Your Lizard Brain Don’t Read Books

Woman in bed reading a book

I sure do love me some self-help books. Truly. But I have learned that knowledge is never enough.

Understanding your problem is definitely important. Most folks don’t recover from a problem they can’t even identify.

But healing requires action.

Small. Consistent. Daily. Action.

Let me explain…

Healing often requires that you re-train the thinking part of your brain — beliefs, values, understanding of yourself and the world, etc.

It ALSO requires that you re-train all the non-thinking parts of your brain and nervous system — stress response, subconscious mind, the physiological effects of trauma in your body, etc. And this requires embodied experiences of safety and satisfied needs.

Everything you experience from sensory input must first travel through your brainstem, midbrain, and limbic system before it reaches the last house on the block — your thinking mind (neocortex).

This means that all the lower, animal, survival instinct parts of your brain get first dibs on assigning meaning to sensory input.

Added bonus, those parts of your brain literally cannot tell time (awareness of the passage of time occurs in the prefrontal right cortex).

Therefore, if your body perceives something associated with ANY painful experience since birth, your amygdala (the fight/flight/freeze/fawn air-traffic controller) indiscriminately sounds the alarm.

Immediate release of neurochemicals mobilizes (or immobilizes) your whole system to brace for impact.

By the time shit reaches the thinking part of your brain, your body has already made all the important decisions for you.

System override.

“State-dependent functioning” is a term that describes your inability to access rational thought when your body is in a hyper-aroused state.

This is why people do things they are terribly ashamed of (angry outbursts, deep depression, self-destructive habits), and say “What the fuck is wrong with me?”

The problem is that aforementioned “me” (the seat of your consciousness) rests in your cerebral cortex, and is literally an afterthought to the havoc wreaked by your lower animal brain networks.

In other words, your ego is brainzilla’s plaything.

And brainzilla don’t read books.

Please get help from someone who understands trauma.

It’s more than just a buzzword.


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Published by Adam

Mentor, coach, speaker and educator for over 12 years. I have recovered from and triumphed over many obstacles and afflictions. It brings me tremendous joy to help others overcome similar circumstances so they can live their best lives.

2 thoughts on “Your Lizard Brain Don’t Read Books

  1. The last line says it all. The trivialization of the word “trauma” is ridiculous and is fast becoming a way of using it as an excuse for bad behaviour. It likely is trauma but unless you take the step to address it, it will be a never ending loop you put yourself through.

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