Posterior Cingulate Cortex

The posterior cingulate cortex is a central part of the default mode network (DMN). 

The Default Mode Network (DMN) is active during mind wandering, self-referential thinking, and when a person is not actively performing a specific task.  Healthy activity of the DMN includes introspection, day dreaming, imagining scenarios, and revisiting decisions from the past to help better imagine the future.  

Excessive mind wandering may draw us to ruminate over past problems or have anxiety about the future. We can get stuck in a default mode of living in the past or obsessing about our future unless we train our minds to be more present.  The more the mind wanders, generally the more attention tilts toward resentment, regret, and self-criticism.

The posterior cingulate cortex is located in the upper area of the limbic system and is thought to be especially involved in autobiographical memory retrieval.  

It works in conjunction with the precuneus of the parietal lobe which is involved in self-consciousness, memory, and visuospatial function.

Externally focused tasks, sustained attention, and observing sensory experience have been shown to decrease activation in the posterior cingulate.  

Living in and with gratitude of God’s presence with us in each moment will change our self-awareness, it will strengthen our attention, decrease the stress response, and gear us more toward love and compassion.  It will also help us gaincontrol over the posterior cingulate, which when unregulated can tilt toward excessive mind wandering, anxiety and self-criticism.