Imagine a world where global leaders don’t destroy millions of people’s lives and their homes. Where there are no angry demonstrations or rallies against people or groups. This can happen. This can happen now. Never think like a crocodile. Crocodiles are angry. Crocodiles are stressed because they only think about themselves. Never think like a crocodile. Be your true self, not anyone else. Think like a human from the heart with kindness and giving. Think from the mind with courage, solving problems and helping others, and innovation to improve people’s lives. Be exceptional by being your true self. Thrive on your uniqueness.
Copyright© 2022 by Gary Epler, M.D. All rights reserved. This podcast is for general informational and educational purposes only and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
Think LIke a Human / Never Like a Crocodile
Dr. Gary Epler – The new way of life is to know where you’re thinking from. Think from the heart with kindness and think from the mind with creativity to solve problems and help others. Think like a human, never like a crocodile.
Joan – What’d you mean, think like a crocodile?
Crocodiles are angry and stressed. They only think about themselves. Don’t think this way. It will make your life miserable, and you’ll be unhappy. You’ll never achieve the satisfaction of a fulfilled life. You’ll never live a healthy life.
That doesn’t sound so great. Why would anyone think like a crocodile?
The human brain starts out as a pod of cells and evolves into the primitive crocodile brain which is useful as an infant for getting food and a diaper change. The brain continues to develop into the teenage years where it’s useful for learning independence, but the brain lacks the advanced prefrontal lobe for making the right life choices. By 25, that prefrontal lobe is fully developed and propels people into responsible, productive adults who make positive contributions to society.
Sounds like the crocodile brain should be left behind. Is the crocodile brain active in everyone?
Everyone has the crocodile brain, and it’s active! Furthermore, it doesn’t require sleep, thrives on junk food, and doesn’t like exercise. This is because it functions by instinct. This brain region will save your life in a dangerous situation. You’re unaware of this because the actions are instant and so fast they don’t register in your conscious thinking. This sets you for the safest position in a severe car accident. This moves you an inch away from a falling tree or an inch from an unmarked hole in the street or sidewalk. The crocodile brain is good when it does this, but this region has two bad thinking actions.
What’d you mean by bad thinking?
Crocodiles are angry. This thinking comes from the amygdala anger region. Crocodiles only think about themselves. This comes from the cingulate stress center region. Angry or stressed? You’re thinking from the crocodile brain.
What’d you mean?
Prolonged anger and stress are very unhealthy. They cause the adrenalin cortisol response which increases blood pressure, shuts down the digestive and immune systems, and causes inflammation which results in heart disease, strokes, and cancer. Life is filled with triggers for anger and stress. You can’t change that, and you don’t need to. But, you do need to learn how to limit thinking from these two centers.
How do you do that?
11:13 Gary – You have six to eight seconds before this thinking is harmful because, like a crocodile, anger is a natural response to something that’s taken away from you. One way to limit you time in the anger center is feel the anger, let it peak in six to eight seconds, and move on. Feel the anger, don’t think. Don’t have a second thought about the cause. Don’t build a story. Feel the anger, let it pass. Do the same thing with stress. You’re in a stressful situation, feel the stress, let it peak, and move on to thinking from somewhere else.
Why does the anger and stress stop after six to eight seconds?
The anger response is triggered by a potential threat. If there is no life-threatening danger to the crocodile brain, then the parasympathetic calming system kicks in and neutralizes the response restoring calm.
Calm sounds good. Crocodiles only think about themselves. What does this thinking have to do with humans?
It’s stress in humans. We now have an explanation for the cause of stress. It’s simple. Whenever you think about yourself. You’re stressed. Whenever your stressed, you’re thinking about yourself. For example, when you think about your problems or trying to be someone else, you have stress. If you complain, criticize, or blame, then you’re stressed because you’re thinking about yourself. If you’re trying to please others or letting someone else tell you who you are, or you’re trying to be your job title, then you’re stressed.
What happens if you think about the cause of the anger or the stress?
You get more anger and more stress. You need to train yourself not to think about the person or the event that caused the anger because this will continue to trigger the unhealthy adrenaline response. That’s because the crocodile brain continues to see a threat. What’s worse, this means the calming response to neutralize the anger won’t happen. So, feel the anger for six to eight seconds and let it peak. Don’t think about the situation. Then the calming response will neutralize the anger.
That makes sense. What do you do after the anger or stress peaks?
Think from another location. There are four more locations you can think from, and you can only think from one location at a time. If you’re thinking from the crocodile brain with anger or stress, then you can’t think from anywhere else. You can’t think from the heart with kindness or forgiveness. You can’t think from the mind with creativity to solve problems or help others.
Joan – Think like a human, never like a crocodile. Do you have any closing comments?
Dr. Gary Epler – Imagine a world where global leaders don’t destroy millions of people’s lives and their homes. Where there are no angry demonstrations or rallies against anyone or any group. This can happen. This can happen now. Never think like a crocodile. Crocodiles are angry. Crocodiles are stressed because they only think about themselves. Never think like a crocodile. Be your true self, not anyone else. Think like a human from the heart with kindness and giving. Think from the mind with courage, to solve problems and help others, and innovation to improve people’s lives. Be exceptional by being your true self. Thrive on your uniqueness.