In times where our stress levels are high, we can sometimes feel like our bodies and minds are in danger. News, media, and external stressors can create somatic effects on the body. As we digest information that our brains perceive as scary and dangerous, our bodies physically release chemicals of ‘danger alerts’ as a way in which it aims to keep us safe.
This is a beautiful response!
Our brain is working to keep our bodies as safe as possible.
Let’s get technical for a moment. Deep within our temporal lobe in our brains we have an amygdala. The main function of this part of our brain is to perceive external data and create emotions based on the information at hand. Part of the amigdalas main function is to sense danger and create a danger signal to protect us from harm. Our brain sends our cortisol levels up indicating that it is in danger. When we feel like our safety is threatened, our sense of security decreases as our fear increases. This can create feelings of anxiety.
But what can we do?
First, recognize this is a protective response. Your brain is attempting to keep you safe and well. You are working as you should. Communicate with these feelings. Reassure yourself you are safe, you are taking care of yourself, you do not need to be afraid. Thank your brain. Thank it for keeping you safe, for always having your best interest in mind (literally) and for working hard to protect yourself.
We can seek comfort in knowing our brain is helping to keep us safe by sending these responses. We can feel assured and balanced with the understanding that we, as humans, are a unit that is created by mind and body, working in unison.
Take a breath. During times of stress, our systems tend to feel disrupted.
We let our fear brain make decisions for us.
We tend to let our brains wander to uncharted territory.
Rumination won’t change the outcome. All you can do is give yourself a mental workout and try to refocus your attention on to the present moment. Focus on what you can appreciate at this very moment. Gear your thoughts away from what can potentially happen next. Welcome peace not fear.
Take time for yourself. Appreciate your mind and body, and use it to the extent that makes you feel satisfied. Take ten minutes, sit with yourself. Watch your thoughts, but just as you see them, acknowledge and release. There is no reason to stay with them longer than needed. Recognize the purpose they serve, as protection, and express your gratitude for the ability to have such a protector such as your mind.