Make a conscious decision not to function from your limbic system where food choice is concerned
The more we function from the limbic system, the less help we get from the highly developed prefrontal cortex. And one of the major triggers for powering up the primordial limbic system is -stress! The more stressed you become, the more active the limbic system becomes. And the less help you receive from the prefrontal cortex.
So we are beginning to build a simple picture of two opposite and, in some ways, contradictory elements in the human brain. One drives us towards instant gratification. The other enables us to delay or postpone pleasure and choose actions and behaviours that are more in tune with our long term needs and wellbeing.
This is when you make your life-altering decision to calm down and reduce your stress response. How? It couldn’t be easier! Breathe a little more deeply. Every hour, stop to breathe. Relax your neck and shoulder muscles. Calm down. Turn down the stress response and the PFC will take over, guiding you to better outcomes for every aspect of your life.
We know the systems are linked to each other. We know that as one system becomes dominant, the other system powers down and reduces its capacity to influence our behaviour. And there’s more. Cognitive behaviourists have another favourite term to describe the human ability for self control and it is another potent element of the prefrontal cortex.
It’s referred to as Executive Function. EF provides us with the essential cognitive skills that give us control over our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. And the great news is that we can learn to develop executive function at pretty much any time in our life. Executive Function enables us to look ahead, to imagine and design plans for the future, to calculate the details and help us achieve our goals. What a fabulous asset to have in your brain. One of our intentions is to encourage the EF to play a more dominant role in your life and take over from the limbic system’s short term drive for instant gratification.
Referring to your plans and goals every day, looking for better alternatives to resolves issues, stimulates our priceless Executive Function faculty. More PFC = less Limbic response!
Humans can control their behaviour and the behaviour of their genes.
The Limbic System = Go! The Prefrontal Cortex = Stop!
The Stop – Go parts of the brain can be recruited to help us.
Stress stimulates the LimbicGo!System
Successful Goal Setting = Executive Function.
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