Day Two: The Curious Cranial Cocktail of Chemistry Inside Our Brains

Ever felt that your body has a mind of its own? Some days you can’t get out of bed and on others you’re so excited you can’t sleep?!

Cranial Cocktail illustration - four people next to a bottle with a label that reads 'Take control of your emotional homunculus.'

This is your ‘Brain’s Amazing Drugs Cabinet’– the part of your brain that determines how we see, act and react to the world around us based on our emotions and the ways we’ve learned to react to things in the past.

An illustrated note that reads 'Welcome to the drugs cabinet in your mind! Open with caution!'

Everything we do, from learning to walk to playing a musical instrument, happens because our Emotional Homunculus backs up info about every situation, working out how best to react to them. Over time, it uses emotions – good or bad, pleasure or pain, risk or reward – to build up a template for how we behave.

It’s kind of like a vinyl record that has grooves scratched into it over our lifetime: a map of how we connect to the world around us.

So how does it do this? Well, inside your head are many powerful chemicals (for example, Dopamine and Adrenaline all working together to create different emotional states). Who knew! We call this your ‘Brain’s Amazing Drugs Cabinet’.

Two illustrated bottles, one labelled 'Dopamine' and the other labelled 'Adrenaline.'

In young people the levels and triggers for chemicals are always changing due to the new experiences we’re trying out i.e. first serious relationship, falling out with friends, or arguing within your family.The trick is to maintain the best balance between these chemicals to help keep you healthy and happy.

This week we’re going to give you some tips on how to do that. So join us on Facebook and Twitter @sccrcentre for all #CranialCocktail stuff this week and to share your #TopTips.

SCCR images subject to copyright. Illustrations by Hannah Foley, Owling About.