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Is Your Tone Hindering Your Progress?

As a brain retraining coach, one thing that I’ve never been asked by a client in a coaching session is how to slow down progress and make the healing journey last longer! Of course not! The chronic symptoms that accompany a limbic system impairment are usually uncomfortable and it’s only natural to want to speed up the process of healing!

While every brain (and therefore every healing journey) is unique and there is no “normal” timeline for how long it takes to rewire your brain, there are several behaviors patterns that can hinder and slow down progress.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to cover the most common ones that I see in my coaching practice.

Before I dive into the first one, a word of wisdom and comfort to kick us off! If thinking about the possibility of behaviors that are slowing down progress increases your anxiety level, please know that this is not meant to incite fear! You do not have to do everything perfectly in order to heal! Rather, being aware of these patterns empowers you with knowledge and awareness and that is the beginning of transformation!

Also, looking at these patterns is not just for the purpose of speeding up the rewiring process. Actually, most of these patterns are coping behaviors that no longer serve you in the new life that you are creating! You have the opportunity to unwire these patterns that hold you back from experiencing abundant joy, awe, peace, and love! Where you are headed you do not need them. In fact, it’s required that you let them go in order to make room for the new!

Okay, let’s dive in, shall we? One common pattern that hinders progress that I see relates to the tone and attitude that one uses when relating to the limbic system. Because “Limbie” speaks the language of sensation and emotion (not logic and language), it’s important to communicate to her/him through loving, kind emotions and tones.

For example, when you experience an activated limbic system and you respond to that with frustration and anger (that may sound like, “UGHHHHH why are you overreacting Limbie!!!), that communicates to your limbic system that there is a threat and that it was right to activate the stress response. That will strengthen the old pathway which is the opposite of what you are working to accomplish in brain retraining.

Of course, it's 100% natural and normal to feel frustration when you sense that your limbic system is overreacting! But a more helpful approach is to name the emotion (which can sound like, “I’m feeling really frustrated right now,”) and then redirect your mind to another, more hopeful aspect of the truth (which could sound like, “But I know that you are just trying to keep me safe Limbie. Thanks for wanting to protect me but there’s no danger right now.”).

Feeding back calm, compassion, kindness, peace, etc to your limbic system will help calm the stress response and weaken the old, unhealthy pathways. Can you work on seeing the limbic system not as an enemy that is causing your discomfort, but as a confused little boy/girl in need of comfort and reassurance?

One final example that I find helpful… Imagine your limbic system as a young child that is afraid that there are monsters under the bed and in the closet. If you, as an adult, go into her room and say, “UGHH Limbie, there AREN’T monsters! I’m SO frustrated that you keep being afraid of imaginary monsters! Stop it!” Do you think that will be helpful in comforting that child? Definitely not. They will most likely still be afraid and unable to sleep. However, if you went in there and gave her/him a big hug and said, “It’s okay. I’m here.” And then you turned on the lights and showed them the truth (there are no monsters in the closet/under the bed and nothing to be afraid of ) and then scratched her back and comforted her as she fell back to sleep. That’s a totally different approach that will result in a totally different outcome.

The same is true with your limbic system. If you respond to her with compassion, kind truth, and comfort, she will calm down and get the memo that there is no danger. If you respond to her with frustration, fear, or anger, you will reinforce and strengthen the pathways that are creating your chronic symptoms. Your tone and attitude have a profound effect on whether you are reinforcing old pathways of disease or creating new ones of health and safety!

I suggest tuning into your tone and attitude towards your limbic system. Step into the curious observer role and see how you might adjust your tone and attitude towards Limbie to communicate safety.

I hope this is helpful to your rewiring journey and I’d love to hear if this is something that resonates with you!

Until next time,



Katie is a brain retraining coach who helps men and women access their innate healing wisdom to rewire their brains and thrive in life. Her approach focuses on embodiment, practical wisdom, and intuitive insights. For more information, find her on IG at @katienickersonhealth. She can also be reached at Or sign up for a free consult here!

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Jay Thygesen
Jay Thygesen
Dec 26, 2021

Thanks for the reminder Katie. I’m now recalibrating my behavior to follow your advice.


I’m curious here. Does working with the limbic system equate with the “inner child”work that was prominent in the 80’s and 90’s? I know some practioners still do inner child work or internal family systems work, but I’ve not quite looked at it through the lens of the limbic system.

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