Your Mental Wellness Podcast for Your Voice and Sanity

Tame your reptile brain (fight/flight/freeze) for mental wellness

August 23, 2021 Sibylle Georgianna The Leadership Practice Season 1 Episode 6
Your Mental Wellness Podcast for Your Voice and Sanity
Tame your reptile brain (fight/flight/freeze) for mental wellness
Show Notes Transcript

20 Signs That Your Reptile Brain (AKA limbic system) Is in Overdrive:

1. Focusing on pain or body checking:

Do you find yourself obsessively talking or thinking about symptoms of illness?

2. Scanning your environment:

Do you find yourself scanning your surroundings for potential threats? 

3. Reading the future:
Do you find yourself predicting how you will react if you engage in certain activities or go specific places? Or do you often predict how others will react? Do you avoid situations, or alter the way that you live in a self-protective manner?

4. Obsessing about fear: (of chemicals, fatigue, pain or anxiety):
Do you find yourself constantly worrying about the future or your state of health? I

5. Mood changes:
Do you often find yourself feeling helpless, sad, resentful, angry, depressed or anxious? Do you feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster? Do you have thoughts of suicide?

6. Negative thinking patterns:
Do you find yourself in persistent negative thinking patterns about yourself, others or the world? Do you feel victimized by other people or circumstances? When things are going well, do you find yourself thinking it won't last?

7. Negative Self-Dialogue:
Do you find that you are impatient with yourself or others? Do you notice that your inner dialogue or conversations are largely based on judgement of self or others? Do you take things personally?

8. Believing that you cannot change or succeed because your illness is worse, not as bad or different:
Do you find that you often feel different and separate from others?

9. Lack of self-love:
Do you find that you don’t take time during the day to take care of yourself in a loving and nurturing way?

10. Living by your feelings:
Do you often find yourself planning your day in accordance with how your body feels or your energy levels?

11. Addictive behaviors:
Do you find yourself engaging in behaviors that you know are unhealthy but cannot stop them?

12. Being the expert or comparing this program with other information:
Do you find yourself saying “I already know that” when you are going through this program?

13. Blaming:
Do you often find that you are stuck in a pattern of blaming other people for the circumstances of your life?

14. Justifying:
Do you find yourself justifying your reactions based on past experiences, outdated beliefs, or your personality characteristics?

15. Complaining:
Do you find yourself complaining about how you feel, complaining about other people, or expressing dissatisfaction regarding the state of the world?

16. Over analyzing – spending too much time asking “why?"
Do you find yourself over analyzing situations or trying to find the root cause of your reactions? Do you over-process or excessively analyze your emotions or experiences?18. Comparing your results to others:
Do you find yourself comparing your results to other people? Do you find that you are impatient with your recovery process?
19. Defining yourself through the perspective of illness and/or symptoms:
Do you find yourself talking about symptoms of illness when someone asks how you are?20. Procrastination


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Sibylle Georgianna:

I'm so excited that I can share with you right from the get go. One of the most impacting type of strategies that I have found through my training. And I also believe through provision and a bigger picture of my life, I get to share this type of work with my clients, as well as with myself. And sometimes even with my family, if they allow me to share with them in this strategy helps us be different in the face of our own nervous system. So our nervous system is set up in a way that it runs on an autopilot, you do not need to think, should I breathe, should I swallow? Should I fall asleep, that is all governed by a part of our nervous system in our brain that we call an autonomic nervous system. One of the parts of the brain that governs that type of nervous system is called the limbic system, it's the reptilian brain, a lot of times it's referred to as this structure in our brain that is primitive, or is something that is kind of really in the middle and in the deep, deepest part of our brain tucked away. And it governs what I call the F's of the fight and flight response in case of danger, or our freeze response. When we feel in danger, unsafe briefings frozen or stuck Wi Fi, we can move Wi Fi, or we can't say anything, we don't really like that free freeze response. The limbic system also governs and regulates our temperature, and but in the body, sleep cycle, our appetite, our desire to eat our capacity to record emotions, or pay attention to emotional cues. And a part of the limbic system is also a barrier to make new memories, and especially strong ones, and the face of adversity, potentially, and dangerous situations. So this limbic system has a life of its own. So we don't have to think is this dangerous or not? the limbic system just takes care of that and assesses very briefly in a split second, what's going on, with a lot going on, that system can be in a rat, it can do its automatic assessments, and can give us a sense of learned helplessness. So that means that in situations where we technically have the ability to say yes or no or to keep moving, because it's not dangerous, the limbic system can have the capacity to run on its own, based on what we have to do. And as it runs on its own, we find ourselves feeling frozen or stuck. We find ourselves with anxiety. Although we do have a lot of things going for us. And there is no need for us to be nervous or anxious. It can give us the sense that we may not know how to move forward, while we procrastinate. Although we tell ourselves why am I procrastinating on this. We also can find ourselves being overwhelmed, easily. finding ourselves wanting to shut down, accept less work, just wanting to withdraw and stay away from people, although we love people, although we are a people person. But if our mind has created a shortcut that tells us otherwise, we may find ourselves in that rut of withdrawal, anxiety or depression. And as I practice all of these things that I learned about on myself first and have my supervisors, my former supervisors, I should say, use them on me. So I know how they feel before I use them with my clients. I found myself over the summer trying of this strategy.

