If you react to situations, cannot handle stress very well, or have constant anxiety- there is a good chance your limbic system is stronger than your prefrontal cortex- which is normal! However we can choose to make our prefrontal cortex stronger which which increases emotional control, peace, problem solving, creativity, and self control.
Recent neuroscience is showing that the more we move into fear and threat response, the more we exercise and strengthen the neural pathways around the limbic brain which is our fight -or-flight center. We also end up shrinking or pruning back the neural pathways in our prefrontal cortex which then inhibit our abilities to see the big picture, find creative alternatives, feel compassion and empathy, and solve problems.
How to Strengthen
- Your cortices, like muscles, grow with use. So if you use your limbic brain to function mostly–in fear, worry, focusing on lack, unforgiveness, anger and threat–you strengthen that part of the brain so it dominates.
- If you use your prefrontal cortex mostly–for higher level thought like compassion, empathy and learning–that part of the brain gains dominance.
- When we stop and slow down to think deeply about love, gratitude, and joy- we strength the PFC.
- Practicing a lifestyle of prayer, love, gratitude, and being in constant internal dialog with God, we are strengthening our PFC so we will be able to handle hard situations better when they do come.