PREVIOUS: What about anger #4
SITE: “Your Brain & What it does”
SEE posts: ‘Emotions & the body‘ (Part 1-3)
OVERVIEW: Considering the relationship of anger to the brain, it helps to have context. All parts of the brain inter-connect with all other parts – each structure & each neuro-chemical has multiple functions, doing different things in different locations.
But greatly simplified, the brain does have Left & Right side differences, & 3 major sections – Old, Middle & New. In reasonably healthy people, & under normal circumstances, rash impulses (Old) & emotions (Middle) are modified & managed by the ability to think things through (New).
Interesting: “The Little History of the Mind-Brain”
1. RATIONAL THOUGHT is formed in the front part of the Neo (cerebral) cortex, the outermost layer of the brain, which integrates higher mental & instinctive functions, general movement & perception.
🔸The Pre-frontal cortex (PFC) makes up the largest part, the 2 lobes above & behind the eyes. It’s the ‘seat’ of personality, & its main job is to provide the ability to process information (internal or external input), so we can decide how to use info located in other sensory & memory centers throughout the brain
• Together, the 2-part PFC is a high-level filter for emotional control, but each hemisphere does it differently. They give us access to the stored accumulated info that tells us how to communicate & interact appropriately in private or public situations.
It helps us take actions based on a specific goal in the moment, & does this in part by preventing irrelevant stimuli from interfering (we can keep reading a book even if there’s lots of noise nearby….).
The PFC is also the location for self-talk.
Interesting: “Listening to yourself – Inner Speech across the lifespan”
✿ The PFC carries out executive functions (higher-level mental processes that organize lower-level ones, to regulate & verify behaviors) TO:
• consider future consequences of current activities
• determine what’s unreal vs real, rational vs. irrational, appropriate or inappropriate… & filter out right from wrong
• figure out conflicting thoughts (same-different / better-best / good-bad)
• have social ‘control’ (suppress urges leading to unacceptable outcomes)
• identify expectations based on actions (possible outcomes)
• make sound judgments & work toward defined goals
• plan responses to complex or difficult problems
• process current environment & past memories (see “Brain anatomy”)
There are 3 main models for how the brain works, & combining them gives the most accurate picture. They are:
Hierarchy: some things must happen before others can work. The brain’s lower levels must be working for the higher ones to run correctly
Value systems: some things are more important than others
Synchronization: what’s happening or not happening, all together at any given moment, has a big impact on the brain
🔸“The Life Model” chart of the brain’s right hemisphere shows the emotional regulation control center** made up of 4 levels (similar to DNA & processor chips)
They keep the activity of the brain running smoothly – as long as emotions don’t get more intense than the system can handle
** CENTER functions, which are needed to be human, include 19 essential & nonverbal skills that can be learned & passed on from one control center to another….. EXP : We like the people with these control center skills & generally avoid people who lack them (MORE…..)
A healthy Center is built on positive & joyful experiences with significant relationships, which results in a great capacity to cope with stress. When someone has had too many bad life experiences, the brain has a much more limited capacity or skills to regulate & cope, & needs help to heal itself.
1. Lowest – controls our personal reality – how we identify (name) our experiences. Also can cut off thinking
2. Subconscious – fight, flee or freeze, controls our basic evaluations – how we understand our experiences
3. Conscious – for self-regulation, regulates motivation for everything we do, synchronizes our life rhythms – from the cingulate cortex
4. Conscious (highest) – gives us our Identity, ‘Who I am’, from the PFC. Also the ability to quiet ourselves – to not ‘lose it’, stay upset for too long, or over-react.
NEXT: Anger & the Brain (Part 2)