Thinking Your Way Out of Anxiety: What Lawyers Need to Know About the Brain 

Nurturing your limbic brain can bring your emotional life and rational life into balance and help heal your pain.  As a coach and counselor dealing with attorney burnout, I became fascinated with the neurobiology of our brains and why it matters. I came by this interest honestly after I burned out in 2004 and quit practicing law. The science of the brain has made incredible advances since then. We now have a much better understanding of why our minds work the way they do — including why some people thrive in challenging environments and others burn out. How the Reptilian Brain, Limbic Brain and Rational Mind Work Together What we know now is that we have three distinct brain systems housed within our skulls. The first sits atop the spinal column and is popularly known as the primal (or reptilian) brain. This controls our basic functions such as reflex and autonomic bodily functions such as breathing and heartbeat. It also regulates reproduction, survival, and fear.The second is known as the limbic brain which sits on top of the reptilian brain and processes emotions and feelings as well as regulates memories. Some believe that this is the seat of the subconscious mind. There is some debate over where the subconscious mind is located, however. I believe that it depends on the function being regulated. The third is the rational mind — the neocortex, which controls thinking, ideas and language. It filters information that will be recorded in the limbic brain and interprets that information as memory. How we think about the world colors our memories. While each of these three is distinct and has separate functions, there is a great deal of overlap and integration. Our baser emotions such as fear, anger, lust, guilt, and shame can be overridden by the neocortex. Conversely, rational thought

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