# The four major brain systems that maintains a healthy sense of control

The systems are:

  1. The executive control system (The pilot)

Activates when the chemicals in our brain are in balance, and deactivates on stress. Responsible in making a thoughtful decision, therefore in control of our situation. It’s easy for this system to go offline when we are stressed where we’ll be making impulsive and dumb decisions.

  1. The stress response system (The lion fighter)

Activates on stress. It gives us sharper instincts, it triggers the fight or flight response. This is an important system as there are situations in our lives that can’t be handled with thoughtful decisions, but unfortunately may impede the other systems when the stress is prolonged. Our sharper instincts won’t help us learn and make decisions.

  1. The motivational system (The cheerleader)

Deactivates under stress. The “reward centre” releases dopamines. Optimal level of dopamines allows Flow experience. It’s harder to want to do something when you dopamine is low, which would happen when you’re under chronic stress.

  1. The resting state (The buddha)

Activates when we’re doing nothing, and deactivates on stress. It processes and connects our life events. This is the part of the brain that process complicated information and allows us to be truly creative.

# References

The Self-Driven Child (p. 15)

Four major brain systems are involved in developing and maintaining a healthy sense of control: the executive control system, the stress response system, the motivation system, and the reseting state system.

The Self-Driven Child (p. 19)

(The cheerleader) […] In acclaimed stress researcher Robert Sapolsky’s words, “Dopamine’s more about the wanting than the getting”17. It is the key to drive.

The Self-Driven Child (p. 20)

(The buddha) […] if you’re not reading, watching television, or on your phone, your default mode network is projecting the future and sorting out the past. It’s processing your life. […].
A healthy default mode network is necessary for the human brain to rejuvenate, store information in more permanent locations, gain perspective, process complicated ideas, and be truly creative. It has also been linked in young people to the development of a strong sense of identity and a capacity for empathy.19.

The Self-Driven Child (p. 138)

All of this leads to what we think of as “aha!” Moments. The musician, bestselling writer, and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin emphasises that insights are far more likely to come when you are in the mind-wandering mode than in the task-focused mode. It is only when we let our minds wander that we make unexpected connections between things that we did not realise were connected. This can help you solve problems that previously seemed unsolvable.6