The Brain- Introduction

The brain is an amazing organ. It monitors, regulates, initiates basic drives, stores and retrieves information, performs intellectual functions, produces and interprets language, processes visual and auditory data, and, it's only the size of a coconut. The brain works using a vast connection of nerve cells, billions in fact, that connects with billions of other nerve cells.
To get a visual of the parts of your brain, hold up your hand. Place your thumb across your palm and then close your fingers over your thumb. There is your brain. Your arm is the brain stem or messenger from the brain. The outer part of your hand is the cortex. This is where rational thinking occurs. You fingers that are bent over your thumb represent your frontal cortex. Here is where parasympathetic and sympathetic responses live as well as your executive functioning such as thoughts on right and wrong and decision-making. If you lift your fingers you see your thumb. This represents the limbic system. The limbic system is a very important part of mental health nursing. Here is where the amygdala lives which controls anger and sadness. The hippocampus is also here, which is part of memory. Overall, the limbic system controls emotion and plays a role in addiction. Notice that when you close your fingers, or your frontal lobe, over your thumb, they touch. What does that mean? Well, the limbic system and frontal cortex affect each other. Remember that the brain forms from back to front. So the frontal cortex is the last to form. Think of a toddler. What happens when they don’t get what they want? They scream, they cry, maybe has a temper tantrum. This is because the toddle lives in the limbic system. The child has not yet learned to connect decision-making, the frontal cortex, with emotions. Many theorists believe that we are truly emotional beings and we are taught to think and rationalize by those around us. Is this why people behave the way that they do?