When Your Brain Thinks Your Life Depends On It

Being attached to outcomes can create a conscious and unconscious belief in our brain and body that our “life depends on it”. If we believe that our life depends on it, we can put ourselves into a survival state.

With our Kinesiology clients, we are often balancing the brain and body’s perceptions around attachments and believing that your life (or happiness) depends on seeking or avoiding particular outcomes.

The most common outcomes we client’s brains can become fixated on are:

  • Keeping relationships
  • Competing
  • Financial milestones
  • Getting married or re-married
  • Having a baby
  • Work
  • Gaining other’s approval

Emotional Threats & the Survival Part of Your Brain

Whether we like it or not, our brain and body’s #1 one priority is always going to be to keep us alive as this is the name of the game in “life”.

You might feel this is quite a low benchmark for life goal’s however this is very useful when your basics for survival are scarce or there is a real threat of physical danger.

This is NOT very helpful however when our brain often gets confused about what is a life-threatening versus non-life threatening concern.

The area that causes the brain the most confusion often is emotional threats, rather than physical threats. A perceived emotional attack is usually in response to internally generated emotions in response to an external event.

Our brains and bodies get confused about the nature of the threat and start to try and predict and control external factors in order to create safety and security within. This is generally a futile mission as feeling safe and secure (not in survival) needs to come from finding balance within.

To feel safe and secure within in relation to potential emotional threats or feeling vulnerable, requires that we have healthy self-esteem.

If we don’t have healthy self-esteem, the way we perceive ourselves and others can create the feeling within that we might indeed die or our life is ending if X, Y and Z were to happen. For example, if our wishes to participate & continue in a romantic or business relationship are not mutual. For others it might be the opposite, they feeling guilty if they are not the reciprocator and their plans have changed.

Your Fight or Flight Reflex Can Hijack Your Brain (consciously and unconsciously)

When you sense a sufficient attack on your inner self, your ability to integrate logic and reasoning with the emotional reaction can be very limited. Have you have had the feeling you could even forget your own name in a stressful situation?

Such extreme reactions and emotions often link with unrealistic or inappropriate view. Therefore the connection to what is reality or logical isn’t as easily accessible as when we are calm.

Even if you “know there is nothing to worry about”, if you have a build up of repressed stress that has wound your nervous system up tight, it’s not going to take much set off your reflexes.

For example, if you have had a hectic work schedule for too long, without the appropriate time to restore, this is sufficient to get your reflexes primed. Other factors that the body might perceive as trauma are physical traumas (e.g., car accidents), low nutrient intake, physical illnesses, disease and surgeries, forcing yourself to participate in activities you would prefer not to or any kind of change, particularly if it’s unexpected.

The Straw That Broke the Camels Back

Sometimes if we wind ourselves up over time, our new normal becomes very far from what is healthy “normal” and we have no idea about how differently we could feel. A good sign that you very out of balance in this way is feeling extreme disproportionate reactions to what you know should be minor triggers of stress.

What needs to be managed is everything else that is below the surface that has contributed to creating this trigger-ready survival reflex, not just your response with and relationship to the actual person, people or event that was the final straw.

If there was not the big wind up before where your body feels your are under attack 24/7 or being forced to do something you dislike, there would not be a huge motivation to escape.

With Kinesiology we use combined strategies of supporting you to feel you are worthy and deserve a life you would love & also toning down the survival part of the brain so it’s not set off when it’s not needed.

In Survival, Your Judgment & Decision-Making Often Sucks

Being in survival mode is the opposite of being mindful and present. This can be displayed through a range of behaviours from what can be more benign such as drinking or eating choices or snack attacks to including bigger life impacting decisions, such as relationships.

If you are constantly living in your head in an excess thinking state, this means you are constantly living in the past or the future. If we are living in our heads, it’s more likely we are reacting consciously and unconsciously factors other than what is presented before us (reality).

On top of this, it’s very difficult, and near impossible to stay connected to our hearts and our true authentic selves. Thriving is not a priority when a brain perceives survival is at risk, as this is not a time for love and bonding.

In this not being a time for love and bonding with others, this usually includes yourself too. This can lead do decisions based on low-self love and care.

