Limbic System: Caring for Your Brain’s Limbic System

A highly influential, walnut-sized area – deep in the center of your brain – is live wired with functions all critical to your survival. The limbic system in your brain, in fact, influences problem solving, organization, and rational thought, among other things.

From an evolutionary standpoint, the limbic brain is an “older” part of the brain of mammals, enabling humans to experience and express emotions, freeing them from primitive behaviors and helping to develop the surrounding cerebral cortex.

In order for these functions to have an effect in the world, though, your LS must fuel the passions and desires to enable them.

What Makes Up Your Brain’s Limbic System (LS)?

  • Thalamus is a large structure deep in the center of the brain that relays info to and from the outside world and your cerebral cortex
  • Amygdala is an almond-shaped structure in the temporal lobes involved in emotions and fear responses
  • Hippocampus is a seahorse-shaped structure that helps memories move into long-term storage
  • Hypothalamus is the size of a pearl and controls brain chemicals that make you hungry, sexual, sleepy, exhilarated, angry, or unhappy
  • Olfactory cortex is our sense of smell, which connects to emotional and memory centers

When the LS is overactive you are likely to interpret neutral events through a negative filter. For example, if you have a neutral conversation with someone whose LS is overactive or “negatively set,” he or she is likely to interpret the conversation in a negative way. On the other hand, when this part of the brain is balanced, a positive interpretation of events is more likely to occur.

Appetite, Energy and Sleep Are Influenced by the LS

Your sleep and appetite cycles are controlled by the LS, especially the hypothalamus. Healthy appetite and sleep are essential for optimal health. However, disruptions in the LS can negatively affect sleep and appetite, which may mean an inclination toward too much or too little of either.

LS structures are also intimately involved with bonding and social connectedness. We are social animals; when we are bonded to people in a positive way, we feel better about ourselves and our lives.

Another important function of the LS is to process sense of smell, says Dr. Amen. “Brain messages from all the other senses [sight, hearing, touch, and taste] are sent to a ‘relay station’ before zooming to their final destination in different parts of the brain,” he says. Because your sense of smell (via the nose) goes directly to the LS, it’s easy to understand why aroma has such a profound impact on emotions.

3 Ways to Balance and Optimize Your LS

Physical Exercise: One study comparing exercise with antidepressants found that after 12 weeks, both therapies were equally effective. At 10 months, exercise was actually more effective – and it has no side effects.

Vitamins and Supplements: Supplements containing Omega-3 fatty acids and fish oils – especially those containing a higher EPA content, and S-adenosylmethionine – have both been shown to support a healthier, happier mood.  

Find Passionate Purpose: What is important to you? What and who do you care deeply about? Answering these questions can help your mood; and they can also help you live a longer, fuller life.

To learn more about balancing your limbic system or how Amen Clinics can help you with depression or negative feelings in your life, contact the Amen Clinics Care Center online or call 888-288-9834 today.

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  1. Ben Ugoji says:

    Thanks for the information on the workings of the Brain’s Limbic System (LS) and on how to care for the LS.

  2. WalterHero says:

    But only the rich and wealthy can afford your treatment Mr.Amen and all those Supplements costs lots of money in the long run .
    And it would be a good idea to lower the cost of SPECT imaging for people whom have not have the financial resources and other aspect of your therapy , that would be really kind of you .

    • PaulandLea says:

      Agreed. Oh wouldn’t it be nice if we all c afford this and/ or have insurance cover this. One w think that being highly functional, knowing/understanding oneself (via these specs analysis), wb conducive to being more productive in society. A win-win. So how long w this take for the general public to be able to receive such great care as this.

    • Tom says:

      Dr Amen has written several books on the subject complete with questions. In at least one of the books he writes that he does this so that people who cannot afford to get a SPECT scan can still get help.

      • Barbi says:

        Which books?

        • Lauren says:

          “Change your brain, Change your body” has comprehensive set of questions to assist identifying the parts of the brain one can increase function in, which is at the end of the book. Wonderful tool. The book is segmented into chapters addressing the issues with that area of the brain and what to do and not do in support of it.

          Another book, Change your brain, change your life, with chapters for each area of the brain. No questionnaire. Provides the care and support to heal it.

          There may be other books. These are very informative and clear. Highly recommend.

  3. Judy Stephenson Fenton says:

    Very Interesting! I appreciate this good information!

  4. Dianna Sierra says:

    I’m surfing for solutions. This article is so brief. I didn’t actually read where it tells us how to take care of the LS. The thing is is that many people who are researching the LS possibly have a sick LS. Also get this, multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, electromagnetic sensitivity are all results of a miswired LS. I didn’t get much from this article.

    • JC says:

      The solution is Dynamic Neural Retraining System. Check it out at retraining the It works. I highly recommend going to the in person seminar. I’m in recovery from limbic system dysfunction and my health has improved greatly thanks to DNRS.

  5. Rainni Lacy says:

    Amen Clinic does not accept insurance, HOWEVER there is an opportunity to submit a claim to your insurance company and attempt reimbursement. I did okay. Additionally, if you call to inquire about an appointment they send information and suggestions they have a family rate for 3 or more. Paying for preventative maintenance for myself and my dependents is fair. Being proactive about my health is a choice so I personally do certain things to get the most out of what I partake. I try to exercise and most of my meals are creative and healthy some are not.
    FYI: SPECT is used allover the nation maybe you can reduce costs by having the report read by Amen Clinic. I don’t know that answer. Blessings All.

  6. Kathy says:

    The average person cannot afford this help. If Dr Amen really cared about helping people these costs would not be so high. I have suffered my entire life. I was Soo releived to hear they opened a clinic in IL. My hopes for finally getting help and and possibly knowing what it would feel like to feel normal and be happy and have some type of a real life were completely shattered when I found out it would cost me $5000. Dr Amen I believe is in this for the $$$ more then he is to help people.


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