Emotional Intelligence as the alignment of the three brains
Historic context and references
The research on how the human body and mind function dates back since the beginning of humankind. Philosophers, scientists and common persons have ever since felt the need to seek for an explanation supporting how things are in our world and beyond. We have testimonies from ancient times where information have arrived until now in form of drawing or other archaeological finds, some in full, some only with fragments. However the bulk of discussion on how the human body and mind function has got accelerated with the advent of technology and in particular the capacity of machines to process big quantity of data and to investigate how the brain function with more clarity and evidence. The reference to the brain is very important because it has been common believe that the brain alone was responsible of several function in the human body and it made for centuries a very clear distinction between mind and body. The neuro-scientific research today tell us that the connection between mind and body are more than previously considered and interconnected in ways that is not possible to isolate them. In other words the unity of body and mind in their functioning is now scientifically proved.
Many researchers and scientists have contributed to these discoveries. First of all Candace Pert that was the first neuroscientist to study and identify neural connections outside the brain, with the first results already in the 70s. She was researching how certain chemical compounds react in the brain, while she found out that the same chemical compounds that until then were considered present only in the brain, were also present in other parts of the human body, thus opening a new strand of research aiming at identifying a full map – not yet complete – of the receptor scattered around the body. Her research has revealed how the chemicals produced by the human body, ie neuropeptides and their receptors, constitute the biological base of consciousness, manifesting in the form of emotions, beliefs and expectations, and profoundly influencing the way in which one reacts and perceives the world. In other words, Candace Pert brought a new way of looking at what happens to human being, by showing evidence that the body knows before the mind what is happening and that everything that happens in our body starts with a chemical reaction, including thoughts and emotions that until then were considered as external influences and not innerly produced.
The results of her research are collected in her book “Molecules of emotions” easy to read also for neophytes in chemistry and science.
Parallel the HeartMath Institute, in California, has been studying heart function for over 25 years and has developed cardiac coherence techniques that help align thoughts and emotions, resonate them and then resonate with others. The scientists team working at the Heartmath institute are bringing forward clear evidence that the heart is a brain with all the functions that are associated with the brain function. It has clearly stated that the number of neural connection present in the heart area are sending more signals to the brain located in our hear that the signals that the brain send to our heart. As result of these studies the Heartmath Institute has created a model called cardiac resonance to facilitate the alignment of the cardiac brain with the head brain. When we are not resonant with ourselves, we are in a situation of un-wellness and we send conflicting signals to others and we do not have the real ability to resonate with them.
In 2014 Rebecca Linder Hintze published in her book “Essentially Happy” the results of a study she conducted in collaboration with the School of Psychology of the University East London in England. The study was exploring the effect of essential oils and good nutrients on emotions and how can emotions be influenced by them. It revealed the centrality of the gut in the activation of emotions and it reinforced the need to bring the chemical perspective in how emotions are created and how they can influence well-being or the lack of it. One element worth to mention here is that 90% of the serotonin, the hormone of happiness, is produced in the intestine, thus eating has an uplifting effect on our mood, depression is connected to poor nutrition and the consequent lack of minerals, vitamins and enzymes necessary for the proper performance of vital functions. The study also reveals how important is the connection between emotions that depress us and the inability to act, to do even the smallest daily activities.
We have 3 brains, because a brain is scientifically defined by the presence of neural connections. The most advanced technology allows us to monitor the neural activities that are present in three areas of our body, the head, the heart and the intestine. So if there are neural connections in the head, heart and intestines, and if the presence of neural connections is what is called a brain, then we have three brains, namely:
- the encephalic brain located in the head and responsible for analyzing and interpreting the received signals
- the heart brain located in the heart area and responsible for emotional insights
- the enteric brain located in the area of the stomach responsible for the action
These 3 brains communicate with each other through molecules that carry information, which have the ability to react with each other and to influence our behavior, thoughts and emotions.
Based on these statements, it is clear that emotional intelligence is much more than dealing with emotions and especially that emotions is not something that we receive from outside, nor that we are able to manage the emotions we believed until now were coming to us, as well the emotions of others.
If everything is the result of a series of chemical reactions happening in our body, then the consequent definition of emotional intelligence is the ability to align and bring into coherence the three brainbecause focusing on only one will not suffice due to the interconnectedness of the communication within our body.
In our daily life we are confronted with situations and tasks we repeat as they constitute our daily routine, from waking up to going to bed and everything that is in between. Some of these actions are repeated almost automatically and each of them has a role, a place and a time for being executed. When we are able to do what we wish with the resources, spaces and time requested, then we are in a state of wellbeing. It means that there is balanced connection between what I desire, what the world is asking me to do and what I am able to do. When there is a dissonance between what I wish and what I am doing because of an external request, then the situation of dis-alignment starts.
Let’s take an example: I like to meet my partner, i like to do my job, I like to being interested and involved socially. When the time and space for each of them is congruent, then there is no problem. When the requests start being simultaneously they become conflicting and give raise to emotions that we do not want, like anger, frustration. In addition we feel physical pain and limiting beliefs, in the sense that thoughts arise that are limiting our actions and our development.
Think of yourself in such a conflicting situation: having an important deadline to meet at work, at the same being late for an appointment with your beloved one, and then when trying to hurry up, you spill the coffee on your phone and your documents, thus putting you in the situation of not being able to phone and to loose your documents.
Which kind of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations are now arising in you?
What happens if the same or similar situations happen to you in a row? and consequently the same emotions are consolidating the experiences and memorising them in your brain? In this way you are setting the basis for a new mindset that will influences and impact all your future actions. Every actions is creating memories of the future as says Antonio Damasio, one the most famous neuro-biologists still alive.