We are taught that we have only one brain in our body and that neurons only exist in the brain. However, during the last decade scientific research in areas of neuroscience and biology has uncovered that we actually have three brains in the body. The cranial brain (head), the heart brain and the gut brain. Did you know your heart and gut have their own complex neural network of hormones, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells that are sufficiently extensive to be characterized as two complex nervous systems: the cardiac nervous system (heart) and the enteric nervous system (gut)? These two distinct nervous systems are in constant communication with the cranial brain and vice versa.
These two sophisticated nervous systems of the heart and the gut also have a direct influence upon your psyche, your emotions and your overall health. Specifically, the communication between cardiac nervous system (heart) with the brain influences not only your perception about yourself but also how you perceive the external world, your mindset. The three brains in the body directly impact your health and how you regulate your own emotions and your levels of mindfulness, your focus and motivation. For example: when you successfully accomplish an important task that you enjoyed you may say: “My heart was with me in this task”. Another example is when you need to perform a task that you don’t like, you may say; “My heart is not in this task but I need to do it”. In 1628, William Harvey hinted at a link between the brain and the heart when he wrote, “For every affection of the mind that is attended with either pain or pleasure, hope or fear, is the cause of an agitation whose influence extends to the heart.”
The enteric nervous system (gut) has millions of neurotransmitters embedded in the walls of the gut that goes from the esophagus to the anus, containing more neurons than the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. This sophisticated neural network is the source of our intuition experienced as a “feeling or knowing”. The communication of the enteric nervous system (gut) with the brain determines how we “feel”, our mood, and whether it is up or down. Have you ever experienced a feeling in your gut in your belly? It is like an alert signal in your belly but you don’t give it much attention and you may regret that later by saying: “I should have listened to my gut feeling”. The clearer and stronger you feel your gut feeling, the stronger your intuition is, your internal guidance system. This clarity in turn supports a stronger Inner Foundation.
Brain heart and gut intelligence
When the communication between the three brains in the body is disrupted, the immune system becomes weakened, setting the ideal environment for psychosomatic mental health disorders and dis-ease to occur. Symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress can easily be associated with gastrointestinal issues but so can inflammation, leaky gut and irritable bowl syndrome. Furthermore, persistent overwhelming negative emotions such as fear, anger or grief can be associated with kidney failure, heart disease and cancer. All causes of a fragile Inner Foundation.
By beginning to understand the importance of trusting your gut’s wisdom, your heart’s intelligence and your head’s reasoning, you trust more in your internal guidance, your inner authority and personal power. Striving to maintain a quiet mind, a loving heart and a healthy gut is a constant reminder to keep your mind and body healthy and strong. Sometimes, just making simple but profound changes in your diet, exercise, relationships, sleep and work, can greatly assist you to achieve optimum health and a balanced lifestyle. This is a key part of our counseling and coaching work. Awareness and nurturance of the mind, gut, and heart connection helps us to develop a strong Inner Foundation and a develop high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.
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In order to achieve good health, it is necessary to have a balanced flow between the brain, heart and gut connection. This supports the growth of a strong immune system that can fight back pathogens and enable us to recover from disease so we may maintain optimum health. When you begin to view the brain, heart and gut intelligence, the three brains, operating as equally as one unit or system, you begin to understand the importance of trusting your gut’s wisdom, your heart’s intelligence and your head’s reasoning, all working in unison. If this integrated holistic view resonates with you and your keen to learn more about our counseling and coaching work, you may begin by reading the inner foundation book. The time for evolving is now!!
About The Writer
Susana Hancock is the author of the book The Inner Foundation- How Society impacts our Inner foundation. She has a global professional experience of over twenty years, working in Europe and Asia in areas of leadership, staff training and personal development. Since 2016 Susana has been delivering professional training and coaching programs to individuals, schools, business and governmental organizations.