The brain is roughly organised on three levels. The survival brain, the emotional brain, and the thinking brain are stacked one on top of the other like very clever Leggo, but function beautifully as a whole.
More recent science tells us there also is a “fourth brain” –the body ( Siegal 2012, Van Der Kolk 2015) and a “fifth brain” –the brain of others (Siegal 2012)
For those people interested in more detail , download Brain function 2020. it is of course a simplified explanation as the actual brain is way more complex.
Experience and repetition shape the structure and function of the brain, right down to the level of how genes work inside the brain, and which chemicals are released. This in turn affects the way things function. For example, long-term stress makes our brain easier to stress and harder to calm down.
Luckily, the neuroplastic qualities of the brain mean that we can change patterns and functions which aren’t working for us, and even change some of the structures of the brain originally formed in childhood. Norman Doige is one of the world leaders on neuroplasticity, who we will introduce to you later….