I am in the middle of reading My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. and every page I read has me fall in love even more with the many capacities of our own brain. The multitude of simultaneous functions our brain coordinates is, pardon the expression, absolutely mind-blowing. From vision, hearing, speech and learning, to movement and perception of physical boundaries. But the icing on the cake for me was when I learned about the limbic system, the part of our brain that places an emotion on the information we are processing.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor says, “It is interesting to note that although our limbic system functions throughout our lifetime, it does not mature. As a result, when our emotional ‘buttons’ are pushed , we retain the ability to react to incoming stimulation as though we were a two year old, even when we are adults.”¹

All I have to ask after reading this is…Does this not shed light on at least half of the unexplained behaviour we witness in people, and in ourselves, everyday? Most of us have a few “triggers” or “hot buttons” that we carry around for those handy occasions when saying something nice or considerate just won’t do! I have this great little trigger that every time another driver has the audacity to get pissed at me while I am driving, my temperature instantly rises to boiling and I try to insult them back in the quickest way possible, although now, to my credit, I have worked that down to replying with the biggest, phoniest smile you have ever seen. Where that originates from, who knows, but I do know that respect is a huge value for me, and this driving scenario definitely crosses the line where respect is concerned.

One day, when you are waiting in the dentist’s office or drinking your morning coffee, take a few minutes to reflect on your own “hot buttons” and see what you come up with. After all, identifying and understanding are key steps to changing what the mind has thought for years.

¹ My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., p.18.