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Think Well


Your Nervous System has two main modes of operation: Gas Pedal mode and Brake Pedal mode. Gas Pedal is about survival. It’s what gets activated when you’re in danger, playing sports, are frightened, etc. It is supposed to turn on when needed, then right back off. Brake Pedal is where health and healing happens – your immune system, digestive system, growth and development, sleep, etc. Both are important to life, but you need to spend most of your time on the brakes. The problem is, daily stressors are constantly pushing us towards the Gas Pedal mode. And since that system is about survival, once it gets activated your body doesn’t want to shut it off until it knows you’re okay. And if these stressors are still present in your life, you’re never going to get there and your health is now in jeopardy.

Thinking Well essentially comes down to brain chemistry and balancing the Gas Pedal and Brake Pedal modes. To have more “feel good” moments and fewer “out-of-sorts” moments, you need your body to produce the right neurotransmitters.

“Feel Good” Chemicals

There are two main neurotransmitters that will help you “tap the brakes” that you want to stimulate production of: dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine moves our body into an energetic state of bliss, motivation, and focus. Serotonin keeps us from feeling insecure, lethargic, sad, frustrated, and depressed. We have a lot of influence on our neurotransmitters, so here are some activities that will stimulate the Brake Pedal mode:


  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Affirmations
  • Social interactions
  • Repetitive motor activities (sports)
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Playing an instrument
  • Getting ample sleep
  • Deep breathing
  • Yoga

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Unscheduled play time
  • All forms of exercise
  • Laughing
  • Humor
  • Music
  • Dancing
  • Affection
  • Family activities and rituals
  • Leadership

“Out of Sorts” Chemicals

shutterstock_96021902 copyThere are two main neurotransmitters that will keep you stuck on Gas Pedal Mode and slow down your results from chiropractic care: adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline enables us to push through fatigue until we eventually collapse from exhaustion. Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone, and prevents us from prioritizing and thinking clearly. Daily stressors will stimulate the production of these chemicals, and you want to do whatever you can to inhibit this. Avoiding these activities will have a tremendous benefit to your brain chemistry:


  • Arguing
  • Violent or competitive activities
  • Tight schedules
  • Dehydration
  • Foods high in sugar, caffeine, and additives

  • Fluorescent lighting
  • Lack of fresh air
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration

Parenting can be one of our greatest sources of joy, or the cause of a great deal of stress. It is not a skill we are naturally born with, so learn as much as you can. Try to read 2-3 parenting books a year. Even if you don’t agree with everything in the book you are reading, it will help clarify your own personal parenting style. Also seek out like-minded parents for your circle of friends. Most of the parents here at HFC are holistically-minded and don’t want the traditional “status quo” sort of life for their kids. By surrounding yourself with like-minded people you will build a support network of friends to learn from that will build you up and support you instead of questioning your parenting decisions.