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How the MPFC Integrates
the Different Parts of Your Brain

Remember to Breathe


          On the home page, we asked, “What if there was one thing that could change everything in your life?  And what if that one thing could help you to be more disciplined, have more energy, improve your health, and give you a sense of greater joy, meaning and purpose in life?”

          And then, we rather boldly said:  “Well, actually, there is one thing…. remember to breathe!”

          At which point you probably thought to yourself,  “It can’t be that simple.”  

         But in a way, it really is that simple. When you activate your MPFC (the middle region of your pre-frontal cortex, just behind the middle of your forehead) it automatically starts to balance and integrate the different parts of your brain, which in turn will help you bring everything in your life into greater harmony and balance.


     When the MPFC is well-developed, it functions as "captain of the ship,"  harmonizing and integrating all parts of the brain and body, giving rise to the experience of living from a core of calm, strength, ease and contentment.

          So activating your MPFC is the key to integration.  But what does “integration” mean?  What does it look like in the brain, and in our lives? 

Defining Integration

          In a completely “unintegrated” brain, the instinctive, emotional, and thinking brains would be like office workers in separate cubicles who don’t communicate with each other.  A wise manager who wanted to foster integration would remove the cubicles and encourage the workers to learn to work together harmoniously while respecting each other’s unique contribution.


          In an integrated brain, the MPFC serves the function of the wise manager, helping the different parts of the brain to work together more effectively.

Introducing Dan Siegel

Dan Siegel Teaching Hand Model of the Brain

          In recent years, there’s been a great deal of research showing the many ways that the MPFC helps to integrate the parts of the brain.  The research  we’ve been sharing with you on this site is drawn from many sources, but it is based largely on the work of psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher Dan Siegel. 

          It was Siegel who developed the “Wheel of Awareness” metaphor to help people understand how the MPFC (the ‘hub” of the wheel) can regulate, coordinate, and harmonize your body, mind, and emotions.

          When the MPFC is fulfilling its role as "captain of the ship," it's like having your attention anchored at the hub of the wheel.  From the hub, you can view the experiences on the rim of the wheel without getting lost in them.  This makes is easier to see things in perspective, to make balanced choices, and to live a more balanced life.

          Dan Siegel has described a number of different ways in which the process of integration occurs.  These include integration of the upstairs and downstairs brain, left and right hemispheres of the brain, integration of your life story, your various "selves", and interpersonal integration. 

Moving On

          If you're still feeling at all doubtful about  how possible it is to really change the brain, we recommend you check out the Train Your Brain page(s).  We think they'll provide you with the confidence and inspiration you'll need start the practicing the techniques and changing your own brain.   

          If you'd like to learn more about the different kinds of integration, check out these pages:

Integrating Your Upstairs and Downstairs Brain
Integrating the Left and Right Hemispheres of Your Brain
Integrating Your Life Story
Integrating Our Many "Selves"
Interpersonal Integration