You always hear people talking about how stress is the cause of their health and emotional problems.
Yet, I’m going to ask you to consider for a moment that it isn’t the stress per se that we should blame.
—> What if were to tell you that the way in which your very own personal BIOLOGY is wired to respond to stress (threat, danger, un-safety) is the issue?
—> And that how this happens is dependent on how you learned about responding to stress in the first place?
We Learned From Our Primary Caretakers (mom, dad, family).
How your nervous system (the part of you that responds to stress) functions is a result of your early interactions with your parents and caretakers.
To better understand this, a little explanation on the neurophysiology of stress regulation is critical.
Why It Does “Run In The Family!”
When you are born you don’t have any capacity to self-regulate and soothe yourself.
The two main things that are hard wired and you know how to do really well are:
1) Fight and flight (adrenaline and survival systems) responses.
2) Freeze response system.
Meaning, when you are born you get startled easily, you know when you are hungry, cold, when you are in danger. How you respond to everyday life as well as your own bodily sensations and experiences starts off very black and white and there are few distinctions. With apprenticeship (from your caregivers) you learn if something is good or bad.
You are either taught how to calm yourself down via a well regulated adult nervous system that can self-regulate and soothe itself, or not. And sadly, the bulk of adults do not know how to do this very well.
Please note that being able to self-regulate doesn’t mean not getting stressed or having up’s and down’s – it means being able to be in those spaces that might be uncomfortable and then coming through and out of it via your own capacities..
This lack of natural self regulation is a cultural sickness rampant in our industrialized world – and breaking the generational cycles of either dis-organized and/or artificial self-regulation (via drugs, alcohol, medication, and even addictive exercise and/or mind body classes that bring us out of our body, etc…) can be one of the best and toughest endeavours a person and family takes on.
But first, a Little More About the Freeze Response System and The Vagus Nerve