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And I noticed how stuck my nervous system was it was striking to me. So I want to work with you or actually just walk you through those steps that you can use to unfreeze yourself to get yourself unstuck, to move yourself into new activities and things that you love that just because we had so much going on, we put it on the backburner. Here we go. Step number. First of all, we kind of figure out that makes you stuck while that we're on the way out on the way to withdraw on the way to feel overwhelmed, and we may catch ourselves either feeling those things for We find ourselves on the way to feeling overwhelmed. And I can find myself easily there. When I noticed that I get teary that I get upset that I get impatient. And once we find we figure out, there's something going on with us emotionally, we can gently stop with telling ourselves hush hush hush was something like halt, halt, halt or even saying to yourself, stop, stop, stop, stop telling yourself to stop whatever you're dealing with emotionally, may feel be the last thing you're thinking. But that's the first step in changing that limbic system automatic default. We're just reminding ourselves that something's going on that my brain a few stuck in a rut, and it's sending me false messages. For example, I could feel like I want to cry, or pull away. And in the past, that would cause me to be fearful or anxious, or have other symptoms, which then would make me even feel further wanting to pour oil into my hole and close the door and physically withdraw. But in this first step, I say, Okay, wait a minute, something's going on. Now, I know that these feelings, depression and anxiety, draw are result of the result of my limbic system that has been overly active. In my second step of this process, I get to congratulate myself to catch it. Okay, so well, you got it, you found yourself wanting to withdraw. Good job finding this out. Now I know that these feelings that I have, is just a way of my brain responding automatically. I would then in my next step, Chrome gratulate. Myself, although that sounds very silly, in particular, that limbic system that has been working so hard, and it is a way to stop it from keeping running. Because if we talk to ourselves, the part in the middle of our brain that makes us feel stuck, and in a rut gets to be overwritten, or replaced in activity by my prefrontal cortex, or the part of my brain that's right behind my eyes, so to speak. And by using that front part of my brain, I get to gently calm down that limbic system. In addition to congratulating myself that I caught this response, I would wait make a bodily motion, as if you were walking to the attic, and you had spider webs on your shirt on your shoulder, you will make a sweeping motion. And as I do a sweeping motion, and I'm telling myself several contests per job, in nervous system or limbic system, you did work overtime, really good work, because you did the best to keep you safe and protected. But now, that part limbic system, you can relax now as I'm doing something else, so that that part of my brain that's on the on the survival on the final flight does not have to be working that hard anymore. With that sweeping motion that you may hear me do as I'm making this recording, and you you could just sweep your shoulders sweep your sleeves, we give physical inputs to another part of our brain. That physical input that codes that we are touching ourselves, again, is another way to interrupt that limbic system overdrive. My voice me talking to myself, overrides the limbic system means doing the physical motions, such as little as moving my seats, standing up, swiping my chest as if I want to get some spider webs of that is another or enough interaction with my body that allows that limbic system to not be in overdrive anymore. In the next step here, I would then want to draw from a different choice, a different belief, or actually something that I get to choose instead of the limbic system, choosing it for me. What I mean by that is, once I've done my wiping, I get to go through my list of beliefs that I have my values, what I want to see come about and that's the One that I want to go to, that's the one that I want to repeat to myself. And that will then gently downshift that limbic system overdrive. So for example, when I find myself stuck going and tell myself, my core belief is that I can be calm, and I'm capable in any situation. I'm lovable, and worthwhile. I get to enjoy rich relationships with my family and others, I get to emotionally be able to make it in this country or make it in the situations I get to have a voice in use it. I get to have healthy control. My body is able to handle what comes my way. And those things, these simple statements as I get to repeat them over and over to myself, ideally, they can again with me, just thinking them just saying them out loud, downshift that freeze response, D activate the fight or flight replace the feeling frozen or the feeling of procrastination, fear of terror, they can replace sensitivities, even to noise to additional things coming my way. And instead, can give me this awesome sense of what we call agency or the ability to determine the actions that I want to take and then pursue. So as silly as that sounds, and as simple as these things seem. In summary, I just want to give you the rundown on this simple, simple, really simple strategy that will help you to downshift your nervous system. Step one, stop, stop, stop, find whatever's going on. In tell yourself to stop. Step two, tell yourself my brain is stuck in a rut. And it's sending my body these messages that in the past gave me overreactions feeling overwhelm, anxiety, fear, depression, and that would lead to avoiding and withdraw. Step four, I tell myself that I know now that this is just my limbic system running on overdrive. And I congratulate myself that I get to choose differently now. Step five, I tell my limbic system. Thanks for protecting me and for working overdrive. But you can relax now, there's more in place now, that can support me, so you do not need to be in overdriving. Step six, I get to choose my values, and my core beliefs that get to guide my actions and reactions. For example, I choose I'm calm and capable in any situation. I am lovable. And I get to love and enjoy my life. You fill in the blank, and you draw from those properties that you want to pursue at any time. Idea colleague, Annie hopper in, I believe she's in Canada has a fantastic program if you want to have clearly like a big background info as well as videos and all of that good stuff to watch. But until then, I want to enjoy with you. Practicing our values of faith are our core beliefs that will allow our body to be at its best and joy