The limbic System and the body`s responses create how we feel

The limbic system and why is it important. Our limbic system and the body’s responses create how we see our life, how we feel about everything.

Our emotional responses, our health and capacity to experience Joy, calmness, confidence are interlinked with our emotional view of our life and our relationships.

If our life reflects stress, anxiousness, pain in the body, a deterioration of our relationships, attachment to time, worrying, fear of the future, such qualities come from what is stored in the house, your body, and the mind reflects what is present. This can be changed, how one feels is not set in stone.

The experience of our deep inner nature, that is true contentment, which is a way of being, not just a feeling, can be experienced; it can arise from various regions from within the body, as you become more consciously aware. The key is to recognise what has been stored, especially in the brain and limbic system as this will register your state of being, serenity, calmness or irritation, agitation, anger and frustration.

The thought you have, creates the emotional reaction to that thinking. What you think is a learned response, we are all taught to think the way we do.

The limbic system plays an instrumental role in our memory recall and the ability to form a new declarative memory, and freedom of attachment to what is happening. This natural detachment to your thinking, allows you to witness it, observing the qualities that are created by the thoughts, but not getting involved with them. This is not simple or easy and requires practice but does give the ability to rise above the emotive responses that become the pain triggers, or the fearful anger irritation and agitation that can arise, spilling over into aggression and blaming of others for not being how you want them to be.

The stored impressions of old are strewn throughout the body, but as the saying goes `you are not engraved in stone`, you are an naturally fluid, flowing source of energy, your natural state, like mother nature responds to what is present and can be changed to a balanced calm state, becoming the state of serenity. 

The Limbic system is a set of highly interconnected brain regions situated within the medial portion of the brain. as well as other adjacent cortical and subcortical regions. These regions include (in no particular order): the orbitofrontal cortex, insular cortex, anterior and posterior cingulate cortices, the cingulate gyrus, temporopolar cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, hippocampal formation, amygdala, basal forebrain, anterior thalamic nuclei, and the hypothalamus.(1)

To decipher the limbic system’s functional role in the instantiation of emotion, it is important to first provide a clear definition of emotion. The expression of an emotion consists of a dynamically changing repertoire of responses triggered by any stimulus associated with the perceptions and impressions held around any object, event, situation, thought, or body state that is deemed relevant to one’s needs, goals, or survival.

This emotion-inducing stimulus causes the central nervous system to orchestrate a complex cascade of reactions that comprise an emotional response (Damasio, 2003).

These reactions can affect nearly every aspect of our being and include physiological changes (e.g., autonomic/visceral changes, surges in particular hormones and neurotransmitters, etc.), behavioural changes (e.g., approach/avoidance behaviours, facial expressions, crying, laughing, etc.) and cognitive changes (e.g., changes in attention, speed of processing, moods-congruent thoughts, appraisal processes, attribution processes, etc.). Together, these changes aim to regulate our homeostasis and promote behaviours intended to help us adapt to our ever-changing environment.(1) i.e.; always to come back to what is recognised as familiar.

When we feel threatened whether real or imagined a diverse repertoire of ensuing responses would be triggered including physiological changes (such as a surge in adrenaline and a sharp rise in heart rate), behavioural changes (such as the raising of the upper eyelids and a palpable urge to avoid the fear-inducing stimulus), and cognitive changes (such as an increase in vigilance and an outpouring of negative thoughts related to the actions of others or to death).

The combination of all these changes, happening in close temporal proximity, produces the distinct and salient feeling of fear. The high levels of now toxic chemistry such as adrenaline and cortisol begin coursing through the body, creating the ever changing environment needing to come back to its familiar level. So the toxicity is stored, creating pain.  Many of the changes that comprise an emotional response can occur unconsciously. There can appear to be no reason for the way you feel, but your body and mind still respond with the hyper-virulence and agitation. The body and mind are fulfilling what it knows to be its truth, its familiar state.

The sustaining of Homeostatic regulation of emotion, stipulates that what goes up must come back down to baseline. This homeostasis is the learned response of the familiar levels at which you operate within, it forms the backdrop from which each of our lives is experienced.

An example is;  As a baby one person may have come in with a high fear inducing stimulus, producing survival behaviours intended to help them adapt to the ever-changing environment, especially the new life experiences, the subconscious response registers fear and fear thoughts of the actions of others not meeting its needs. This raises an agitated emotional response to change, being left alone, complex actions within the body mirrored in heart rate, nerves rashes, and inability to digest properly, setting up hyper-virulence and avoidance behaviours, slow development and impaired learning uptake. The body and mind are fulfilling what it knows to be its truth, its familiar state. This homeostasis is the learned response of the familiar levels at which it will operate within, until it is changed.

It is through the experiences we have, we learn to recognise where the mind and body are operating at; most healthy people’s baseline is a positive affective, calm, quiet confident state, of mild to moderate intensity, usually with little negative emotion.

An important reason for studying emotion recovery, emerges when considering its role in the diagnosis and transforming the experience of mental illness(1)

For the millions of people who suffer from depression and anxiety, the failure of emotion recovery is a constant feature of their existence. Even with state-of-the-art treatments, many people appear to not recover.

This homeostasis is the learned response of the familiar levels at which they operate within, it forms the backdrop of their life, and the Mind is driven by its needs to feel it is in control of life. This cannot be changed by a pill or going over and over the past or worrying about the future. The solution is in recognising your old patterns and understanding the source, then making a conscious choice to focus on the quality that clears this source of negative, fearful and painful emotion. What has been learned from the past is not the truth NOW, understanding that this is NOT you, is part of the way to freedom from suffering.

(1) Excerpts from the PH.D Thesis By Justin Stanich Feinstein EXAMINATION OF THE LIMBIC SYSTEM'S ROLE IN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE USING A HUMAN LESION MODEL  Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology at the May 2012.