Day 555: Ann explains the brain to you

Yesterday, at work, when somebody was describing some powerful, negative, and self-judgmental thoughts, I felt compelled to draw a picture of the brain.

I need to warn you,

  1. I’m a terrible artist and
  2. I’ve not studied, in any real way, the structure of the brain.

You may find both of the above confessions surprising, since I

  1. often focus on visual images here and
  2. am a psychotherapist.

Nevertheless, those are the facts.

After I drew the brain on my office whiteboard, we discussed how negative thoughts can be RIGHT THERE, so quickly,  in the front of  the mind.   We talked about the difficulty of accessing positive thoughts.  We discussed how the part of the brain that stores affirming, hopeful thoughts can seem small, hidden, and difficult to reach.

Are you ready to see my non-scientific and non-artistic drawing of the brain, with shadings and call-outs from yesterday’s discussion?


The negative part of my brain (depicted, above, in front and in blue) is telling me that NOBODY could possibly understand that drawing, and that I’m foolish to include that photo here.

The  positive part of my brain (shown, above, in reddish-purple and in the middle) is telling me the drawing is good enough to make my points. That positive part of my brain also tells me this: if people are confused or have questions, they can let me know.

We agreed, yesterday, that the positive part of any human brain can learn, grow, and become more immediately accessible, with practice.

That part of my brain is telling me, now, to include these other images, also from yesterday:

IMG_6779   IMG_6788  IMG_6783 IMG_6784 IMG_6785  IMG_6786IMG_6790IMG_6792 IMG_6791


The brain works in mysterious ways, doesn’t it?

Thanks to those I work with, to all the different parts of the brain (whether or not I can draw them), to anybody who contributed to the words and images of this post, and to you — of course! — for using your head, today.


© 2014 Ann Koplow (for the brain)

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 44 Comments

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44 thoughts on “Day 555: Ann explains the brain to you

  1. That brain diagram was the easiest one to understand I’ve ever seen — perfect! 😀

  2. I’m thinking the blue section may be too small. In my case it would probably fill 95% of the brain. 😀

    • Again, I’m not good at drawing. Thank you for this perceptive comment (which is filling my brain, now).

      • Your drawing is great. It explains the concept clearly. It’s also such a good illustration, I’d like to send it to an (Indonesian) friend with whom I was discussing negativity and depression last night… if I may.

      • Definitely! I am honored (and the positive part of my brain is growing, again). If you can give me credit in any way (by linking to this post, for example), please do so. (The part of my brain that craves recognition is telling me that.)

  3. I’ve also read that we all have a ‘happiness set-point’ and it is different for each of us. We can train ourselves to lift our set-point, just like we can learn to access the red dot!

    PS — recognition is good! You deserve it.

  4. I loooove this, Ann!!! Thank you for your wit and smarts and keeping it real. Thanks for . . . Getting inside my head today! 😉

  5. Sounds like y’all had a great discussion yesterday! I have been working on the “what’s cool about others” and not comparing myself to them – which is not as easy as you’d think! 🙂

    • Oh, Kate, it’s definitely not easy to break those old habits of comparisons, etc. That’s why there’s so much work for me to do.

  6. Stuff the prefrontal cortex, this is a picture I can understand 🙂
    Yay kitty picture!

  7. I like this post. But I love that dory in the fog!

  8. todessakane2013

    Great post loved it!! Simple, informative, straight to the point, Excellent 🙂

    • Thank you, so much, for this simple, informative, straight to the point, excellent, and lovable comment.

      • todessakane2013

        You are most welcome 🙂

        Have a great rest of the week and keep up the wonderful work 🙂

  9. Your brain drawing and explanations make my thalmus feel hyper Ann.

    And before that statement should give you any negative thoughts in that shaded part of the brain, please let me add that I indeed pulled that statement out of a dubious cloud of what I may or may not have read about the human brain somewhere, sometime, for some reason that I do not recall.

    My point?

    Who knows?

    Maybe I’m trying to use the neutral part outside the blue and red, because it’s so darn large?

    Thanks, Ann, for giving me the chance to: a) show off a big word that I don’t know the meaning of, and; 2) attempt to be humorous.

  10. Gene Phillips

    Nice atmospheric photos to go with your hemispheric drawing…different kinds of blue.

  11. I have studied the brain and I could recognise your drawing. Love the dory in the fog, the signs and the thoughtful illustration of the danger of leaving the theatre by the wrong door.

  12. Your drawing of the brain, with its positive and negative bits, is beautifully clear. Typical that the negative bit is so big and has pushed its way right to the front! It’s a good thing the positive bit can be activated and encouraged through meditation.

  13. Pingback: Day 556: Magic Time | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  14. Right at this moment I feel that the negative part of my brain is much bigger than the one depicted in your image…. I’m struggling to deflate it. I suddenly have those attacks of complete lack of self-confidence and they hurt and are connected to the fear of losing someone I don’t want to lose…. HUGS and thanks for a very touching post.

    • And thank you, for a very touching comment.

      I am wishing and wishing, right now, that you deflate the negative part of your brain and expand your self-confidence, as best you can. HUGS back at you, wonderful Heila.

      • Great tip dear Ann.
        BTW, I am just reading the book: “Transforming Stress. The HeartMath Solution for Relieving Worry, Fatigue, and Tension”, by Doc Childre. I find it very helpful in dealing with insecurities and all kinds of fears I have.

      • Speaking of a great tip, Heila, I will now look out for that book. Hugs and thanks, back at you.

      • 🙂

      • Thanks for your strong wishing… it worked.

  15. It is so annoying how those negative thoughts are at the front!
    Learning to access the positive parts. Thanks.

    • I am happy and honored, Elizabeth, if I contribute, in any way, to your accessing those positive parts of your brain. Thanks so much for the comment.

  16. You really cracked me up with your embedded shout-out. I never would have found it if you hadn’t given me a heads-up. The brain may work in mysterious ways, as you said, but yours always works brilliantly. Thanks for the smile!

    • Thank you for your brilliance, Maureen, which is worth shouting about. And this comment made me smile quite broadly, too.

  17. What’s really remarkable about your post is that my brain looks exactly like that! How did you know? Recently, I have found that if I lean my forehead into a vat of melted chocolate, the “thoughts of bad stuff about yourself” part is cleverly hidden from view. This also does wonders for my unruly bangs.

  18. Pingback: Day 616: Nostalgia | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  19. Pingback: Day 1562: The mind | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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