Brain Coupling: Can You Connect?

Can you CONNECT?

Or is your VAGAL BRAKE letting your heart race you to ruin?

When you feel safe, your vagal brake is holding your heart in a steady rhythm of rest and restoration. It’s call homeostasis and it puts your parasympathetic nervous system in control.

When you feel threatened, or you are foolishly thinking you’re a maven at multi-taking, your vagal brake lets up, sends your heart racing, and every stress hormone in your body goes into FLIGHT/FLIGHT.

Sometimes we need to be primed with stress hormones for emergencies and high levels of competition.  But emergencies are not daily and you’re probably not competing in the Olympics.   BUT YOU KNOW PEOPLE WHO LIVE AS THOUGH THEY WERE.

You don’t want to be one of them.

WE DO NOT CONNECT WITH OTHERS IN FIGHT/FLIGHT except in unhealthy ways filled with stress.  It is not the tie that binds.  Maybe if you’re being rescued from a burning fire by a hero, it’s lasting. 

What are the odds?

We make the connections that are lasting from CALM/CONNECT.  This state actually prepares us to do what is called “brain coupling.”  We plug into other people and feel their feelings and identify with them.  We have these magic times where we feel understood and on common ground. 

You have 40,000 muscles in your face that the other person is reading unconsciously,  to see if they can trust you with who they really are. 

How many times do other people read our faces and know that we are too busy and too preoccupied to open to them on any meaningful level? 

HINT: a smile is a great start in the kind of brain coupling that actually could lead to a friend or a lover. Think of that one connection where it all started.

How many times do you let that happen?

We learn to live in a way that applies a vagal brake to our very hearts, calms us, and prepares us to be in touch with other people because we can hear them and we can understand them.  We are in a place where we can get in touch with another person emotionally. 

How often does that happen?

You can’t see 40,000 facial muscles in a text message, and your brain will not read a picture like it will your face.

Here is something like a miracle in a few words.  Your capacity for CALM/CONNECT rather than FIGHT/FLIGHT prepares you to connect with other people in ways that actually make your vagal brake more effective.  Your vagal tone can get stronger over a lifetime; it’s not fixed. 

The tone of the beating of your heart becomes stronger in some amazing ways, just from connecting more with others. 

We call it “brain coupling”.

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute