Your Three Minds & How to Clear Them.

Lately I’ve been on a pretty big neurology kick.  Your nervous system is so fascinating!

Here’s a cool quote that I think really encompasses our discussion today:

When viewed mechanically, the human body appears fragile.

When viewed neurologically, the human body is complex, INCREDIBLE, and brilliant beyond measure

-Shante Cofield (IG: themovementmaestro)

Today we’ll look at the brain and the three different ways you interact with your environment:

  1. Analytical Mind
  2. Limbic Mind
  3. Primal Mind

It’s pretty cool stuff because understanding these three can help you ascend a bit higher in your meditation, when it comes to observing your own mind.  It also plays a role into physical anatomy because these three can directly influence how much strength your brain allots you and how you perceive pain.

Let’s dive right into your mind,

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I just hope it’s not shallow 😉


The Analytical Mind

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Let’s start with the surface, or the most superficial part of your mind, your “thinking brain.” This is the part of the mind where we tend to dwell the most.  It’s in charge of critical thinking, analyzing, speech, visual stimuli, etc.

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It tends to be where we exist most, because the world we live in is a constant barrage of stimuli and distractions.  All the lights, notifications, ads, etc feed the distractions of the Analytical Mind.  We’re constantly drawn to thinking about what to do next, random thoughts, tangents, and ideas.

This mind represents the future, and is rarely grounded in the present moment.

Most meditations, yoga, breathing, etc are geared towards removing you from this surface mind and into the deeper reaches.

In meditation one can use this info to observe the Analytical mind.  When observing your thoughts if you are drawn to the past/future, to do lists, distractions, etc this can indicate that your mind is in an Analytical state.  Keep breathing away these distractions and you’ll eventually reach the next layer.

It’s simple: Empty Your Mind

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The Limbic Mind

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Welcome to the hub of your emotions, the Limbic Mind.  This is where things start to get complicated, because as I’m sure you are aware: emotions are friggen complicated.

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As you can see from the above The Limbic Mind is in control of:

  • Memory
  • Emotions
  • Gratification – pleasure/reward
  • Aversion – Fear/sadness

There’s a lot to your Limbic System.  It’s really important because the combination of memory and emotion can seriously work against you.  If you have a lot going on emotionally, or have had some emotional trauma, that stuff doesn’t necessarily go away and can sit here under the surface of your mind and seriously impede your overall strength.

If your brain perceives a threat, or feels like it is not safe, it will decrease your Range of Motion by locking up your joints and tightening your muscles & fascia, plus it will take away your strength all just to keep you from getting hurt.  

If you have been hurt in the past, whether physically or emotionally, your brain remembers that and stores it as a perceived threat/vulnerability.  Unless you’ve been able to get past your trauma, or reprogrammed to move through a pain free Range of Motion that memory of pain is probably still there hindering your ROM and impeding your true strength.

Kinda gives a new more rational reason behind “Releasing the issues in your tissues” right?

This part of your mind tends to exist in the past.  Through meditation you can observe the thoughts influenced by this mind by drawing your awareness to thoughts that appear emotional, memories, judgement, etc.

Here’s a simple way to feel how your emotions have a power over you:  

  1. Do like 3 pushups or any other exercise.
  2. Now think about someone you hate, don’t trust, despise, etc.  Do 3 more pushups (or whatever you chose in the first step)
    1. Was that harder or easier than the 1st round?
  3. Now think about someone you adore, respect, and is a positive influence maybe even a hero to you.  Do 3 more pushups.
    1. Was that harder or easier than the beginning?
    2. Was that harder or easier than the bad person?
  4. If that was done right, you might have felt the pushups/exercise become harder when you thought about someone you hate.  You may have felt the pushups become much easier when you thought about someone you respected.

Emotions are pretty powerful huh?

How to clear your Limbic Mind:

This is just as complicated as the system itself, because once again: Emotions are friggen complicated.

  • One thing that you can do is rub your sternum.  I’m dead serious haha, rub your breast bone because it’s an “emotional collapse point.”
    • Think about it, when you are tired/stressed/emotional you round forward into a protective state.  The center of this rounding is your sternum, you collapse into it like it’s a black hole.
    • Rub your fingertips a few times across your sternum and you’ll start to physically encourage yourself to open up.  I guarantee you’ll find some super tender spots along your sternum as well.
  • In my experience, a lot of emotions can be cleared up through focusing on simple movement.  Being able to not think, just do something can help clear away the Analytical Mind and clear out some of the clutter in the Limbic mind.
    • One of the motions I give my patients to help de-stress is walk in a Figure 8.  Place two objects on the ground and walk in a Figure 8 around these two objects for 5 mins.  Focus on the meditation of the movement and whatever is on your mind will completely dissolve.
      • This is called an Infinite Walk, check out the more intricate details on that link because it’s a seemingly simple movement with HUGE benefits for your brain.
  • Since mental therapy is a bit out of my Chiropractic scope I will add this disclaimer: if you experienced some serious trauma and are still being affected by it, do yourself a favor and get checked by a professional Psychiatrist or Mental Therapist.  I love studying Psychology, but I’m not that kind of Doctor.

That’s all for emotions,

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Pick yourself up and let’s get into the final section.

Fun fact: The olfactory bulb (how you process smells) is connected to your Limbic system.  This is why certain smells can trigger emotions & memories.


The Primal Mind

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Welcome to the final stop, the Brainstem, or Primal Mind.  This part of your Mind is entirely geared toward one goal: Survival

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As you can see your Brainstem, or Primal Mind, keeps you alive and controls the functions of your body you don’t have to worry about (such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, etc).  There is one function you can control, more on that a little later.

The main purpose of your Primal Mind comes from what we call the 3 F’s:

  • Fighting
  • Food
  • Ducking [oops that must have auto-corrected from something else ;)]

The purpose of your Brainstem is to keep you alive long enough for you to reproduce, and thus fulfill your biologic purpose: the continuation of your DNA.

As put by one of my favorite people Dr. Nickelston:

Your Primal Mind is constantly asking these questions:

  • Can I eat this?
  • Is this going to kill me?
  • Can I have sex with this?

The Primal Mind is rooted in the present moment.  It’s the target destination of meditation and mindfulness.  Becoming present and engaging in movement, or becoming aware of other sensations like touch, smell, taste, sound, etc. can be very profound for your body and mind.

Getting Primal & Therefore Present:

  • Breath is one of the only things you can consciously control in relation to your brainstem.  Ordinarily your brainstem controls your breathe without you requiring to be aware of it.
    • Become aware of it! Inhale in to the count of 4, Hold your inhale to the count of 4, exhale for 4, and hold your exhale for 4.  Rinse & repeat and after a few of these cycles you’ll notice a very profound change.
    • The Analytical & Limbic melt away and suddenly you are present in your current space, all through the vehicle of the breath.
  • Movement, especially ground based movement like rolling around, is very primal.
    • Don’t think about it, just do it: Take some time to sit down on the ground, roll around, get up and down a few times, etc.  These movements are super functional and are actually how you as a little baby learned to interact with your environment and move your body.  Those primal (or baby) pathways still exist in your nervous system.
      • Here’s a video with an explanation.
      • Here’s an article with more depth on Primal rolling
      • Here’s some dope science showing how Primal rolling improves motor control and coordination in athletes.

Recap & Finale

I hope you were able to wrap your mind around all this mind stuff.  It’s pretty intense, but soooooo cool.  Understanding these different layers can be really profound for shaping your thoughts, freeing your mind, and getting some crazy cool brain based strength.

In Summary:

  • Analytical Mind – thoughts, ideas, lists, distractions.
  • Limbic Mind – emotions & memories
  • Primal Mind – survival

The common factor in diving deep into your mind and freeing it up is breath & movement.

  • Sit and breath for a little while (4 count inhale, 4 count hold, 4 count exhale, 4 count hold).
  • MOVE!  Don’t think about it, just move
    • Infinite walk: walk in a figure 8 for a few minutes
    • Get up and down off the ground a few times
    • Roll around!

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A free mind is a beautiful thing.  There’s much more space for good ideas, positive thoughts, and being present to focus on experiences rather than being dragged into the past or pulled into the future.

Enjoy the journey my friends, dive deep into your mind and bask in the vastness that is there!

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Best,

Dr. YG

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