The Neuroscience of Resilience: Morality

(Post 9/9 in a series)

As we learned in The Neuroscience of Resilience:  Intuition, ”Intuition is a deep and profound knowing often below the level of conscious processing of what makes the most sense.  The pre-frontal cortex integrates that ‘felt’  knowing with conscious knowing and allows our intuition to guide our choices.   To realize my pain is part of the pain of the human condition, and get on with the work of coping.”  As we continue on in this series on resilience, we are exploring the following questions:

Can we build up our own resilience?  How?  What does the brain and neuroscience have to do with it?

If you haven’t seen the previous posts in this series, I highly recommend you begin with the first article where we explored how regulation of the autonomic nervous system helps us to stay calm and engaged.  It will be useful for you to have the background information and read the follow-up pieces so you can more easily follow where we are going.  Now let’s at another aspect of the neuroscience of resilience:


The words integration and integrity have the same Latin root meaning whole or entire. This last function of the  pre-frontal cortex – morality – is not about right or wrong in the sense of following the rules.  It’s more based on empathy, and an understanding of the inter-connectedness of all beings, and therefore we can make choices not just for personal survival (which the amygdala does full-time) but for the common good.  And when we can let ourselves care about the common good and receive from the common good, we can be much more connected and much more resilient.

(This is a permission granted adaptation of the June 2010 newsletter by Linda Graham, MFT).

Linda Graham, MFT

Linda Graham, MFT

Linda Graham, MFT is the author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being (New World Library). Linda specializes in relationship counseling in full-time private practice in Corte Madera, CA. She offers trainings and consultation nationwide on the integration of relational psychology, mindfulness and neuroscience.

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