Cognitive Restructuring and “The Lizard Brain”


Earlier this week, I read an amazing article by Six Minutes author Andrew Dlugan called “Why You Must Relish Every Opportunity to Speak.”  Dlugan explains that we must change our way of thinking about public speaking.  I teach this concept to my students during my Fear of Public Speaking lecture, and the concept is known as cognitive restructuring.

Before we can restructure our thoughts from negative to positive, it’s helpful to understand why we fell the way we do about public speaking.  Please watch this amazing video based upon Seth Godin’s “Lizard Brain” concept:


So now that we understand that our lizard brains are holding us back from being excited about public speaking, and we understand why, we can move forward to work on cognitive restructuring: changing our negative thoughts into positive ones.  In “How a Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude,” Michael Hyatt explains that even though it is extremely difficult, we can actually change our minds and actions by changing the words we think and say.  Andrew Dlugan expands upon this concept: “We must remember that every opportunity to speak is a privilege to be relished. It’s an opportunity to put our ideas forward. It’s an opportunity to start a dialogue to solve problems. It’s an opportunity to motivate others into action” (Source).

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Cognitive restructuring is a very difficult process of modifying your thoughts from negative and irrational (the lizard brain) to positive and uplifting.  The point of cognitive restructuring is to be aware of your destructive lizard brain and its negative patterns of thought; to challenge that lizard brain; and to substitute lizard brain thoughts for “life-enhancing thoughts and beliefs” (Source).

Instead of living in terror and letting your lizard brain take over, change the words you are saying.  Change the words you are thinking.  Practice the four steps of cognitive restructuring.  Allow yourself to be free from that lizard brain and to enter a world of positive public speaking experiences.


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