An interactive brain is an engaged brain
A healthy brain talks to itself in a balanced way. This means that no part overtakes at the expense of other parts. See it as an orchestra, where every instrument plays its notes when it’s called for, with the right intensity and force, and in tune and attuned to the other players.
The distinct centers in a healthy brain listen and talk with each other very much like the players in the orchestra. The interconnectedness between the brain centers is what is called the neuro-network. And only a balanced neuronetwork will perform a beautiful symphony. A broken neuronetwork will just produce chaos, ADHD, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, confusion, numbness, fear and so on.
In an orchestra we have sections: the strings (violins and cellos) in the front, the percussion in the back wings, and the woodwinds in the center and the brass in the rear. Your brain has sections too:
- The past: recalling memory.
- The present: doing and the senses, pleasure, and feeling.
- The future: thinking (in the way of planning, analyzing, scheduling, sequencing, logic).
There are more parts that don’t fit that easily in one of these categories, because they span across, or are more complex, such as morals, motivation, and creativity. They may start in memory, go to a future thought, and result in a bad feeling, all within a split second.
A well balanced person has a fine tuned brain that is used only when needed, where needed and at the right intensity; not more and not less. The point here is that we don’t want to oversimplify, but I want to give you a better understanding of the terrain by creating a simplistic brain map, similar to the mapped out seating sections in an orchestra. These sections are not the absolute, but are a helpful mean for the conductor to connect with her players.
Let’s face it: the complexity of the brain is mind boggling. So that’s where a brain map comes in very handy. The map can tell you where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. Having said that, the map is not the experience. It’s not the view, the adventure, the meeting, the exchange, or the sense of purpose or destiny that you will feel on your trip.
Tune Your Brain
So what can happen when your brain’s players are not in tune, are not listening or talking the same language on the right volume?
- How can you cook a meal if your memory is disconnected from your sequencing function?
- You will be shunned as a geek, if your rational mind isn’t connected with your empathy.
- You’ll be stuck in hell when your emotions overwhelm your ability to access your analyzing (rationalizing) mind.
- Ruminating about fearful experiences from the past can prevent you from connecting with a vision of how good things can turn out to be.
- Physical pain or emotional self-pity can make one lose sight of the bigger picture of the goodness of life, the wonders of the creation, or the limitless possibilities of the universe.
These are just examples out of millions of possibilities. Why millions? Because the number of ways to get from A to B in our neuronetwork is countless, and the number of dead-end streets, pot holes, ravines, depressions, road blocks, speed limits, cut offs, traffic jams, and stop signs is endless too.
The thinking part talks to the memory part, talks to the doing part, talks to the thinking part.
On a more granular level we can see even smaller brain components such as:
- processing of senses
- problem solving
- feeling your own feelings
- empathy with others’ feelings
- spirituality, as in knowing what your place and destiny is
- pleasure, and more.
All brain functions are interconnected in this beautiful neuronetwork called brain.
That same network can become suffocating when one or more parts are hardly ever playing their role, and others are mostly overacting. Because of the mind’s boggling complexity, it is hard to analyze where all these problems come from. In such overwhelming situation the objectivity of an independent professional psychotherapist, and even the advice of a good friend can be very helpful, because they are not necessarily stuck in the same way as you are, and thus can help clarify the situation you’re in.
Understanding better what is wrong with your mental processes is not automatically a solution or cure, but a very good first step. Problems stemming from two or more disconnected brain sections will not automatically be fixed by seeing the lack of brain interaction. More needs to be done:
- Positive reinforcement
- Experiencing directly how it feels when the disconnected parts harmonize and start playing together.
These breakthrough exercises and experiences are very important, because they show the way. Together we will rewire your brain. But not only that. Through exercise the brain must be taught to use the new circuitry, and naturally reconnect and harmonize the once blocked and unbalanced brain centers. It’s like learning to walk again. That requires training too.
Retraining the brain through repetition, exercise and games is what we do as therapists. We do talk about problems like the traditional Boulder psychotherapists do, but we also use physiological feedback and training techniques to make changes permanent, and to allow your brain to naturally self-regulate.
Continue reading our next Boulder Psychotherapy page to learn what we can do for you. And naturally, if you live in Longmont, Broomfield, Arvada, Westminster, Louisville or Golden, then you’re included too.
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© Interactive Brain Analysis 2013