This is the eight part of our series of 10 steps to upgrade your brain.
8. Use and protect your brain
We are the species that requires the most home assembly; our brains continue to mature right into the twenties. It changes throughout all of our lifetimes.
Emotion powers our lives. It is a background and foreground influence.
Understanding fear, safety and love is critical to understanding people.
In general terms, the brain can be seen in terms of three evolutionary components:
The reptilian brain was the first core to develop and is basic life sustaining, controlling key functions such as respiration, circulation, the endocrine system, reproduction, arousal & homeostasis. Much is reflexive and drive based- fear, rage, eating, and mating which still retains a degree of control over our actions. (Brainstem)
The paleomammalian brain was added on and brought with it learning, memory and emotion. (Limbic system)
The neomammalian brain was a third addition and brought enhanced cognition, enhanced social connection and sense of self and self-awareness. Problem-solving was enhanced and an increased emphasis on social connection enabled us to organize into larger communities, to increasingly plan ahead and to learn more from experience. (Cortex)
Louis Cozolino describes psychotherapy in “It’s a Jungle in There” (Psychotherapy Networker) is like working with an anachronistic menagerie- a human, a horse and a crocodile within the same body.
Our skull shares its space with ancient brain equipment and our functioning requires integrating and coordinating these highly specialized and complex systems. These areas of our brain can vie for dominance and experience conflict with each other without us being conscious of this.
We often react emotionally and instantly with the primitive parts of our brains, not giving our thinking brains time to react. We are also geared to respond more to negative emotions, especially anxiety, which cause us to feel worse if we don’t restructure our thoughts. Negative emotions damages our brains and we need to protect our brains by thinking more positive thoughts with our more evolved cortex and not respond with our primitive brain. By doing this our brains learn patterns that protect them instead of harming them.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy.This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.
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