How to transition from your stressed-out “lizard” brain to your prefrontal cortex
Every single one of us has been a recipient of the trauma someone else imposed on us — every single one, whether you realize it or not.
Often, clients come to me with so much grief and negative energy affecting their every move, every thought, every decision about life. They want to feel happy, but they actually feel quite sad. They want to feel motivated but they instead feel fatigued beyond belief and don’t think their efforts will amount to much. They want to like themselves but they can’t stop the self-deprecating tape playing in their mind: “you aren’t good enough”, “you’ll never be pretty enough”, “you’re dirty”, “you’re not smart enough”, “you need to atone for the sin that is you”, “things will never work out in your favor”. Or they feel they are going at life alone because no one is on the same page as them.
They don’t understand why they are feeling this way because they’ve had a “good” life, or they have a “good” spouse, or they are doing their best to change their diet for the better.
Here’s the thing: it’s not your fault.
We are players in a bigger system that we have not had control over until this moment in time. Our current reality is the sum total of what has happened to others before us and how the cycle has repeated to this day. Last October was a huge “breaking of the dam” watershed moment in time and we are being given the option to stop the secrets and the culture of silent pain. It is an unraveling and undoing of the way things have always been done and it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to confront the problems so they no longer make your body and spirit sick.
Unhealthy cycles are not broken until someone consciously chooses to break them. Until someone says something about the problems, or until someone does something radically different from what was done to them, the toxic cycle will continue.
Breaking unhealthy cycles is one of the hardest things you will ever do because other people may actively work to prevent the change since it feels too scary to them. Pain is all they have known and it is familiar; unacknowledged pain allows them to maintain power or control; it allows them to keep pretending the choices they made were okay; it keeps them from the pain of regret or guilt. It prevents you from being able to rise into the shining being you really are. And it makes you consistently strengthen activity in certain regions of the brain that make this cycle worse over time.
Here’s what you need to know for your health: because of trauma you are operating out of your “lizard” brain or Amygdala. The Amygdalae which are so primitive, they’re often called the “lizard” remnants of the brain, are two almond-shaped sections of nervous tissue located in the temporal lobe. Amygdalae are part of the limbic system which is responsible for emotions, survival, instincts, mood, sexuality, addictions, and memory. It’s function has been linked to neuropsychiatric disorders that involve anxiety and fears.
You will have dominant Amygdala function whether your trauma has been acknowledged thus far, or whether it still remains in the subconscious corners of your mind. The Amygdala is the fight-or-flight, reactivity, fear center of the brain. It remembers most every misdeed others have done to us so that we can constantly be on the defense in order to protect ourselves. It is a coping mechanism and survival tactic that, while once essential, has overstayed it’s welcome. In large part, we’re not hunter-gatherers needing to protect ourselves from apex predators or starvation. It’s making us sick from the stress.
Sounds a bit like adrenal fatigue or hypothyroidism, right?: frazzled, stressed, broken, in states of heightened awareness, in the red, on the defense constantly because we need to protect ourselves from perceived threats. If you are operating out of the Amygdala as a fear center every day, imagine the repercussions for your hormonal health – constantly in a state of flux, constantly swinging from high to low, or just getting so burnt out that your T4, T3, TSH, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone and completely out of whack. Imagine the repercussions for your immune health – chronically infected with yeast, bacteria, parasites, or your body may be engaged in an autoimmune response where it is attacking anything and everything that is a non-existent threat (food proteins, your own tissues, etc).
There is a solution.
The solution is learning to tap into a vastly different area of your brain that, instead of relying on old bad memories to create our future reality, it relies on problem-solving, solution-seeking, future-oriented goal setting, and personal behavioral modification. It’s called the prefrontal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is located in the frontal lobe — right where the sixth chakra or intuitive “third eye” is located — at the front of the forehead. There is a scientific link between your will to live, personality, and the functions of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, processing, updating, redirecting, and moderating social behavior. Activity in this brain region is in large part a collection of thoughts and actions in accordance with your internal goals. It also helps one differentiate between various thoughts in order to come to reasonable conclusions that will benefit you in the future and are not based in reactivity and fear. In other words, it helps us plan and seek future, positive experiences instead of constantly reacting to old problems.
Here’s how to tap into your prefrontal cortex:
- identify your subconscious triggers (I do this for clients in Energy Reading sessions)
- work through your problems/sin/karma (what you choose to call it doesn’t matter)
- learn cause and effect – how your actions affect others and how others actions affect you
- enact the laws of cause and effect in your life
- stop the negative cycles you have inherited from others
- map out and visualize the future that you want for yourself
- find solutions to get the future health and self you desire, then pursue them hardcore until you get the results you want
- strengthen your own energy through prayer, positive affirmations, meditation, Energy Readings, reiki, acupuncture, yoga or gentle forms of exercise, close friendships with people who know how to reciprocate, doing hobbies you enjoy, etc.
- figure out which diet you should be eating for your unique gene mutations and health problems
- get rid of toxic people or energy vampires in your life (relationships that drain you or in which there are strings attached for purposes of power, control, and manipulation)
- learn about or discover your true personality, apart from what others expect or demand of you
- stand your ground and do not be moved – remember that no one deserves to elicit your stress response
Remember, we are not lizards. We are mammals with a spiritual lineage and the fear center that was once essential for survival is overreacting to your detriment. It doesn’t jive with our modern world. While there may be legitimate threats to your well-being (car accidents, money troubles, relationship problems), you are more than a reptilian stalking prey or finding ways to prevent becoming the prey. You are more than that. You have to remember this essential part of your soul in order to stop the cyclical fear patterns that are making you stressed and sick. You can transition to a new thought process, it is possible. When you do, watch how your health and life improve dramatically for the better.