Are you maximising your HEAD, HEART and GUT brains?
A brain is defined as having large number of neurons and ganglia, inter-neurons which connect to other neurons, support cells, ability to perceive and process information and have memory.
Fantastic research done by Grant Soosalu & Marvin Oka in their book mBraining (www.braining.com) discusses how our understanding of neuroscience is closely linked to many ancient wisdoms, and they have found that in fact our hearts and guts have the capabilities of a brain!
It seems there is more to “deep down in my heart I know..." and “go with your gut” than we might think.
When we are aware of signals from all 3 brains we can then make the most of the wisdom from more than just our head brain. How often do you just ‘feel’ that something is not right with a particular decision? If you were to tune into your heart when you felt this, you would find it is beating faster than usual. Have you ever tried to pay attention to what your heart is trying to say? Or why is it that you feel physically sick in the guts when you are the bearer of bad news?
We know that the mind and body are connected, so too, the gut and heart brains connect to the head brain. They all work together to help guide us via their ongoing individual sensory and motor experience as well as their past experiences.
Soosalu & Oka stipulate that each of our 3 brains have a core role:
Head brain - Creativity
~ ‘Creativity is the greatest expression of liberty’ Bryant H McGill
This relates to the freedom to choose how we react to our world and our need to produce something from our thoughts in order for them to have a life beyond our imagination.
Heart brain - Compassion
~ ‘If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion’ Dalai Lama
The heart is the centre for our values; it cares, connects, gives and forgives both for ourselves and others.
Gut brain - Courage
~ ‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage’ Anais Nin
We need motivation to make our dreams and goals a reality and to live in a way that is true to ourselves. Perseverance to keep going with a task is often experienced as a gut felt 'hunger' to achieve a dream. The gut brain acts as a courageous motivator for action.
We are only able to listen clearly to all 3 brains when we are in a balanced state, neither too hyped up, upset or angry, nor too relaxed or unmotivated. It is only then that the core competencies of each brain are able to be expressed.
Soosalu & Oka suggest this is done through a balanced breathing technique. Simply breathing in for 6 seconds and out for another 6 seconds has been shown to affect the baroreceptors in our carotid arteries of the head and neck and help normalise our heart rates.
There is a great deal of evidence around mindfulness meditation and how it literally changes the brain. There is also an increasing amount of research proving that there is a direct connection between your mind and your health.
When you combine a balanced breathing technique and mindfulness you are able to more easily tune into your 3 brains and align them. This not only helps with clearer decision making based on what is in your heart and helps increase your motivation to achieve what is important to you, it also leads you to better overall health and wellbeing.
By being more attentive to what your head, heart and gut brains are telling you, you will be more capable of seeing where your life may be out of balance and thus a first step is taken to reduce health issues and disease symptoms. You will also be in a better position to make choices that align with what you value, whether it is related to work, relationships or living a more meaningful life.
This is only a basic introduction to the fascinating work of Grant Soosalu & Marvin Oka. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend you head to www.mbraining.com.