The Three Brains
The Head Brain
The first brain is the most obvious one – the one in your head. You have about 86 billion neurons in your brain. Your head brain (the cephalic brain) deals with cognition, perception, and it’s what allows you to master language and communication. Neurons in the brain help to process and send information where synapses, electrical impulses, and hormones talk to each other. This is what gives you the ability to identify objects, patterns and make sense of the world. This is where creativity and conscious thought take place.
The Gut Brain
You have 100 million neurons in your gut. Your gut helps to regulate hormones, metabolism, blood pressure, and process information as you sleep. The gut brain is in the walls within your digestive system.
For a while, scientists thought that your brain communicates with your gut. They thought that people with anxiety, depression, and stress would develop stomach issues. However, research shows that communication goes both ways. According to one study, the gut sends about 400 more messages to the brain, than the brain to the gut. Research shows that your gut plays a key part in your emotions. For example, almost 95% of your body’s serotonin is actually found in the gut. Serotonin is often referred to as a happy hormone and is known to contribute to feelings of well-being.
The Heart Brain
If you’ve ever listened to your heart in life, you’re probably not surprised that your heart is a brain. Your heart is always sending emotional signals to your brain. As one of your most important organs, the heart has about 40,000 neurons that operate independently from the brain. Think of your heart as your emotional brain. It’s connected to what you value in life and how you feel. Your heart communicates with your head both through electrical signals and chemicals.
Each Brain Can Learn, Change, and Communicate
So, how do your three brains talk to each other? Your heart, head, and gut brain communicate through the vagus nerve. It’s one of the longest nerves in the body. The role of the vagus nerve is to act as a communication center for all your internal organs. The nerve starts at your head and goes all the way down to your abdomen.
What’s interesting is that research shows that a majority of information tends to flow up your vagus nerve. The information flows up to the head brain rather than down. This is how your heart and gut give input to your head brain. Your overall thought process and perception is influenced by all three brains.
Research from the Unitec Institute of Technology further supports this area of science. When you combine the wisdom of your gut, head, and heart, you can use a deeper level of self-awareness to make a better decision.
The body is wise and beautiful. Highly complex intelligence centers can work together seamlessly to create a more powerful mind and body. Activating and listening to all three brains may help you on your journey to deeper insight and creativity. When you activate and observe these important parts of your body, you can balance and optimize your well-being for better mental and physical health.
Article in Sunwarrior