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Thinking vs feeling, our left and right brain: how to quiet the mind for inner peace

In my training as an aromatherapist and especially facial reflexologist, I had the pleasure of exploring the fascinating aspects of our brain, its anatomy and functions, its contralateral control and the differences of our left and right hemispheres. An incredible machine!

As our face is an interface of the brain, I developed a deep interest in working on the face. On the face is where all our senses - with the exception of touch - are located, so the sensory chemical receptors have a very short distance to travel to the brain in a very short time. Facial reflexology and aromatherapy affect the central nervous system and are fantastic helpers to balance, ground us and help us to stop our mind from the chatter and put us in the space of feeling rather than thinking so that we can feel peace rather than negative emotions, anxiety, agitation and even depression.

Massaging the face has an extremely deep relaxing effect and it is rare that clients don't go into deep sleep during the treatment. Clients often share with me their difficulty to stop their mind, difficulty to relax and switch off and are happily surprised to realize, at the end of the treatment, that they have just woken up from a deep sleep and feel wonderfully relaxed, peaceful and rebalanced. Even the most "agitated" client will tell me: “it takes me a while to stop my thoughts but after less than half an hour I am gone". So, it really works, and why is that, what is the secret to achieve this beautiful sense of peace? The feeling good element and the pleasant sensory stimulations are all taking you to the right side of your brain.

If you would like to explore this further, please read on... and watch the videos clicking on the links below.

Jill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who dedicated her life to the study and research of the brain's biological differences in mental illnesses, driven by the desire to understand her brother's diversity as he had schizophrenia. She had the amazing opportunity to study the brain from inside out having experienced a stroke herself with a hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain. She gives a detailed description of the right and left brain functions as her left brain shut down and she fully experienced being in her right brain only. She describes herself as an infant in a woman body.

Author of "A stroke of insight" she has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, here is the link for those of you who would like to understand their brain a bit more and understand that we are in charge of controlling our thoughts, all explained by an award winning brain scientist.

The brain is made of two cerebral hemispheres which are separated and process information differently. The two hemispheres have two very distinct "personalities" and different perceptions of reality: the left brain is for thinking, the right brain is for feeling and they have a way to communicate with each other through the corpus callosum

The two brain hemispheres exhibit what is called the contralateral control: which means the left hemisphere controls the right side of our body and the right hemisphere controls the left side. Between the two hemispheres is a band of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. The job of the corpus callosum is to help the two hemispheres communicate with each other.

The right brain is in the present moment, here right now. It processes information picked through the sensory system. Gives us the awareness of connectedness with all there is. In the right brain there is no judgment or fear, everything is perfect in the now moment. The right brain sees the bigger picture, gives us context of everything and gives us the most subtle understandings. It is aware of language and its emotional content but it is the left brain that interprets the language and performs the function. In the right brain we find our intuition; it is our ability to experience deep inner peace.

The left brain is about past and future. It picks up details and categorizes and organizes information. It is the ability to think methodically, sequentially and linearly. It is that voice that reminds you about your everyday routine. It is intellectual. It is the ability to communicate and connect with the external world. It thinks in language. It gives you your self-identity, the "I am”, the single individual awareness separated from the whole universe. The left brain is all about critical judgment; it is from the left brain that mental chatter comes from.

So they are very different in their functions and the ideal is to have a perfect balance between the two.

I find it fascinating the way Dr. Bolte Taylor describes the brain: “cells that we can control by paying attention to what we are thinking. Our thoughts are created by tiny little group of cells about the size of a peanut, sitting in our left hemisphere and many of us let that little peanut rule our lives. We have to recognize that it is just a group of cells that is designed to tell stories in order for us to feel safe in the external world. If we could remove that “peanut", we would lose language. So the ego is one of the prices we have to pay for language.”

So, how to ease the brain chatter?

“Pay attention to your thoughts, it is your choice. Come to the present moment. Set your ego aside and just focus on the now because everything is just in your mind, literally, it is just neurons in your brain! Pay attention to self-talk, pay attention to that voice. The left hemisphere is the ego, the right one is your awareness. Go to your sense of oneness and peace and connect with all there is, because we are at one with all that exists.”

She tells how that inner peace is just literally a thought away when you decide to shift into the consciousness of the right hemisphere.

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