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The Scared Body!

Have you ever experienced this – you’re drifting off to sleep, when suddenly your body jerks violently – like you’re falling – and you come wide awake? It’s called a “Myoclonic Jerk”. When the body is falling asleep, the brain interprets it as DYING… so it sends signals to jerk the body awake! What a fascinating, loyal, but utterly USELESS action on the part of the brain!

The human brain and body are biologically geared to stay alive and they are constantly striving to do so. This primal bodily imperative is good from the point of view of survival of the species, but has such annoying negative consequences too! The fact is the body is always in FEAR – of scarcity, of change, of perceived threats and death… and it generates automatic responses based on this fear.

DO YOU THINK YOU’RE FAT? Well it’s because the human body fears scarcity of food and therefore is always hoarding away fat reserves for a rainy day.

STRESSFUL OFFICE MEETING? Even non-physical stress or conflict makes the body go into a fight or flight mode – raised hackles, rigid muscles prepared to fight or run, elevated heart rate!

NEW PHYSICAL CHALLENGE? The body fears annihilation and reacts by shutting down, even getting sick! Challenges are perceived as death threats and the body goes off tilting at the windmills to fight for life!

AND HOW WE GRAB ON TO A HIGH! Chocolate, alcohol, that person that made you feel good… the body gets addicted faster than 1-2-3, and then lives and acts in constant fear of losing it!

The solution seems to be tough and consistent orders from the CONSCIOUS part of our brain to the PRIMAL body to let go of archaic bodily FEAR when there is no real threat to life… to let go of the stress of staying alive. And then, treating the body like a frisky child – not too harshly, but not too softly either, we gradually direct it to where we want it to go – to health, to courage, to solve a problem, to face a challenge, to adapt to a change…

I freely confess though, that I am not particularly good at this… For example, I’ve never been able to kick that sugar addiction! And I love to swim but my body still seizes with panic when I’m in the deep end of the swimming pool for too long!

I keep trying, however. This afternoon, after the 2,000th try, I was able to let go and relax a little in the deep end of the pool again. I guess my archaic brain needed 2,000 prompts to finally get the message that I wouldn’t die! I’m encouraged!

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