Why Nurturing Yourself May Be the Key to Happiness

Did you know that along with food and water, the act of nurturing is one of the building blocks to a healthy brain?

I’ve recently come across some fascinating information in Joseph Chilton Pearce’s book, “The Heart-Mind Matrix” that I wish was common knowledge.  Essentially, Pearce says that the successful development of the human brain is based on nurturing. The brain forms into its most advanced and highest versions when a child is cared for and nurtured with consistency. When we are nurtured, we become the best versions of ourselves

I want to explain this a little more, so please allow me to nerd out for a moment.

A cucumber sprout soaking up warmth from the sun.
A cucumber sprout soaking up warmth from the sun.

The human brain consists of three major sections which follow our evolution. The first part of the brain that forms is the reptilian brain. This is the part of the brain that is in charge of making sure we are safe in the world. It is purely instinctual and its number one priority is survival at all costs (think a reptile).

The second part of the brain that forms is the mammalian brain, which forms on top of the reptilian brain. The mammalian brain is responsible for allowing an individual to have emotions, memories, and a sense of connection with others (think of how mammals like to cuddle and connect).

The third part of the brain that forms on top of the other two parts is called the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for higher-order reasoning and thinking. The prefrontal cortex allows us to have self-awareness, think about what we are doing, ask questions like “why?” and to have morality. It is fundamentally the part of the brain that makes us human and capable of complex thought and higher order decisions.

Now, where it really gets juicy is that the full formation of the pre-frontal cortex can only happen when a person feels safe and nurtured. If a person isn’t feeling safe and nurtured, the reptilian brain goes into overdrive. When the reptilian brain is at full throttle, the prefrontal cortex can’t develop to its fullest form. The integration of the reptilian brain, mammalian brain, and prefrontal cortex is all dependent on feeling safe and nurtured.

What does this mean? It means can’t step into our highest potential as a logical, moral, evolved human without nurturing.

So many people who grow up in chaotic homes without proper nurturing get stuck in their reptilian brain and can only think about survival. This can lead to chronic anxiety or depression because the brain and nervous system are stuck in survival mode.  Isn’t that fascinating?

What is most incredible to me is that this information gives us clues about what we need in order to heal ourselves. If nurturing is the missing link in proper brain development, then we know what to give ourselves and others. We can seek out nurturing and loving relationships. And most importantly, we can nurture and love ourselves. This not only feels good, but helps us to create peace, calm, and integration in our brains and our bodies.

It turns out, that nurturing is a spiritual energy. It creates peace, healing, and integration in our brains and relationships.

If you want to evolve into the best version of yourself, nurture yourself.

If you want to help create a more peaceful world, nurture those around you.

Loving yourself and the world around you really is the way to create wholeness.

Ideas To Nurture Yourself:

  1. Get a massage, acupuncture, or facial
  2. Create a home environment that feels good to you – surround yourself in colors, patterns, and textures that feel good
  3. When applying lotion or body oil, really take the time to love yourself and nurture yourself with your own touch
  4. Get creative – paint, draw, sing – Express yourself!
  5. When sad or distressed, hold onto a pillow or stuffed animal
  6. Cuddle (with anyone)
  7. Cook a delicious and nurturing meal for yourself
  8. Buy yourself flowers
  9. Use essential oils that make you feel more grounded, happy, and centered
  10. Do some gentle exercise, like walking or yoga
  11. Put on some music that you love
  12. Hold your hand on your heart and just feel the warmth and love from your own hand
  13. Drink warm tea or take a hot bath – warmth is very nurturing