Whenever I am asked to create a gratitude list (which happens more often that one would think), one of the things I always say I am grateful for is my brain.
It is awe inspiring when you consider what our brains can do: retain and process information, make connections and generate emotions, as well as regulate all of our systems to keep us alive.
Even the act of putting my thoughts into words and typing them to share with all of you is amazing (and yes, the recent surge of articles about AI has been both jarring and intriguing for this same reason).
I am also an active dreamer, believing that the themes and images from our subconscious offer insights that we may otherwise overlook. And y’all already know I am a bit of a nerd, constantly seeking new knowledge.
In short, I spend a lot of time in my brain.
Or so I thought.
It turns out that I spend a lot of time in just one of my three brains.
Three brains, ya say?
The brain I tend to rely on is the “Head (cephalic) Brain” which dictates logic and reason. It helps me to prepare, or prepare to be prepared, or think about preparing to be prepared.
Just considering that there could be other equal brains makes my head brain say, “That’s garbage, I’m the O.G. brain.” (Yes, my head brain speaks with quite an attitude.)
But it turns out that I have been ignoring my other two brains: the “Heart (cardiac) Brain” and the “Gut (enteric) Brain.” (I’m not making this up!)
The heart brain is the conveyer of emotional information, which for some folks may be the most powerful and the one they trust the most. I genuinely admire people who have the ability to tap fully into their heart and listen to its wisdom!
Our intuition comes from our gut brain. People who are connected with this brain act from a place of instinct—they can just feel when something is right or wrong, and are willing to trust that response.
I’ve been known to override my gut reaction, and often look back with remorse.
In the neuroscience world, using all of these in concert is called multiple brain integration: bringing them all together and using them as equal sources of information leads us to have a healthier body, make more informed decisions, and be in alignment.
Integration at this level helps us function from a place of wholeness, so perhaps the old expression is due for an update.
It turns out three brains are better than one.
Hello fellow overthinkers! Are you receiving information from your enteric brain that you’re ignoring? Here’s one quick activity you can do to start to tap into your gut brain. It’s sometimes called the “Snap Judgment” test:
- Write a yes or no question on a piece of paper
- Below the question write the words “Yes” and “No”
- Leave a pencil or pen on the paper and walk away
- After a few hours, come back to the paper and immediately circle your answer
Some people posit that this kind of response is more likely to come from your gut. Even (or especially!) if it isn’t the one your head brain is trying to convince you is the right one.
Try it—and let me know how it goes!
blast from the past
“I find it comforting that often the problem is not the thoughts themselves but in our unquestioning acceptance of all of them as all true.” —Slice of Sunshine, November 11, 2021
Receive the “Slice of Sunshine” in your inbox by subscribing to the Department of Practical Sunshine newsletter.