Limbic Girl, episode 3: Deciding
Good morning--happy Brunch Sunday from Florida. Let's fill our mimosas or mugs and clink a cheers to a bit of connection between work, notices and ads in our inbox. Let's chat about creating a great life.
I hadn't unpacked my swimsuits from their little purple suitcase since the move--
but needed one yesterday.
As my brain enjoys sorting much more than choosing, I went into Pile Mode.
Bottoms, tankini tops and one pieces. Pile, pile pile.
Sorting is blissfully easy.
Deciding is another thing.
I then put it off by sorting the Options.
This bottom fits (or in Wisconsin: "These bottoms fit") well, but this one covers more.
And there are fewer tops, so maybe start building from there.
You know when you go to a restaurant, and there are waay too many choices?
I tried on five pieces, settled on the most comfortable. Alas, half my chi chis were hanging out at the beach.
Did the top fit? Yes. Could I have cartwheeled without losing anything? Definitely not.
But people dress this way, don't they?
(Looking for external evidence.)
The morning after, the question I am asking myself is this: Do I dress this way?
It's not that I don't love the girls. But, functionally speaking, I don't need them anymore. They're kind of extra.
If I'm committing today to sort out the extra suits, to make the choice extremely obvious next time, couldn't I also sort body parts?
Maybe a minimizing bra?
I think that's part of my issue.
I have gathered all of this Stuff, and crammed it into what we'll call, Available Space, and then pushed it in there and lifted, stacked...shimmied.
Our bodies and environments reflect our brains.
The closets and cupboards, hips and thighs,
are mirrored reflections of what is happening in our minds.
Our cognitive brain is the parent, cleaning up the mental drama of the Limbic brain.
When we prefer to shut down that cognitive brain by
dopamine-producing actions or
mind-numbing streaming or scrolling--as is our culture,
Limbic Girl reigns.
All the drama.
Unsorted chaos. Literally, just shove it in the corner.
I don't know if this means anything, truly.
It's something I choose to believe, though I cannot see it.
Once I learned it, my brain saw a lot of evidence for it,
so then I think it is true.
Confirmation bias: looking for evidence to prove a belief, rather than evidence to disprove it.
Our brain literally sees what it wants to see.
Why does confirmation bias matter?
Our brain function can literally lead us into making risky decisions and overlooking warning signs.
But, you know, I trust my inner vibe too. Call it what you want.
A gut feeling.
Physiologically, there is a two-lane highway between the brain and the gut, and all the stops in between, up and down the spine.
The brain conveys information down along the spine, which we all are very familiar with.
But the gut conveys information back.
I'm not just talking about the stomach producing a hormone that tells the brain, We're hungry, or another that says, We're full.
Science, which unfortunately has become a dirty word among 20% of the population here in America, has been studying the gut, the Enteric Nervous System.
Hidden in the walls of our digestive systems.
Yes, while we've been working and doing virtual school and eating our dinners in front of TV, scientists do studies and find out new information.
All of the time.
I am no scientist.
I'm much too impulsive and creative to work in a lab for any extended period of time.
That's a thought.
Maybe that's not true.
My point is, I APPRECIATE scientists.
We are lucky to have them.
Maybe not all of them are in the work to improve lives or help with illness or contribute to the human family.
But some are.
The Noble Scientists.
I think we are very lucky to have people who can think repeatedly about these minute details, and test things cleanly and publish their findings.
They push our collective knowledge forward, about our bodies, and about our mental health.
This area of our gut health influencing our emotions fascinates me.
Depression and anxiety, for instance, are frequently accompanied by gastro-intestinal disorders and inflammation in the gut.
Constipated, acid reflux? How are you feeling?
Is it possible to fully heal your mood disorder if your gut is unhealthy? That is a fantastic question.
Autism and gastro-intestinal disorders are a fascinating subject.
Probiotics have actually been shown to alleviate some symptoms of mood disorders and autism.
When my son was young and diagnosed, I read a lot about eliminating cereal and milk--but those were his staple foods! There was so much I did not know and was not willing to change.
I am my own case study.
Which means, my story is not evidence enough for anyone to do as I do.
When I was overeating regularly, using food and sugar, I felt terrible.
Did I feel terrible first?
Or did it start in the gut and my behaviors built onto a condition that was already there?
Compounding one over the other...
For a while now, I've been eating less, living more, taking a daily probiotic, and eating three prunes a day.
I occasionally have things like no-sugar yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and kombucha.
These have been shown to help balance out the microbiome.
But, if we took the 7 large buildings in my complex, 120 apartments in each, and asked one person in each apartment to take a probiotic and 3 prunes every day and change nothing else... and then asked them after 90 days if they felt a significant change in mood?
Would that ever happen?
The funding alone would be an issue to squash the study.
Paying for the probiotic, delivering the capsule every morning.
Assessing results through nightly or weekly journaling and interviews of 840 people.
But what if it did help them? What if this entire complex was filled with 840 "happier" people?
Maybe half of them would take a probiotic regularly afterwards--or maybe only 30%.
That's 252 happier folks.
But would the study itself change anything?
A company or health organization would need mass marketing for the concept of taking a probiotic.
Like the smoking ads when I was a kid--Marlboro man. Women smoking over coffee while their kids were in school. Even children with cigarette candy sticks.
Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
This is who we are.
Generally, a human brain has to hear something 7 times before it can accept it as truth.
Repeated messaging costs a lot of money.
Consequently, the loudest messages we hear are not necessarily Good For Us.
Alas, that does not mean little subcultures are the way to go.
This is the point: we decide what we want, instead of taking external cues.
Do I want my boobies to not be contained on a beach with other people?
Do I want to store things in my home that give it the appearance of a Pottery Barn store?
Do I want to accept only pre-selected scientific studies that are manipulated into pitchy marketing packages?
I have a strong desire to not accept all the slogans.
I really want to think for myself.
And I do. Sometimes.
This process of making a decision, and filtering through all the presented ideas...even searching out answers to my own questions, is fulfilling.
I am using This Brain, and not relying on someone else's motivations.
What have we learned? Tankini tops and microbiome health.
With all the vices we choose to quiet our minds--it feels awesome to me this morning to be using mine.
It's just a blog. A writing exercise.
A chat on a couch.