Understanding the brain
This article will deal with a simple model of how the brain works.
The article will deal with the function of the front of the brain or frontal lobes rather than other areas of the brain such as the motor, sensory, visual and hearing parts.
The activity of the frontal lobes makes us who we are. “When you marry someone you are marrying their frontal lobes”. Quite often after a frontal lobe stroke the spouse of the patient doesn’t realise that the patient may not be the same person they married even though the patient is physically unaffected. They may not realise this until sometime after the stroke.
How do the frontal lobes work?
They work in the following sequence:
No-one knows where ideas come from for sure. Sometimes ideas originate from the environment, but sometimes someone may have brain-wave unrelated to the environment – the “eureka” moment. A belief is simply an idea that one considers to be true.
Ideas lead onto thoughts. Generally speaking thoughts are divided into love and hate thoughts i.e. you like something or hate something. There are of course in-between thoughts.
Thoughts lead onto feelings. Positive feelings are gratitude, acceptance, trust and honesty. Their opposites are self-pity (if excessive depression), resentment (if excessive hatred), fear (if excessive anxiety) and dishonesty (if excessive criminality). Faith is simply extreme trust in someone, something or somewhere.
Feelings lead onto behaviour. Extreme ideas, thoughts and feelings lead onto exemplary or unacceptable behaviour.
Repetitive similar behaviour leads onto habitual behaviour.
Repetitive habitual behaviour leads onto character. “Manners maketh the man”
Characteristics lead onto the personality i.e. your identity.
8. Position in society.
Personality leads onto position in society.
The more common causes of frontal lobe inflammation are
1. Alcoholism and drug addiction.
2. Alzheimer`s disease.
4. Head injury.
6. Infection e.g. meningitis.
Frontal lobe inflammation results in the development of ideas which may become irrational leading onto extreme thinking, feeling and behaviour i.e. psychiatric illness. There is often obsessive -compulsive behaviour which is initially soothing but later becomes annoying for the patient after it has served it`s purpose.
No-one knows where ideas come from. There is an experiment where people who had their brains electrically monitored were found to develop brain activity before they were consciously aware of the idea.
Some people believe that the brain is a conduit to a “higher power”. Power is defined as “something that causes change”. The higher power for some is a religious god for others a person in authority and for others material things such as wealth. Some people meditate and touch their higher power in this way.
In most psychiatric diseases there are reversible abnormalities of the nerve cells (neurons) and immune system within the brain. (see The tree model of brain disorders).
It is well recognised that the clergy, doctors, employers and money may lead to improvement in psychiatric diseases as well as drug therapy.
Perhaps the higher power, whatever it is for a particular individual, can reduce the immune activity within the frontal lobes leading to the replenishment of neurons to health.
MRI scans of the brain show enlargement of the brain as the brain recovers from psychiatric illness i.e. the brain can literally re-grow.
In many psychiatric diseases the person becomes self-obsessed to some degree and it is difficult to get “inside their brain” in order to alter their ideas. This is termed “lack of insight”.
However once they trust someone or something they may become open-minded to new ideas. This often leads to clinical improvement i.e. new thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
Resentment of the past, self-pity of the present, and fear of the future are converted to acceptance of the past, gratitude for the present, and trust for the future – which is easier said than done, but does make life more serene.
For happiness try to achieve the following
1. Loving someone, something or somewhere.
2. Doing something i.e. remain active.
3. Looking forward to something.
If one is aware of the simple sequence of how the frontal lobes work one may use the model to achieve increased self-awareness and subsequent self-improvement.
This video may help:
The tree model of brain disorders