How to clean up your brain, part 3
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In the first blog post of this series I introduced you to a tool I developed to help you understand the coding in the biological machine you live in, starting with your brain.
I call this tool W.E.B. It stands for Words, Emotions, Behaviors:
- Words are how you understand what your brain is thinking.
- Emotions are how you understand the communication between your brain and body.
- Behavior is how you understand what was communicated to your body.
In this article, we’re going to concentrate on EMOTIONS. To read the blog post explaining WORDS, click here.
We intellectually understand thought through language, or words.
But the body itself doesn’t understand words. It needs a translator that can tell it what the brain is thinking. This is where emotion comes into play.
After neurons “fire off”, or have electrical impulses created and charged through them, a couple of glands in the brain get to work to create a chemical cocktail that can communicate to your nervous system the meaning behind the thought.
The nervous system may not understand the words “I’m scared”, but it sure can feel the chemicals of fear like cortisol and adrenaline.
Emotions are are the chemical translation of the thoughts you think.
As a coach
As a coach, I want to help my clients understand what their emotions are communicating to their nervous system. When emotion communicates to the nervous system, it prompts behavior. (We’ll look at the behavioral aspect of WEB in the next blog post.)
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “emotional intelligence” (here’s an article I wrote about it). When you are intelligent about your emotions it simply means you understand them. You can identify what emotion you are feeling, you can feel where it manifests in your body, you know the actions it causes your body to take. And if you’re really intelligent about it, you know the thoughts, or words they are connected to in your brain.
Intelligence and regulation
I already mentioned emotional intelligence, which is crucial to an educated understanding of the biological machine you inhabit, but there is another tool that comes along with that understanding: emotional regulation.
For most people, emotion just happens. They feel like a victim of their own body, lost at sea in an ocean of emotion. But when you start connecting the dots with WEB, when you recognize what words are connected to what emotions, or what behaviors are triggered by what emotions, you can chart a course in that sea.
Gaining this knowledge also unlocks a magical aspect of being human, you can start to separate yourself intellectually from your emotions. It’s as if you develop a brain outside of your physical brain and body, and in that way you gain some mastery over the machine.
Your brain was made to in the early years absorb tons of information that in the later years it can rely on for survival. If you let it, it will just do everything for you. It will think for you and feel for you and move your body for you. But if your intelligent mind has a quarrel with some aspect of that programming, you must utilize intelligence and regulation to step back into control. Part of that is controlling your behavior.
We’ll look at behavior in the next blog post.
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