Did you know that we have ‘two’ brains?
Well, structurally we may have one; but cognitively we have two. You see, there’s the “thinking” brain and the “non-thinking” brain.
Our brains are wired to worry first and think second.
New York University (NYU) brain scientist, Joseph LeDoux, sums it’s up nicely: “connections from the emotional systems to the cognitive (thinking) systems are stronger than connections from the cognitive systems to the emotional systems.”
The system that Dr. LeDoux is talking about is the limbic system, which is a set of structures deep within the breath that evokes the emotional response. The limbic system, which includes the hippocampus and amygdala, is the oldest within the brain.
The thinking part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the newest. This helps explain why, though we’re intelligent creatures, we sometimes make dumb decisions. Maybe we’ll buy something on “sale” out of fear the sale will expire, or we’ll reach for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s though we need to “weigh in” the morning after.
The worrying brain will overrule the thinking brain every time if we don’t know to override it.
And make no mistake, it is essential to know how to overrule the worrying brain.