When you perform any task, brain scans show activity in two areas: the Prefontal Cortex and the Hippocampus.
When you continue to repeat a task, brain scans show a shift in brain activity to two other brain regions in the Limbic System: the Putamen and the Basal Ganglia. This shift happens when the brain decides to transform a repetitive activity into a habit.
The Limbic System is the second oldest part of the brain and it is this older region which has been designated the command and control center for habits.
Why does the brain create habits?
The more primitive areas, such as the Limbic System, use less brain fuel. Also, by creating habits, the Limbic System removes operational control of a repetitive task from the Prefrontal Cortex, the brain’s CEO and the most sophisticated brain region.
This brain shifting, habit creation process not only helps to conserve brain fuel, it also frees up the Prefrontal Cortex, so that it can do more complex things, like planning, creating and decision-making.
We can thank habits for the creation of the the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Airplane, Nasa’s Moon Missions, the Silicon Chip, the Internet, Cell Phones and many other amazing things.
Thanks to habits, the Prefrontal Cortex was freed up to do the planning, creating and thinking needed in order for humans to create and achieve.
Simply put, habits helped put a man on the moon.
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