Emotions can be disorienting, detrimental, and downright challenging. One moment our life can be peaceful and easy; the next, chaos! As we all have experienced, in the blink of an eye, everything can change.
Whether it be pandemics, political unrest, challenging transitions, the passing of loved ones, or a stuck emotional pattern, our nervous system is taxed with the responsibility of helping us process what is happening in our life. If we are clear and connected, emotions can become a guiding compass for us understanding ourselves on a deeper level and thriving regardless of the circumstances around us.
We love seeing many of the people in our chiropractic practice, as their nervous system becomes healthier, find clarity through all sorts of life’s crazy challenges. Processing and learning from our emotions is a journey. As you continue to make decisions with your Ideal 100 Year Lifestyle in mind, it may be beneficial to consider the possibility that your emotions hold more value than you think, and the individual parts of your emotional brain are interconnected!
The Limbic System
Our emotional brain is essential for our body’s ability to process. It is called the “limbic system.” It is a complex compilation of different nerve groupings. Each with a specialized function. Here is a quick guide to understanding the key aspects of your brain’s limbic system:
Amygdala: This tiny almond-shaped structure is known for helping the nervous system evaluate potential threats. It can trigger the “fight or flight” response. And is also responsible for conditional learning (based on reward or punishment).
Hippocampus: Memory formation and storage.
Thalamus: This is the “Amazon Prime” of the brain. The thalamus delivers messages coming up from the body to the appropriate processing centers. It plays an essential role in connecting the rest of the limbic system to other aspects of the nervous system.
Hypothalamus: This is the key regulatory center. The hypothalamus is constantly taking in physiologic messages. Such as breathing rate and metabolism. This is the part of your brain that triggers you into “hangry mode” when your blood sugar levels have dropped.
Cingulate Gyrus: Associates sights and smells with pleasant memories of previous emotions. It also plays a role in processing our conscious emotional experience.
Basal Ganglia: Think of this as the “dimmer switch” for the brain’s motor output. It’s capable of inhibiting certain behaviors such as talking out of turn.
All of these parts of the limbic system play a crucial role in directing our nervous system. We want to respond with the appropriate “fight or flight” response should a big grizzly bear appear during a hike. Sometimes, it is necessary to use this adrenaline-boosting response. But not always. How often is our body stuck in this type of stress pattern when there is no emergency?
When there is interference to the nervous system, its ability to respond appropriately is distorted. With this distorted signaling, our emotional response may become unregulated and downright dramatic. We may become overly aggressive or act out in a way we later regret. Maybe, we find ourselves in a recurrent emotional loop. And we replay the same pattern again and again.
A Clear Nervous System
When our nervous system is clear and connected, it is much easier to step outside of the recurrent loop. With healthy decisions such as receiving chiropractic lifestyle care, our brain and body have a leg up in processing emotions. When the nervous system is balanced out, the brain and body can work together. They provide clarity and depth to the wisdom our emotions hold. Once we make healthy decisions and take responsibility for our emotions, we truly learn from them.
Perhaps most importantly, we need community. Reach out to family, friends, and other supportive roles in your life. By reaching out you are taking the first step towards forming a more healthy relationship with your emotions. This scary first step is also known as vulnerability. This first step is an act of bravery that goes a long way and can lead us to brilliant discoveries and experiences. When we make vulnerability a regular occurrence in our life, emotions become healthy opportunities to learn about ourselves and move through life challenges.
Create communities that support and encourage you as you live your 100 Year Lifestyle!