Stress, we all get stressed at some point in our lives and back in the days of hunting and living in the wild this stress could help in situations.
This is where fight, flight or freeze come in.
However, in our modern-day society our stresses are not of a tiger chasing us, but a bad word said about us on social media or negative news.
If we were faced with such physical threats, then the fight response may come in handy and once the threat had been absolved the body’s balance would be restored. Or possibly the flight response was used, and the energy and adrenaline would be physically used again restoring balance within the body, but in a digital world a tap tap tap on a keybored will not remove the energy surge that your body produces. These unused hormones can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed or anxiety attacks. The modern-day response to stress has in some become freeze, supressing our physical and mental reactions to threat. How many times have you just tried to ignore the problem in hope it would go away?
This has created a tsunami of chronic physical pain and neurological disorders. We have begun to build the foundations in a new field of scientific study, this is known as psychophysiological disease.
How many times a day do you check your social media? The stress could be happening constantly throughout your day, never being turned off.
An unfriending on social media or an irrational fear of taking the escalator or elevator whilst out shopping may seem like an insignificant event, but they’re not. If it’s irrational, it’s emotional. Your smart brain is being shut down and your emotional brain takes over. Emotional memory images are created as a result of traumatic experiences. Your mind has kept the emotional imprint of the original event to keep you safe. Whenever something similar to the first-time experience occurs, it triggers the original stress response. Suddenly the irrational becomes rational, and you are free from the nonconscious loop that you were trapped in. Sadly, it doesn’t stop at mental health, the constant flow of neurochemicals owing to this stress response, erodes and attacks the physical body.
Even without being a body language expert you can see cues of when someone is talking about something/someone they like compared to the barriers that they create when not wanting to talk about something/someone they dislike. Our subconscious oversees these responses and barriers trying to keep us safe. This can become problematic in some areas of life.
Emotional Memory Images (EMI’s)
Mental health problems and many chronic health conditions stem from emotional memory images (EMIs), created as a result of adverse traumatic experiences.
When these EMIs are triggered, we are immediately transported back into the original event, leaving us helpless. If we come across an event that remotely resembles the initial trauma then our subconscious triggers a stress response, otherwise known as the fight or flight (or freeze) response.
The survival response at the time of the original event engaged our body’s natural alarm system. Whatever decision that our subconscious mind chose then, is the one that will continue to influence our perception of reality today.
As we get older we would like to think that we get wiser but our unconscious mind never forgets. Survival is paramount and your mind will continually react or re-enact your past, until the EMI is removed.
Imagine you are being shouted at by your boss, you know you have done nothing wrong but immediately you cower away and become silent. You may be unaware that this was the same reaction you had when your Father shouted at you as a child. To cower and be quiet was your subconsciouses response to a threat to keep you safe. Even though you are now an adult and have power and strength, this emotional memory image still exists in your subconscious and this kept you safe in the past.
In order to respond quickly enough to the danger in our environment, blood and oxygen are diverted away from our thinking brain to the reptilian brain, the subconscious is now in charge.
Our subconscious signals to the amygdala (fear centre) to prepare the body for conflict, suddenly we no longer have control of the situation, and we can only react with fight, flight, or freeze.
Unaware that the real trigger of this stress response occurred in our past (often decades ago) we retrofit the cause of this stress. Feelings in the present can be deceptive. The source of our problem may not be what we are currently engaged in. However, we rationalise the irrational to justify unconsciously triggered behaviour that doesn’t serve us.
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