Harnessing the Power of Positive Thinking: How Affirmations Influence the Reticular Activating System (RAS)

The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a fascinating network of neurons in the brainstem that plays a crucial role in regulating wakefulness, attention and focus. One of its most interesting functions is filtering the vast amount of sensory information we encounter, helping us to focus on what is important. Did you know that you can harness the power of positive affirmations, thinking and self-talk to influence your RAS? Let’s explore how these positive mental practices can impact your brain and overall well-being.

Selective Attention

The RAS filters sensory information, deciding what is important for us to notice. By engaging in positive affirmations and self-talk, you can train your RAS to focus more on positive stimuli. For instance, if you frequently tell yourself that you are capable and successful, your RAS will be more attuned to noticing opportunities and experiences that reinforce these beliefs.


Positive thinking and self-talk contribute to the brain’s neuroplasticity – the ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections. By consistently engaging in positive mental practices, you strengthen the neural pathways associated with positivity. This makes it easier over time for your brain to default to positive thoughts and feelings.

Emotional Regulation

Positive affirmations and thinking can influence the limbic system which is connected to the RAS and responsible for our emotional responses. Positive self-talk can help regulate emotions, reducing stress and anxiety which in turn can improve focus and attention managed by the RAS.

Goal-Oriented Behaviour

When you set positive goals and repeat affirmations related to these goals, the RAS helps keep these goals in your awareness, increasing your likelihood of noticing relevant opportunities and resources. For example, affirming that you are dedicated to personal growth can make you more likely to spot books, seminars or conversations that support this aim.

Practical Tips to Influence the RAS Positively

1. Use Specific Affirmations: Craft affirmations that are specific and meaningful to you. For example, instead of saying, “I am successful”, say, “I successfully manage my time and achieve my goals”.

2. Repeat Consistently: Regularly repeat your affirmations, ideally daily, to reinforce these positive messages.

3. Visualise Success: Pair affirmations with visualisation techniques. Imagine yourself succeeding and experiencing positive outcomes.

4. Positive Environment: Surround yourself with positive influences, such as supportive people, uplifting music and inspiring content, to reinforce your affirmations and positive thinking.

Example Affirmations

– “I am confident and capable in everything I do”.
– “I attract positive opportunities and experiences”.
– “I handle challenges with grace and resilience”.
– “My mind is focused and I achieve my goals with ease”.

By consistently practicing these techniques, you can effectively influence your RAS to enhance your focus on positive aspects of your life, ultimately supporting better mental and emotional well-being.

Embrace the power of positive affirmations, thinking and self-talk and watch as your RAS helps guide you toward a more fulfilling and optimistic life.