New But Healthier Can Feel Scary At First

What can also add another layer of complexity with making empowering choices is that we love to stay with comfort or the known as our brain believes the delusion that it’s “safer”. Sometimes the stress is just “new thing” stress alarm bells.

Again this can be from breaking habits from food and alcohol intake to leaping into the unknown to the next evolution of you, whether this is at work, in relationships or any area of your life.

Sometimes its increasing an activity (e.g., stillness), reducing an activity (such as work), increasing a quality (e.g., weight gain) or reducing qualities (e.g., being responsible for others) that triggers off lifelong soundtracks that don’t serve and are not healthy.

Under sufficient challenge, we often reach for crutches to justify our choices based on emotion. Sometimes we confused disempowering beliefs for reality “I must do X, I should do Y, I can’t” , It’s too hard …” “I m not capable of”, “this might be as good as it gets”, “I don’t deserve Y” or any other form of scarcity mindsets your mind can lean on as logic to justify. Using the irrational to pretend you are being rational.

Finding Safety and Security Within Under Stress 

Strong self-awareness and self-esteem (that relationship with yourself) is really what is going to have your back through life’s normal challenges and pressures.

Self-esteem is not a black and white concept, all or nothing and you don’t either have it or you don’t.  Rather all of us are all building this up (or down) at different times in our life with our awareness and choices.

Sometimes our self-esteem and what we find stressful can look a little different in different areas of our life.

If you have strong healthy inner connection to you and your unique preferences and values, you will always have less attachment to other people or events and what they mean about us. This means your perception that you are unsafe or under attack, is going to be significantly lower.

Restore Balance in Your Mind and Body

Using Kinesiology we are always working on muscles, but the number one unseen one is our self-esteem. Self-esteem is an unseen quality within us, but this really is the secret sauce that is our best defence for always feel a sense of inner safety, trust and security within, no matter what changes out there.

Since the survival reflex is born out of fear and the need to control and predict, one of the best strategies is to identify & shift with kinesiology what your limiting beliefs are when you are out of crisis. Finding and staying in balance will ensure that you are resilient and non-reactive to life’s normal challenges and changes.

If you work on reframing beliefs that create inner safety and security your remove the need to control and predict outcomes.  In Kinesiology sessions, we might prompt clients, when a situation arises that sets off their alarm system:

To feel calmer, what would I need to believe to be true?

Many changes trigger perceptions of loss. This is a problemo for many, since nothing in life stays exactly the same.

For example, in a relationship ending scenario, rather than believing: “If this ends, my life is over”, other possibilities that would allow calm would be

  • “if this ends, my life might really be beginning”
  • “If this ends, something else better is coming”
  • “If this ends, this will be an upgrade for me”
  • “if this ends, I will be moving on to the next party”

If you did believe these ones above, there would be no need to control and predict, right? You would be more aware of the reality and truth, that your life doesn’t depend on a particular outcome, event or person & you have everything you need within you to feel safe and secure.

Being in Survival is a Closed-Hearted State

Joy and happiness are really open-hearted states which don’t include controlling and sticking to the same plans of yesterday, last week  or  5-10 years ago necessarily if this no longer healthy.

Feeling like “your life (or happiness) depends on it”, includes tunnel vision and fixation on particular outcomes and rigidity around what that means about us if the outcome were or weren’t present or available.

If you don’t need to control and predict when presented with stress, then you remove a lot of the edge out of the conscious and unconscious triggers of being attached to outcomes and “believing your life depends upon it”.

To be able to access joy, bliss and happiness rather than survival fears and stress, you will need to able to release rigidity and inflexibility and be more spontaneous to flow with how life actually unfolds.

If you are over-attached to what you expected, you might actually lose sight of realistic perceptions of “what is” in the now and the greater peace available to you if your original plans don’t go as expected.

Ironically, releasing these attachments means you will feel more safety and security within, however our is so often very confused by our beliefs & survival reflexes.

We recommend Kinesiology as best placed to address the underlying stresses which make you believe “that your life depends on it”, whether this is conscious or unconscious for you.

© Rachel Smith & Core Kinesiology & Natural Therapies 2018

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