Just now while grabbing a few almonds from the pantry I dropped one and my super-fast reflexes kicked in and I caught it. Although this may seem out of the ordinary to some these super powers are very much normal though may be driven by stress.
When our stress baseline is heightened we enter a state that we can call survival mode. In this state we approach life with a measure of hyper vigilance which increases our spatial awareness. Food is one of our primitive needs and a high emphasis is placed on it by our subconscious mind. Losing one almond may not be the end of the world though when that craving hits and every chew is so satisfying there comes an urgency to enjoy every second of that almond…for me anyway.
The part of our brain in this case that is primarily concerned with survival is the Amygdala. The amygdala is connected to various other parts of our emotional and conscious brain regions. The amazing thing about our amygdala is that it has direct access to our senses and due to the wiring being much faster than some connections to the conscious mind it can make use of its own intelligence and make a decision to react for protection. The amygdala has the ability to send out signals through our central nervous system to innervate muscles and react within thousands of a second, avoiding the impending tragedy of that almond hitting the floor and having the excruciating task of making a choice if the 5 second rule really is a valid way of deciding if eating food that has touched the ground is really a good idea 😉
Although knowing that our emotional brain can react much faster than our conscious cortical parts of our brain can be interesting though it’s particularly useful from the point of view of a mental health professional in assessing a client and the effects of hyper vigilance on their lives. If we think about it, it becomes clear why a martial artist like Bruce lee can have lightning fast reflexes and react before an opponent can make contact in battle.
If you are one of the many that have an overly excessive awareness of your environment it’s possible that your homeostatic balance point is elevated, and your body is over producing stress chemicals leading to chronic illness. Such imbalance will generally manifest as Stress and anxiety leading to depression. This response is very natural when there is a threat present though if it becomes chronic to the point where you are constantly startled, highly alert, can’t sleep and your thoughts can’t be turned off it may need to be addressed.
This cycle can be very taxing and energy draining leaving you feeling fatigues with little drive and motivation to get through your day.
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Clinical Hypnotherapist, Qualified NLP Practitioner, Mindfulness Stress Reduction Teacher, and holds Certificate 4 in Fatigue Management.
I believe that we have all the resources within us that are needed to heal ourselves, although having someone that has walked the walk and undertaken the training needed to facilitate you in effecting the change is essential. Find out how you can work with me here.
BY: Scott Allerton
Overcoming Anxiety, Stress Management