top of page

The Reticular Activating System

A short explanation post about the Reticular Activating System (R.A.S.)

My work in N.L.P. frequently comes across this rather specific system and my clients have found it very useful. Many have had real 'Aha!' moments with this and others have, over time, been able to put principles into practice and found it has lasting effects. Amazing! So what is the Reticular Activating System and how does it affect you?

Image via Stock Vector

The reticulated what?

Reticular Activating System. Our brains receive millions of pieces of information at any one given point - what can I see, hear, feel taste or smell. To make sense of the world and not go mad, our brain will filter out certain bits of information.

How does it know what to filter?

Good question - it will focus on what is important and it does that because you decide what is important and what to focus on. For example it might not be important to focus on how your left toe is feeling when you are driving a car, but it is important to focus on the distance you are from the car in front.

Can't say I have thought of that actually and I'm still not sure what relevance it has to me.

Here's another example - if you are pregnant it is amazing how many other people you notice around you who are pregnant. If you buy a new red Honda car it is surprising how many other people are driving the same car. You are more aware of and actively looking for other people who are pregnant or people driving red Hondas. Gathering evidence in effect.

I'm not pregnant and I don't own a car - still irrelevant to me.

Point taken - here are some other ideas of what we might focus on and set our filters up to notice. Some of them are beliefs which we may have landed on and constantly look to have reinforced, others are more to do with a mindset.

People over 60 are invisible

Younger people get things more quickly and are better at 'techy' stuff that older people

I'm not very confident

People are very unfriendly around here

People are so helpful and friendly around here

Bad things come in threes

I'm always late and in a hurry

Crossed knives mean an argument is imminent! (In fact many superstitions)

I can't dance/sing/play music/do any racket sport/apply for a promoted position/deal with difficult conversations...

Today is going to be a brilliant day

What the reticulated thingy affects all of those things above - really?

Yes. You're are in essence setting filters to only notice certain things. (It's the reticular activating system by the way)

Basically then what you are saying is if I chose to believe something is true or notice it then it most likely will be true.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you.

If your R.A.S is getting in the way of things and stopping you having tricky conversations when you need to, only noticing the negative folk in your life or preventing you from adding some joy to your life, and you need help, do get in touch!


t 07501817739

Here is another explanation with pictures

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page