A key step to get things moving

One of the key sources of red brain triggering is the appearance of unasked-for thoughts in the mind.  These can be simple distractions when we are trying to stay in flow and work highly productively, requiring us to re-enter the flow state with a subsequent loss of pace.  At their worst, random thoughts, can trigger a cascade of memories, an up-welling of emotion and the red brain triggers.

An effective solution to these random thoughts is using meditation.

The most basic form is known as focused-attention meditation. The idea is to focus on something – an object or, often, your breathing – and, when you notice that you have been distracted by a thought, to gently let the thought go and return your focus to the object or your breath. Over time, this practice increases our ability to focus, so we become less distracted by thoughts that might trigger the red brain.

In principle, meditation is relatively simple and can be done anywhere, more-or-less, by anyone. No equipment or special clothing is needed. The meditator begins by taking up a comfortable physical posture, neither too tense nor too relaxed. This can be sitting in a chair or lying on a bed.


Meditation enables maladaptive memories to arise without us putting them into action. We allow these thoughts to arise (a sudden anxiety about something we have not done, or a pang of guilt about the way we spoke to our partner, for example) and, when we notice that we have become distracted, then, without beating ourselves up in any way, we bring our focus back to our breath or the object we are using to hold our attention.

This process is effective in reducing the number of random memories (and associated negative feelings – anxiety or guilt, for example) that appear unprompted in our minds.

John Corrigan