By now, because of popular neuroscience storytelling we may be somewhat more used to thinking of the head brain as having three major parts from our evolution: the reptile brain, the fury mammal brain, and the ape brain. With new neuroscience pointing to the cluster of neurons around the heart as a meaningful brain-like system such that we maybe also need to talk about the heart brain (true also of the gut brain) as pushing information around the human nervous system throughout our bodies and across our social connections, we maybe also can talk about the three-part or triune heart. Along with the heart's autonomic sympathetic nervous response to the environment that regulates upward spirals of arousal (higher heart rate) for getting into action and the autonomic parasympathetic nervous response that regulates downward spirals of arousal (lower heart rate) for calming and resourcing ourselves, we maybe now can also talk about the ape part of the heart or the autonomic social nervous response that regulates downward spirals of arousal (lower heart rate) for co-regulating, interpersonal connection, bonding, and social cohesion. While even these concepts of the head brain and the heart brain are in some ways overly simple, they are maybe moving us toward more understanding of ourselves and our communities as systems of fluctuating energy and information, and we can perhaps lean on this growing awareness to cultivate compassion for ourselves and our world as connected and interdependent. What is one way that you practiced co-regulating your heart rate with someone this week?
[image description: Three hearts that sit within each other like Russian nesting dolls are labeled at the inner-most level, "react," "be," and "joy," at the second level, "feel" and "respond," and at the outer-most level, "learn," "integrate," and "practice." The heart at the outer-most level has a mystified facial expression and is thinking, "Whoa." Text reads, "The triune heart."]
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