Unit 1 Understanding my brain – Siegel Hand Model

What is stress ?

  1. Draw a silouhaite on a paper
  2. Visualize where do you feel signs of stress when are very stressed


The Reptilian Brain

248 to 206 million years ago, the brainstem formed what some call the “reptilian brain”.

This part that is closest to your spine and   near the base of your skull is called the      brain stem and is shared with reptiles

This system of the brain is responsible for   the most basic survival   functions, such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature,     and orientation in space. It regulates automatic responses, determining, for example, if we are hungry or satiated, driven by sexual desire   or relaxed with sexual satisfaction, awake or asleep.

Limbic area or “Emotional Brain”

This “old mammalian brain” evolved when small mammals first appeared around 206-144 million years ago. It is shared with older mammals = dogs, cats, mice.

The middle part of your brain can be considered a sort of  “center house” for our emotional experiences, is    where you  process emotions and store your memories {hippocampus).

The limbic regions evaluate our current situation. “Is    this good or is this bad?”: we move toward the good   and withdraw from the   bad (amygdala). It determines whether a  stimulus is perceived  as a threat or is relevant to survival, and activates the body’s stress response, or not, accordingly.

The connection between the brain stem and the limbic system leads the fight – flight-freeze responses.

Cortex or “new mammalian” brain

It began to develop 55 -24 million years ago. We share it with monkeys and chimpanzees.

It is where we regulate logic and thought required for       complex social situations. It allows us to have ideas and  concepts and to develop the mindsight maps that give us insight into the inner world.

On the other hand, It allows us to recognize our physical experience, generating our perceptions of the outer world— through the five senses— and also keeping track of the location and movement of our physical body through  touch and motion perception.

From the neocortex we will also plan our motor actions    and control our voluntary muscles.

PFC (Prefrontal Cortex)

The prefrontal cortex (specific to human beings) helps us set and achieve goals. It receives input from multiple regions of the brain to process information and adapts accordingly.

It contributes to a wide variety of executive functions, including: focusing one’s attention and motivation, predicting the consequences of one’s actions; anticipating events in the environment, impulsive control, managing emotional reactions, coordinating and adjusting complex behaviours (“I can’t do A if B happens”)  

The PFC enables us to pause before we act, have insight and empathy.                        

* Importance of being aware of our body’s signs that indicate we are perceiving a situation as a threat and we are about flip our lid.

* when we flipped our lid we are not in a physiological condition to take any kind of decision or to connect with other person.