The Deep Limbic System is walnut sized and located in the center of the brain. It is responsible for helping us experience passion, emotion and desire. It adds emotional spice to our life. When it is operating positively, it shows in our interest in and passion for a variety of activities. When it operates negatively the result can be depression. The Deep Limbic System is associated with emotional memories, positive and negative.

Traumatic events like a car accident, loss of a job or the death of a loved one can leave a negative imprint on this part of the brain. It is also affected by what we refer to as postpartum depression, PMS, divorce and the empty nest syndrome. It is recognized by moodiness, negative thinking, decreased motivation, appetite or sleep problems, social isolation and can affect sexual responsiveness.

These issues may require psychological and/or medical assistance in the form of doctor visits and prescriptions. Other ways to work on the issue involve behavior modification: avoid negative thinking and focus on pleasant memories, surround yourself with positive people, bond more frequently with your children, work on building people skills, recognize and encourage physical contact with others, aromatherapy, and physical exercise.

On page 53 of Dr. Amen’s book, and on his website (http://www.amenclinics.com) you will find the Deep Limbic Checklist. It consists of a list of twenty behaviors. You use it to rate yourself, or another person, as to how frequently behaviors are exhibited. Five or more ratings of frequent or very frequent indicate a high likelihood of deep limbic problems.

If you have a copy of the book, read about ANTs starting on page 55. ANTs stands for automatic negative thoughts. These are thoughts that come up automatically. If this is a problem area for you or a friend, you may want to reread some of my blogs on meditation as well because meditation trains our minds to become aware of which thoughts are flowing through our mind.

Next blog: The Basal Ganglia

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