Stairway to Heaven…or Mental Health

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Led Zeppelin’s 1971 hit, “Stairway to Heaven,” has had an indelible influence on music for generations.  Perhaps it is because the band takes you on a 7 minute and 55-second ride of every musical sound they had in their arsenal.  It has been the soundtrack to countless parties, group Bic illuminations, bong hits, and fumbles into second base.

Its meaning is as diverse as the backdrops from which it is played, but mostly seemed like a walk through Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s mind melt.  A dance of neuropathways mingling with…well…the scent of the 70s.  An inner struggle of mind and soul moving toward the stairway to heaven.

It gives new meaning for the phrase, “Led for my head.”


Are we surprised?  The brain is a mysterious and fascinating machine; so complicated to understand.  Ohhh…it makes me wonder.  Ohhhh…it really makes me wonder.  Why do I do the things I do?  Or the things I don’t want to do?  Can I even change them?  Jimmy Page seemed to think so.  After all, “there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”

So we will attempt to better understand the function of the brain.  With new understanding and some proven techniques for rewiring the brain, we can change the things we do for the better.  And wouldn’t that be nice?

Oh…And it makes me wonder.


Whole Brain

Dan Siegal does great work on making the brain easier to understand.  He explains it in terms of “Upstairs Brain” and “Downstairs Brain.”  You can read more about it in Whole Brain Child, which is one of my favorite books in regard to parenting and relationships in general.  Here is a simply summary of the brain:

Downstairs Brain – (Limbic System) –

  • Produces fear, anger, aggression, worry, anxiety, and selfishness. 
  • Does not work by logic or reason.
  • It is instinctual and needed for survival.
  • Operates out of a negative perspective.
  • Also known as the amygdala or the “reptilian brain.”

 Upstairs Brain – (Frontal Cortex) –

  • Produces empathy, compassion, kindness, understanding, love, and hope.
  • Contains four lobes – Frontal, Parietal, Temporal, and Occipital.
  • When the chemicals in our brain are well balanced, we function from this area.
  • A balanced frontal cortex enhances creativity, imagination, logic, muscle movement, all five senses, emotions, and spirituality.
  • Also known as the neocortex.

Anterior Cingulate – (AC) –

  • The bridge between the downstairs and upstairs brain.
  • Enables us to moderate negative reactions.
  • Enables us to balance reason and emotions.
  • Enables us to regulate emotions.
  • Negative and fearful thinking shuts down the AC.
  • Certain habits/behaviors can strengthen the AC and nurture a healthier quality of life.


By understanding these main parts of the brain and practicing some proven techniques for rewiring it, we can change our habits for the better.  We will discuss those habits in future blogs.  So stay tuned.  Remember…Certain habits/behaviors can strengthen the AC and nurture a healthier quality of life.  

So…Yes!  There’s still time to change the road you’re on.   Oh…And it makes me wonder.

Enjoy the song…you’re humming it anyway.

Mental Wellness Visionary at | Website

Kathryn A. Walker is a pioneering medical researcher and psychiatrist known for her groundbreaking work in the field of mental health, particularly in the area of ketamine treatments. With a deep passion for understanding and alleviating the burden of treatment-resistant mood disorders, Kathryn has dedicated her career to investigating the therapeutic potential of ketamine.

Through her relentless efforts, she has played a pivotal role in shedding light on ketamine’s efficacy in treating conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Her research has not only transformed the way we approach mental health care but has also provided hope to countless individuals who had previously found little relief from conventional treatments.

Kathryn A. Walker’s pioneering contributions continue to shape the landscape of mental health medicine and inspire new avenues of research in the pursuit of better mental well-being for all.

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