People tend to separate emotion from thinking. They like to believe that emotion comes from the heart or soul, while the brain controls thinking. However, the brain controls emotions too as emotions start in the brain. To understand the brain, you must think of it as a complicated computer. There are many parts to it and all have a different function but relate to one another. There are four primary parts in the brain that relate to emotions.
The hypothalamus helps with emotional responses but also regulates hormone releases and is considered by some spiritualists to be the connection to the spiritual world. The hippocampus is responsible for memories and helps you comprehend spatial elements while the limbic cortex impacts motivation, mood, and judgment. The amygdala assists in how you respond.
- 1. Fear
Fear prompts a response that keeps you safe in threatening situations. Sometimes fear keeps you out of harm’s way by provoking you to change course or plans. The fear response comes from the amygdala and then the hypothalamus. The fight or flight response comes when the hypothalamus signals adrenal glands to flood the body with hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones then cause a physical response like an increase in breathing and heart rate.
- 2. Anger
Anger also responds to threatening situations. It also starts in the amygdala, which then stimulates the hypothalamus. Unlike fear, anger also stirs the prefrontal cortex, which controls the anger response.
- 3. Happiness
If you are happy, thank your limbic cortex because they are where this feeling begins. Scientists also believe the precuneus plays a part in producing this emotion as it retrieves memories, is responsible for your self-awareness, and helps you focus attention. Experts also think it processes data and uses it to create happy feelings.
- 4. Love
Love doesn’t start in the heart. It begins in the hypothalamus. Yes, the same section of the brain that sends stress hormones throughout the body controls your feelings of love. This is why you get “butterflies” when you see someone you like or have a bit of nervousness when you start to fall for someone.
So, next time you have an emotional response realize that it is all part of a well-functioning brain. You may need to take a step back and allow the logical part of your brain to work in order to think through your immediate emotional response.