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How to Help Both Brains Feel Safe During Coronavirus, Part 1

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Our thinking brain and survival brain are at odds during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, many choices to calm ourselves are actually exacerbating our stress and anxiety.

Part 1 explains this paradox. Part 2 recommends what we can do instead. Our Two Brains Recent neuroscience research has coalesced around a “dual-processing” model of decision-making, popularized by Daniel Kahneman (2011) as “thinking slow” and “thinking fast.

Thinking slow—our conscious decision-making, reasoning, and willpower—happens in our thinking brain (neocortex). The thinking brain allows us to focus; recall, keep in mind, and update relevant information; and make decisions.

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