Feeling stressed? Learn to operate the chemical factory in your brain

I’m glad you’re here and interested in finding out more about how to have a happier life!  Many questions people ask me begin with “Why do I” or “How do I” and for all the questions, the answers are surprisingly similar, because although it appears that there are many, many different problems, there is actually only one.  And that one universal problem of judging ourselves or others, thus causing all sorts of pain,  shows up in countless millions of forms - be they physical or psychological, personal or collective.  I bet that’s a surprise to hear! 


Key points: 

  1. Despite the myriad forms of problems, they all reduce to only one.
  2. The brain responds the same way to anything that poses a threat, either to the physical body or ego sense of self.
  3. Learn the basics of turning off stress so you can do the all-important work of changing your mind about YOU.

How The Brain Works

Now here’s a question you might find familiar:  “Why do I feel upset all the time?”  First, upset in general is caused by introducing chemicals into the body when the stress response is activated.  And that response is activated when you feel unsafe.  So, to feel upset all the time, you’re feeling unsafe all the time.

Now you might respond with, “No, I don’t feel unsafe all the time.” believing lack of safety refers only to a physical threat and you don’t feel physically threatened.  Well, there are other elements at play that can signal your brain that a threat exists.  It does not differentiate between a threat to your physical body or to your ego sense of self.  For instance, possibly you believe that no matter what you do, it isn’t ever quite right, or you secretly believe if someone knew who you really were, they wouldn’t like you and you would be exposed or humiliated.  The list of unfortunate things we can believe about ourselves is almost endless.  So the brain responds in the same way to “I will be humiliated if someone finds out who I really am” or “A pit bull is chasing me down the street.”  It turns on the stress response so you can fight, flee, or freeze  - the three types of escape mechanisms all animals and humans have.  It’s only a matter of degree.   

Deactivating The Stress Response

For many of us on a daily basis, the “culprit,” in terms of initiating the stress response, will be more “no one likes me” than “a tree is going to fall on my house.” Therefore, to feel comfortable and safe, that stress response must be turned off and only you can do that.  By being fully willing to feel that emotional discomfort and not fight against it, the chemicals will calm down and you can think straight again. That’s the first step.  Then you must begin to look at the ways you, unwittingly, are turning on that stress response by being unkind to yourself, judging yourself, and looking for what’s wrong.  You know when you’re criticizing or belittling yourself or others, so catch yourself and stop! 

For lots more about these all-important topics, please visit Carolhowe.com to find out how you are in charge and can have a peaceful and productive life! 

Thanks for taking care of yourself - we all benefit!

Carol

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