Our motivated behaviours are driven by our ‘biological needs’. In descending order of importance, they are 1) Settled Nerves, 2) Nourishment and
3) Nurturing. The greater a particular biological need of ours becomes, the more the motivated behavioural circuits in our Mammalian brains will be upregulated in an effort to fulfil this need. For obvious reasons our behaviours cannot happen without muscle recruitment by the brain. This means our motivated behaviours start in the brain, the motivated brain.
Would you like to tap into the motivated behavioural circuits of your Mammalian brain to help you to always do the right thing at the right time for the right reason?
A motivated brain requires up regulation in the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, etc. It also requires up-regulation of the Midbrain Locomotor Region or MLR for short. The MLR is found in the midbrain at the top end of the brainstem that then activates nuclei in the Reticular Formation in the Medulla. From here the reticular spinal nerves activates the Central Pattern Generators (CPGs) in the spine to effect what is known as locomotion – repetitive motor activities like walking, running, cycling, swimming, paddling, chewing, swallowing, etc. Locomotion is movement that can be executed completely subconsciously.
For example, we use locomotion when we engage in ingestive and reproductive behaviours. Feel good chemicals are released because these 2 motivated behaviours are specifically designed to fulfil biological needs that help ensure the survival of the individual and of the species. The reason why we are able to relegate this type of behaviour completely to one’s Mammalian brain is because the ‘goal’ of the movement is so clear in our minds. Crucially one’s Primate brain must allow one’s Mammalian brain to get on with the task without any mental interference.
One of the major reasons these 2 types of behaviours are so pleasurable is because the motor activities associated with them are completely co-ordinated by your Mammalian brain so your Primate brain can focus on the pleasure derived (from the released feel good chemicals) rather than on the effort required.
The Primate brain is also involved, but it has a highly specific role.
The role of the Primate brain is to choose the right food. A bad choice e.g. rotten food will result in your brainstem executing what is known as a gag reflex before swallowing or a vomit reflex after swallowing. Naturally no feel-good chemicals will be released either because eating rotten food is detrimental to our health.
Similarly, when your Primate brain chooses to engage in dangerous activities like Russian roulette or playing with a poisonous snake, your Mammalian brain will engage your Fight and Flight behavioural setting. No feel-good chemicals will be released either, only feel bad ones.
Unless you consider life-or-death adrenaline rushes to be feel good.
After the fact it may feel good, but generally the adrenaline and cortisol spikes should jolt you rather than make you feel good. This jolt will hopefully snap you back into reality before you do some irreparably damage to yourself.
All too often, though, your Primate brain hijacks your Mammalian brain to engage your Fight and Flight behavioural setting when there is no real danger. Your Mammalian brain will dutifully release all those feel bad chemicals to dissuade you from your present course of action.
In the same vein, any activities that the Primate brain chooses to engage in that will train and strengthen the body to aid future survival should ultimately feel good.
Following this logic, the way to neutralise the feel bad chemicals and the excess nervous energy in your heart after you have “inadvertently” chosen to hijack your Mammalian brain to engage its Fight and Flight behavioural setting is to engage in some rhythmic movement via Mammalian brain activation of the CPGs in your spine.
Rhythmic movement ‘around’ your T7 spine by your Mammalia brain will help to refocus your Primate brain and bring you back to centre.
The key is to have a very clear goal in your Primate brain able to act as a ‘biological need’ for the Mammalian brain to fulfil.
It is easier for an athlete to derive a particular goal that aligns well with sporting performance that would thereby serve to enhance their survival potential and hence become a potent biological need for their Mammalian brain to fulfil. Pursuing the sporting goal, e.g. supreme cardiovascular fitness, then effectively becomes the no 1 priority of the athlete’s Mammalian brain, as it will lead to settling of his Nerves.
Since it is not necessarily healthy for the body to be pushed to the limit for prolonged periods, the athlete would have to push through all the unpleasant sensations to achieve his or her goal. Once the goal is achieved the feel-good chemical release will be massive – the effort expended duly rewarded.
This is a critical point to understand, your Mammalian brain is only concerned with 3 things, survival, food and water and reproduction and you must thus learn to speak its language if you want to tap into the motivated behavioural circuits subsumed in your Mammalian brain.
If your goal is wellness and longevity, then your focus should be to remain in a deep calm state for as much of your day as possible. This will ensure that your Primate brain does not unnecessarily instruct your Mammalian brain to engage its Fight and Flight behavioural setting.
The analogy would be revving your car into the red from one traffic light to the next, rather than pacing yourself and being gentle on your body. All those feel bad chemicals and the excessive nervous energy that is released in the heart during Fight and Flight behaviour only serves to wear your body out prematurely and speed up disease processes. David Hawkins (PhD) in his “Levels of Consciousness” ladder considers ‘peace’ to be highest level of consciousness that humans can aspire to.
Maintaining a state of peace or deep calm should thus be very high on your list of priorities given that it fulfils your most crucial biological need: to settle your Nerves.