Human beings are social animals. The keyword here is animal. Like animals you have a reptilian part of your brain. When you think of your “instincts” think, reptilian brain. This part of your brain is responsible for your body’s basic functions such as breathing, digestion, circulation, elimination, temperature, and movement.
Other parts of your brain include the limbic brain, which controls long-term memory and emotional learning and your neocortex the “thinking” part of your brain that controls logic, reason, language, creativity and intuition.
The reptilian brain has an attitude of “eat or be eaten”. If you are feeling fear, envy or greed it is likely your reptilian brain is in the driver’s seat. Your reptilian brain is of-course essential to your survival however; left unchecked it creates unnecessary stress and havoc in your life.
Take for example, Mark, a man who is expecting a work promotion. Mark does not receive his promotion. His response is anger, rage, and envy. While some disappointment is natural, a response of anger, rage and envy would indicate his reptilian brain is at play. His perception is about survival. He must fight to get his position to survive.
Whereas, if Mark were responding from the neocortex and limbic regions of his brain, he could take a step back, reflect, and evaluate his situation.
One of the easiest ways to relieve stress in your own life is to get acquainted with your reptilian brain. If you are caught in feelings of survival and competition rest assured your reptilian brain is simply doing it’s job—trying to help you survive. After all, to the reptilian brain it’s survival of the fittest. Unfortunately, living in survival isn’t much fun and creates a lot of unnecessary stress.
You can shift your awareness from your reptilian brain to your higher consciousness in many ways:
- Bring focus to creativity, intuition, and logic.
- Give yourself a reality check (your not really about to “die” if the car in front of you doesn’t speed up in traffic).
- Focus on collaborative solutions.
- Look for news sources that inform you not scare you. Headline writing & media are infamous for targeting the reptilian brain to attract readership.
- Breathe deeply.
- Focus on a feeling of love and gratitude in your heart.
Relieve stress—get out of your reptilian brain!