08 Dec Teaching Tuesday – Wanna Know Edition: The 3 Brains
It’s Teaching Tuesday so I thought I would share with you one of the most useful pieces of information I’ve been taught over the years.
The main function of the brain is being responsible for our survival. Everything else takes a back seat. The Triune also called 3 part brain is constantly taking a recording of the entire neural system and categorizing it in terms of risk vs. safety.
Each part of the brain is responsible for different functions in the body. Each of these has a different set of instructions and descriptions about what keeps us well and safe.
The Brain Stem also called the Reptilian Brain, is in charge of your basic life-sustaining functions such as your heart rate, breathing, sleep, hunger, arousal, chemical balance such as blood sugar – anything to do with keeping you alive. It develops first in the womb and is highly responsive to threats.
The Limbic System is in charge of generating emotions, categorization, perception, and maps of relation with the surrounding environment. It uses emotions to promote a sense of safety and well-being. These emotions drive us toward or away from experiences that affect love, safety and belonging.
The Cortex develops last and deals with the logical, human, conscious mind. This is the part of us that justifies our choices and behaviors and makes meaning out of our feelings and experiences. It is in charge empathy, sense of time, planning, inhibition, and filtering irrelevant information.
Remember the Brain Stem does not like change. It thinks it can survive only what it knows and looks to have those same experiences over and over again. Anything new gets coded as unfamiliar. Unfamiliar is risky equals unsafe. So basically anything new equals death.
So why is all this important to understand?
In order for transformation to occur, you have to get the green light in all 3 parts of the brain. That means that the Brain Stem has to say it’s not a threat to survival; the Limbic System has to say it’s not a threat to love or belonging (again love and belonging = safety), and the Cortex has to think it’s worth doing. Only then will you get long-lasting transformation.