Primal Brain and Prefrontal Cortex

primal brain prefrontal cortex

Useful understandings about how the brain works and what you can apply in order to master the skill of managing your mind.

One of the most relevant bits of info about the brain to know (if you are on a path of self mastery) is the functions of the primal brain and the prefrontal brain.

Primal Brain

The primal brain is our reptilian brain.

It is a very efficient portion of our brain that carries out much of our auto-pilot functions.

It is trainable.

The primal brain is wired to help us survive; it is quick to fear and prefers us to stay in a comfortable (safe) place.

Programming of the Primal Brain
  • Get out of danger. Find safety. Run. Fight. FEAR.
  • Stay away from unknown and unfamiliar. WORRY. DOUBT. FAILURE.
  • Eat food, find warmth, have sex. COMFORT. FEEL GOOD.

The primal brain looks for all the problems and potential dangers and tells us to run to comfort and safety and rewards us with ‘feeling good’.

The primal brain only cares about the immediate moment. It has no concern for the future.

Prefrontal Brain

The prefrontal brain is the part of your brain that is able to plan for the future.

It can consider the long term future and make net positive choices for your future self.

A change in your life starts with the use of the prefrontal brain. You have to decide to make a change, then you need to make a plan, and then make a series of decisions of not acting upon your primal brain’s impulse.

The Conflict:

When the primal brain feeds you thoughts, you feel that it is very important and urgent. The weird part is that often this urge contradicts another part of you (the prefrontal brain) which has a different agenda.

This leads you to feeling out of control.

Part of you wants to achieve some long term goal, and part of you keeps sabotaging your own goal.

Like weight loss, for example. Part of you wants to eat less or eat different foods; but your primal brain says that eating food is urgent NOW. Eating sugar now is urgent.

The primal brain feels like impluses and urges. It often ‘feels like’ life or death. That is because it is a message coming from your primal brain which is wired to produce feelings in you of urgency.

Modern Day Brain

Our brains have not evolved enough in the last one hundred years to know how to manage the over abundance of modern times.

This is where the prefrontal brain, self awareness and the ability to watch your brain’s thoughts becomes crucial.

Learning how to listen to your primal brain’s commentary without acting on it’s behaf is where the magic occurs.

Why Learning How to Use Your Prefrontal Brain Matters

Without utilizing the management capabilities of your prefrontal brain you will spend your life in a state of impulse and reaction driven by your primal brain.

Food, sex, connection, comfort and safety all seem like harmless driving forces until they are overdone.

Over-eating creates overweight, over-sexing creates sabotaged relationships, and over-facebooking creates disconnection from those you are physically near.

Acting upon your primal brains impulses is like letting a two year old make your decisions. Fun in the short term and detrimental in the long run.

Avoiding discomfort and avoiding fear also seem like rational requests from the primal brain.

Until you see that the avoidance of these makes your life really small.

The ability to face failure, even failing, is necessary to accomplish new things in your life.

The ability to feel and allow discomfort is the key to opening up your life and achieving your dreams. This is done intentionally by you choosing to act from your prefrontal brain.

Which part of your brain do you mostly use?

Can you track which part of your brain you used to make your last important decision?

The Primal Brain or the Prefrontal Cortex?

Bonus: When you plan and decide from your prefrontal brain repetitiously, then the primal brain will adopt new auto-pilot functions (ones you intentionally choose).

The Point of Meditation