Lately I have been advising a lot of people to “fight the lizard”.

It is not because I have watched too many Godzilla movies (because there cannot be too many?) or have herpetophobia (look it up).

No, no…I am on a quest to fight the lizard in my head that tells me some pretty stupid things.

Yep, that’s a thing. It’s a real thing called the lizard brain.

The lizard brain is the most primitive part of your brain.  It is more formally called, the amygdala. It is historically responsible for survival. Back in the day.

Unfortunanely, it still has an incredible amount of influence over your subconscious and conscious thoughts.

YOU too might want to fight the LIZARD.

Let’s break it down.

The lizard brain has three primary directives to keep:

  1. Make sure you eat lots of calorie-rich foods.
  2. Make sure you don’t do anything that requires much effort or energy unless it is necessary for your immediate survival.
  3. Make sure you procreate (often). Yep. Make babies. Lots of them.

This all seems like a great idea when you are a cave (wo)man. But how is the lizard helping us out today?

brain-on-cherry-sudeScience-AAASHave you ever made a decision to do your life differently? To eat better. To exercise regularly. To stop complaining. To live in gratitude. To be better.

And then what happens?

Within days, maybe even hours, of your commitment to this new idea, to this new way of living, do you find yourself back in the same old pattern? What is THAT about?

It’s the damn LIZARD brain.

The lizard brain tells you:

“Who do you think you are? You’ll look stupid if you do that.”

“You can do that another time. Today is not the day”

“You are not smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough, motivated enough…”

Sound familiar?

The lizard brain is stuck in the narrow world of survival. If you cannot recognize when it is talking and the lies it tells you, you are reacting based upon the least advanced and unenlightened part of your brain.

You have evolved to have a pre-frontal cortex, which houses the superior intellect and the most advanced portions of your brain. Our pre-frontal cortex is what sets us apart from other species.

When we tap into our prefrontal cortex, we tap into the wellspring of our innate intelligence and intuition. That’s the place we want to dwell, rather than the rude and hostile mutterings of our pre-hensile selves.

So which brain do you want to follow? The Lizard Brain or the Enlightened Brain?



If you want to learn to battle the lizard (lizard brain) and better access your higher self, consider the following strategy.

1) Learn to recognize the lizard. Once you know the lizard’s pattern, you will recognize him very easily.

The lizard is talking when you make excuses (“I’ll start tomorrow.” or “It won’t hurt anything if I do this just once.”).

The lizard is talking when you judge and attack others (“They are doing it wrong.” Or “What’s wrong with her?”)

The lizard is talking when we say one thing and then do another.

2) Resist the Lizard! When you catch yourself falling into those deeply grooved patterns of “Lizard Thinking” – STOP.

Remind yourself that you have more options and that you can choose to ignore the lizard.

The lizard is holding you back. The lizard is stopping you from stepping into becoming your greatest self. The lizard seems rational because he is so deeply entrenched in your subconscious. Remember that he is a liar.

3) Be BOLD. In order to build new pathways, neurologically and behaviorally, we have to DO NEW THINGS.

Do something that makes you uncomfortable and that sets the lizard a-chatter. Hear the lizard’s voice and DO IT ANYWAY!

Go sing karaoke. Write an article for the school paper. Tell someone about chiropractic. Take a dance class. Ask out that cute girl. Jump out of an airplane.

Every time you do something bold you REBUILD your neurology and become better at facing down the lizard. Once something gets easy, go find something new to do that makes you uncomfortable.

What could you do TODAY to face down the lizard?



maryFlanneryMary Flannery is obsessed with STORY. She loves learning about stories and how to tell them better. She wants to help you do the same. She feels like she should tell you a really good story here but there is not enough room. Dr. Flannery is the Dean of Enrollment at Life West Chiropractic College and founder of ADIO Radio.