A few more brains than I ordered…
By Vida Carlino
I am sure you have experienced your gut instincts telling you one thing and your brain another. Or your heart is saying “Yes” and your head is screaming “No” and you find yourself unsure of who to listen to. In times like these your decision-making ability is diminished.
Neuroscience and Our 3 Brains
Neuroscience has uncovered three distinct forms of intelligence each consisting of complex, adaptive and functional neural networks. Most of us are familiar with the intelligence of the head brain but less familiar with what scientists in the fields of Neuro-cardiology and Neuro-gastro-enterology are calling heart and gut brains. Each of these intelligences possess different primal functions.
The head brain recognizes things, makes meaning, creates language, thinks and perceives. Heart brain feels emotion, connection, purpose, love, desire, dreams, and values. Gut-brain holds our core identity. Who am I and who am I not? It is the centre of self-preservation, protection, action, fear, anxiety and intuition. When we experience stress or danger our sympathetic systems quickly kick in, preparing our bodies for fight or flight.
Once the threat has passed the parasympathetic system kicks in to bring us back to a state of balance. Without the parasympathetic system, your body would stay in a fight or flight mode, draining energy, overworking the body functions, and reducing your potential.
Being human means that our three brains do not always align. One or two of our brains can be stronger than the other depending on which neural networks we activate. When we are unaligned, we become confused and display incongruent behaviours, emotional instability and outcomes that sabotage our success. Let us take a look at simple practices to align your different forms of intelligence for better decision making and successful living.
Balanced breathing is a highly effective tool that brings your autonomic nervous system into a balanced state, expands awareness and facilitates understanding of how your three-brain intelligence relate bringing forth clarity and wiser decision making.
We are continuously inhaling and exhaling unconsciously with many of us not realising the power our breath holds. It is no secret that our breath influences our physical, mental and emotional health.
Different breath practices create states that improve our health, increase our energy levels, build resistance, calm our emotions and bring clarity to the mind.
Simple Alignment Practice
- Find a comfortable space free of interruptions.
- Set a timer, don’t think about time during this breathing practice.
- Take a moment to notice how you feel before you start.
- Sit or stand, ensuring you’re comfortable and your spine is straight.
- Bring your attention to your breath; the inhalation and the exhalation.
- Notice your awareness shifting as you relax, giving the body permission to release tension.
- Let your breath flow with ease and without any effort.
- Begin to breathe gently and deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Bring your breath into balance with six counts in and six counts out, or whatever count is natural and comfortable. The important thing is to keep your breathing even.
- When you have completed the practice, notice the changes in your emotional, physical and mental states.