Over recent years neurologists and researchers have made some fascinating discoveries about the make up of the human mind. Discoveries that help us understand why we behave the way we do, and what we can do if we want to change.
Did you know you have what is commonly referred to as your lizard brain? Technically it is called the amygdala, and it’s the part of the brain which influences anger, revenge, sex and fear for example. It leads us to fight or flight when we feel threatened, and at times can override other parts of our mind. This is not a bad thing. When you are in danger, you need this part of your brain to protect you and direct you.
Neurologists have discovered something surprising about this part of the brain which they did not expect. It has a memory. It remembers things like when you have been hurt, and it stands ready to direct your behaviour. This means if your lizard brain remembers something that brings you pleasure or pain in a moment, even if it is fleeting or unhealthy, it will influence you. It is the part of the brain for example, that drives someone with throat cancer to keep smoking, even when they know they ought not to. If we are not careful, it will lead us to pursue anything pleasurable and avoid anything painful, irrespective of the long term consequence and whether or not it is healthy.
In contrast, Dr Caroline Leaf has discovered that the brain can change. It can be renewed. She suggests the brain is neuroplastic, meaning it can be rewired and is not as rigid as we would suppose. When things are brought into our conscious mind, and if we make a conscious decision to change, Dr Leaf suggests change can happen. In short, we do not have to be held hostage to our ‘lizard brain’.
Romans 12: 2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. By dwelling on that which is positive, by dwelling on the things of God, that which is noble and pure we can eliminate that which is negative or unhealthy. God has designed us so that our mind can be renewed as we bring our thoughts captive to Him.
If you are tired of the ‘lizard brain’ driving your behaviour more than you would like, bring your thoughts and desires to God. Consciously let God renew your mind, “then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”