Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Focus: Post #5--Top and Bottom Brains
Two Brains The bottom brain is the rudimentary ancient brain in our basal ganglia. It’s reflexive, fast, impulsive, and stores habitual activities, like driving or walking. It sends impulses to the top brain. The top brain resides in the neocortex . It’s slower, able to learn, the seat of self-control and regulation, and takes more effort and energy to power up. It often sends controlling signals to calm down the bottom brain. But both work in concert communicating back and forth in a kind of dance of thought and behavior. Key idea—strong focus on one tends to dampen the other. Thus, meditating on our breath can calm down an overactive, anxious top brain. Also, a bottom-up warning can protect us from being blindsided by a threat.