet for your brain consists of. Go enjoy the power of visualization for the greater good of
your brain health.

About the author

Kim Baden-Kristensen

Kim founded the Danish brain training company, Brain+, with the vision of creating the most effective and engaging brain training tools from cutting edge neuroscientific insights. Follow Kim on Twitter @KimBadenK or

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