The head brain, heart brain and gut brain you say. What does that have to do with my life?
As a business leader do you find yourself making decisions regular, and some of them not quite being right?
Do you wish there was tool to help you make decisions?
Or one that would help you in times of change?
There is, and it is about working with your three brains in alignment.
What is a Brain?
At school we were taught we have one brain and it is the grey matter in our head. Recent Neuroscience research is forming a new understanding of the brains and that that we have three, or maybe more, ‘brains’. The term is now being used for any element of the body capable of learning! Traditional practices have known this for years, and you may hear it as body, soul, and mind.
What are the three ‘brains’?
🧠 The head
💝 The heart
⏩ The gut
The Role of the Three Brains
Although the head, heart, and gut brains work together, they have different physical functions and they also perform different mental and emotional roles.
- The Head
Prime functions involve mental cognition, logic, intellect, reasoning, making meaning and future plans. It’s where synapses, electrical impulses, and hormones talk to each other, which is what allows for consciousness and awareness. Yet 90% of our behaviours come from our unconscious mind.
The head brain analyses information and applies logic. “I think”, “I reckon”, “I understand”.
- The Heart
The heart is the place of love, desires, goals, emotions, memories, dreams and visions.
It generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. It’s prime functions involve affection, relational issues such as a deep sense of knowing or ethics, connectedness. Competencies such as trust, compassion, appreciation come within this function.
The heart brain senses the world through emotion and feelings. “I feel”, “we connect”
- The Gut
The gut is where we base our instinct and intuition — unselfconscious, immediate, practical and direct. It has more neurones than the spinal cord. It decides on what is required to maintain health. This ‘brain’ is also responsible for processing information during sleep. Our core identity lies here and who we are in the world.
The gut brain is responsible for safety and protection and is extremely important in upholding our immune system. It takes care of self-preservation by teaching us to follow our instinct, it shares our core identity, fear, courage, mobility and action.
We all experience at times “gut feeling” “Gutsy courage” “It takes guts” ”let’s go”.
These ‘brains’ communicate with one another through the vagus nerve. Research shows that the majority of the information flows up from the heart and gut to the head brain, rather than down to the other two brains.
What is actually happening?
Even though the evidence is there, we usually hear about the brain, and put it’s decisions first.
Yet, the way our multiple brains communicate and operate with each other is vital for success and happiness. When we only pay attention to one (the head brain) this causes a disconnect between your brains, and an imbalance occurs. This happens gradually through habits, learned behaviours and environmental reasons meaning our brains are not aligned. In itself, this leads to internal conflict or struggle.
Have you ever experienced any of the following?
😶 Difficulty making decisions or stopping unwanted habits without knowing why
😯 Conflict between your feelings, thoughts and actions
💭 Lack of creativity or fixation on something
🙃 Feeling that something is missing and you’re not fully connected with your deepest inner self
🤐 Times of unexplainable personal inaction or sabotaging your dreams, goals or agreed plans
👿 Experiencing disempowering emotional states such as frustration, depression, anger, anxiety, etc.
These are all signs of the imbalance.
So let me ask you to consider the following:
❔ How would it be to start paying attention to our emotions and feelings about something or someone?
❔ What would it mean to you to pay attention to your heart, to truly, deeply feel the trust?
❔ To act upon that true passion for a person, an idea, the planet, or anything at all?
❔ How would it be to pay attention to our ‘gut instinct’?
Those questions allow you to consider the different brains, yet what we wanting to do is to connect them in a way so that they are all aligned. When you are aligned, you know it is right, you are alert, aware and super present. This is when your autonomic nervous system is fully awake and engaged ready to receive and respond to the situation you found yourself within.
Many of us have become disconnected from our bodies, and no longer listening to the wisdom within. During daily life we make a lot of decisions and these decisions are what determine the direction and quality of our lives. These decisions whether small or huge, steer the course of your life. When we are aligned we make better decisions.
Yet when you feel like you’ve ‘lost heart’, been ‘gutted’, had a powerful gut reaction, or experienced deep intuitive messages from your heart, then you’ll immediately recognise the power of these intelligence and the impacts of our multiple brains. When making whole body decisions we become more aligned, more connected and make the right choices. Through embodying intentions of Compassion, Creativity and Courage we find a fluidity and ease with you, and with others, for a much wiser world.
So how do we achieve balance?
Breath is an easy way to access greater embodiment and techniques such as mindfulness of our body allows us to create greater connection and alignment. It allows us to open the channels of communication, to familiarise ourselves with our bodies and the offerings it shares, for a deeper awareness and connection with ourselves, with others and with the environment.
Begin with ‘balanced breathing’, using a balanced inhale/exhale breathing cycle of inhaling for six seconds and then exhaling for six seconds.
Think about somebody or an animal you really love. Place your hand on your heart and breathe into that area imagining you are with that being right now. Really connect to them, their energy, and their aura or energy field. Resonate with what it is you truly appreciate within them… resonate with what the heart shares with you. Feel into your heart space and connect with their heart space. Now ‘ask’ what your heart brain thinks or feels about a decision we are making or actions we want to take
Now take another deep breath and breathe into your gut area. You can place your hand down in that area of your abdomen. Feel into the area, really connect deeply. Once you are there and you feel connected to your gut ‘ask’ what your gut brain is indicating about these actions, the decision we are making. Tune into any hunches, intuitions or emotions that are present in relation to the current situation.
Then go up to the ‘head’ brain and repeat the same process. Once this process is completed we then ask each brain what actions we can take to reach the outcome we want.
This then produces two main things – what is stopping us reaching the desired outcomes and ideas on how to do so.
This is a very basic explanation of the process. Additional, if you do the balanced breathing regularly for a few minutes at a time, it will help to bring your autonomic nervous system into balance.
One of the coaching methodologies I use is mBraining as described above. Working with the head brain, the heart brain, the gut brain. I love the fact that mBraining originates in ancient practices, and now we are catching up scientifically through the neuroscience evidence. This beautiful approach leads to powerful insights and results, building the resilience essential to embracing rather than fearing change.