129: High Brain/Low Brain

Our brains are extremely complicated organs, fulfilling multiple purposes and tasks, most of which we will never even think about.

Some parts of our brain are designed to automatically react to ensure our survival.

Other parts allow us to be creative, make decisions, set goals, and choose to be more than what we might desire naturally.

The key to using this extremely complicated organ, is to make sure we learn about and do our best to understand the different parts of our brain and try to use the right part for the right situation.

Sound complicated? 


But I have a few tips, tricks and rules to share with you today that will give you a different way to think and use your brain to improve your relationship with yourself as well as the relationships you desire to have with others.

There are a few definitions we need to discuss before we get into the meat of this episode.

Let’s talk about a few of the parts of our brain.

Let’s start with the HIGH BRAIN (called the Neo-Cortex)

The High Brain is:

-the relating brain and

-this is where we listen.  This is where understanding happens. 

Next is the LYMBIC BRAIN

The Lymbic Brain is:

-the connecting brain and

-bonding occurs here

The LOWER BRAIN is named the (Amygdala)

It is known as:

-the reptilian brain and is


-Fight/Flight reactions happen in the lower brain.

When this reaction happens:

            -Blood rushes to your extremities and helps you to defend yourself or run.

The Amygdala:

-Insures your survival and

-Has priority over other parts of the brain when it takes over.

The Lower Brain asks questions such as:

  1. Can it hurt me?
  2. Can I eat it?
  3. Can I mate with it?

While it is not yet known how the brain works entirely, there are these basic structures that we do know what takes place and we can learn to use them to help instead of hurt us, especially in relationships.

For example:

It only takes 6 seconds to turn threats to your Amygdala, or the Lower Brain, around and into your Neo-cortex or High Brain.

This helps us when we gain control over it, because we can react to situations in ways that we actually choose, instead of letting our lower brain do things we regret later.

We’ve talked about the importance of building character in previous episodes.

If you haven’t listened to the series I did called, 4 Tips to Improve Any Relationship, I suggest going back to that or having it sent to your inbox by going to hunkeedori.com/4Tips.  I teach you about developing character in that series. 

It’s kind of the basic skill needed that helps us be who we really want to be in situations that take us off guard.

When we allow our character to kick in, instead of verbally attacking someone for example, we can move automatic thoughts into the higher brain instead of being hijacked by the lower brain and go directly into survival mode, which makes us fight or flee!

Another way to describe this is taking the High Road instead of the Low (and let’s face it, easier) road.

When you take the high road, you choose to go the better way, the higher way.  You choose to avoid negativity and all that comes with it.  You try to see yourself and others in a healthier, more realistic way.

When you take a minute to get out of your low brain (remember, it only takes 6 seconds for it to take over), you can make a better choice. 

You can do this by taking a deep breath, let it out slowly, and make a conscious choice of how you want to show up.

Here’s a rule I’d like to teach you.  A skill that will help you make a choice to be in your high brain instead of your low brain.


A time-out is only called on the subject, not the person, meaning, you don’t always need to leave to use the TIME OUT rule.

Call the time out.

Suspend the conversation.

Pause and

Ask yourself the question… What do I want most?

Then, when you can answer that, come back to the conversation.

Give yourself the time you need to really answer the question.

Make sure you call a time-in with-in 24 hours, so it doesn’t hang in the air between you too long.

Time outs can be taken with ourselves too.

When you feel your emotions take over, making your emotions rise…

Call the time out.

Suspend the conversation.

Pause and

Ask yourself the question… What do I want most?

Then, when you can answer that, come back to the conversation.

Taking a time-out, helps us to keep from being hijacked by our emotions.

Being hijacked means that your emotions have taken over.

You become reactive and function out of your lower brain.

It takes away your logic and your ability to solve problems.

Take a minute and think about things that hijack you?

Think about when your emotions get BIG and you feel yourself getting swept away and not reacting as you normally would under other circumstances.

Think back to Episode115. When I told you about the 7 basic needs. 

Every human on the planet has seven basic needs that must be met in order to thrive.

They are:








When any of these needs have not been met, we may feel hijacked.

Maybe thinking about one of these needs and a time when you didn’t feel your need was being met and you kind of lost control of your reactions, that’s when you’ve been hijacked.  Sometimes we refer to that as being triggered.

This is when you need to have the CHARACTER to apply the Time Out rule.

CALL A TIME-OUT (on the subject, not the person)

Suspend the conversation.


Ask a question… What do I want most?

This takes you from the lower to the higher brain.

You’ll make better decisions and react better from the higher brain.

This is yet another example of how important it is to pay attention to your thoughts.

I want to leave you with a homework assignment this week.

Practice the Time-Out Rule.

Remember the steps:

Call the time out.

Suspend the conversation.

Pause and

Ask yourself the question… What do I want most?

Then, when you can answer that, come back to the conversation.

Write yourself a note where you will see it.

Try a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or wherever you’ll see it often.

Catch your hijacked thoughts and call a time out on yourself.

Catch your emotions rising when talking to another person.

Call a time-out as often as needed.

I think you’ll like the results.

I’d love to help you one-on-one to reconnect to yourself and improve all of your relationships

Thanks for joining me here today and remember:

I see you.  I understand how hard you’re trying, and I’d like to help however I can.

Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you back here next week.

129: High Brain/Low Brain
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