Rooted Mama Podcast

Episode 9: Brain Anatomy

Episode #9: Brain Anatomy

In this episode we will discuss some key functional aspects of your brain. In future episodes, we are going to dive into some deep mental health topics, and this episode will lay a foundation as we tackle these topics from an alternative perspective. This will not cover brain anatomy in the technical sense, but in the functional sense–how our brains function and how it impacts us daily in the world.

Mental and Emotional Wounds [1:03]

The idea that trauma is limited to events like abuse is false. Trauma can include any event, big or small, that impacts us in a way that we cannot mentally move past and that hinders us living the life we want. Oftentimes, small pains can compound over time and negatively impact how we see the world. Just because you don’t have experiences that others would label “traumatic” does not mean you didn’t experience things that were traumatizing to your brain. 

Your brain is not your friend [2:03]

Read that again. Your brain thinks it’s your friend; it’s doing its best to take care of you and your needs, but what ends up happening is that it does what it thinks is helpful–not what is actually in our best interest. This means it will cling to the perception of what keeps us safe and bypass opportunities for us to grow and thrive. For the brain, the path of least resistance is the safest because it’s what has “worked” in the past, and if we’re not aware of how this is our brain’s tendency, it will keep us stuck in patterns that we don’t want to be in. For example, if you grew up in a chaotic home, your brain will label chaos as “safe.” Is chaos actually safe? We know it’s not, but that is what your brain will have adapted to; it’s familiar, it’s predictable, so your brain thinks that that is the ideal homeostasis, and as you move through life, you are likely to gravitate towards chaotic relationships and situations.

Previous experiences impact current perceptions [3:15]

My daughter, Ann, had an experience with black dogs when she was younger; years ago, one bit her twin brother. Recently, she was walking her dog in our neighborhood and came across a pair of black dogs that she perceived to be part pitbull and aggressive. Turns out, after some investigating with the owners, the dogs are not part pitbull and they are not a threat to her safety at all, but because of her previous negative experience with a black Pitbull, she was not able to objectively see the current situation with these neighborhood dogs. The only option her brain saw was “danger,” it blocked out any other explanation or option. After talking this through with Ann, she was able to recognize what her brain was doing, and now she feels okay with the presence of the dogs on her walks. What does this example illustrate? Our brain can trick us into thinking there is only one possibility in front of us because of assumptions based on previous experiences, when actually, there are many things we should consider so that we don’t miss out on all that life has to offer.

Spirit, soul, and body [7:00]

When we look at science, we want a naturalistic perspective: everything is black and white, and we can prove everything–there is no spiritual element to anything. I don’t view the world as being purely physical; I believe there is a spiritual element to it. I think this explains why so many people suffer from chronic illness that doctors cannot diagnose–because it’s a spiritual aspect. Our spiritual health impacts our physical body.

Epigenetics [13:45]

Epigenetics are changes to how our genes express themselves without altering our DNA. These changes can be passed down to our kids. If we experience trauma, for example, that trauma can cause a change in our gene expression, which is responsible for specific characteristics. Those changes can be seen in our kids’ epigenetics, and they will reflect those characteristics accordingly. Choices we make can also impact our epigenetics, and that offers so much hope: positive choices we make today can impact generations of the future. Embracing the spiritual elements of power and hope (and matching our actions accordingly), can be seen physically in our epigenetics.

We will continue to look at mental health and motherhood not only through a scientific lens, but from a spiritual lens as well—I believe the spiritual is the most important aspect in the topic of brain anatomy. We have so much opportunity to change our lives; we can see the spiritual alongside the physical, and when we recognize that, amazing things will happen. To get all the details of this episode, be sure to listen on your favorite streaming platform, and if you haven’t already, subscribe to my email list to stay up-to-date on all future podcast episodes!