1.10 Body to Brain Signaling

From the standpoint of our Autonomic Nervous System, there are three basic elements of body-to-brain signaling that occur:

  • Heart (rate and depth of heartbeat)
  • Breath (rate and depth of breathing)
  • Gut (conditions and chemical signaling)

These systems use both mechanical and chemical signals to communicate to the brain and higher order consciousness regarding the state and energetic balance of the Autonomic Nervous System, in light of the goals and conditions at hand.

Our Current Best Understanding is that these signals are received and mediated in the Prefrontal Cortex of the brain by the Insular Cortex (or Insula).

The Insula appears to operate like a hub that mediates between Somatic signaling and the Prefrontal Cortex, which is often thought of as the seat of our Conscious Awareness. It also mediates signals relating to systems of threat detection and fear, emotions, and the general homeostasis of the body.

By understanding how the insula works in conjunction with the Autonomic Nervous System and our emotional system, we can develop strategies to consciously influence the balance and flow of energy within our bodies and minds. This, in turn, can help us manage anxiety, fear, and depression more effectively, leading to a more flourishing and abundant life.

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