Click here to re-tweet ‘why going into your automatic freeze response can save your skin. Lessons from the wild.
My good colleague-friend Anthony ‘Twig‘ Wheeler told me about this video clip a few days back. (thanks Twig!, and thanks to Neal Winbald for having them on his site).
We were chatting about the importance of knowing that sometimes, even when we know we maybe “should have” done something to protect ourselves, or have defended ourselves a little more, that Mother Nature’s freeze response really is THE BEST OPTION for our survival. Watch this clip now for the rest of my post to make sense (it’s less than 2 mins long)!
I can bet you that that impala ain’t going back to his buds saying:
“Shit, I should’ve done more to not get pinned down – What an IDIOT I was!”
It was in fact his freeze response that kept him alive. His autonomic, or “automatic” survival system (called the Dorsal Vagal Branch of the Parasympathetic – think Rest/Digest), shut him DOWN for good reason.
I can also bet you that he isn’t going to harp on this incident for years to come. He can’t, he’s got others things to do in his savanna lifestyle.
Here’s the thing:
In human culture when awful stuff happens to us, the best thing for us to do is freeze and retreat – it may save our life. The difference between Mr.Impala and us is that we make ourselves cuckoo by playing over and over in our heads ‘how we could’ve/should’ve fought back’ when in reality it was the best option for us at the time. We do this because we are just more complicated (brain-wise & society-wise) than Mr. Impala.
Our job right now is to acknowledge that we’ve done the BEST we can to keep ourselves afloat and that what we do from now onwards is what matters.
Thank those automatic responses that are hard wired into us. They save us. They key is knowing when, and more importantly HOW to turn them off.
I’ll be returning to my series of post titled: Nervous System Cleansing 101 in the next day. I’m writing them in an attempt to help people start to learn the “HOW”.
Thanks for reading and learning, Irene.