Beware Your Brain!

How often do you update your operating system? Probably about as often as you have a chance. Fix the bugs and all that…

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get an updated version of the gray matter between your ears? I mean, as it is, it’s pretty fabulous in SO many ways, but the biggest “bug” I see is the function of the brain (nervous system, really) that sends us warning signals for eehhhhhverything.

“Ooh, I think my boss just looked annoyed. Uh oh. Does she hate the work I just did? Am I gonna get canned?”

“Ack! My kid was just sooooo rude to me! Is he going to be the next orange-haired narcissist?”

“Ugh! I was late again to that appointment. Why am I so flaky? I’m such an asshole.”

These are just 3 of the bajillion thoughts you might have alerting you to possible and unlikely dangers or problems. And they are 3 examples of ways your mind has a hard time discerning situations that actually need a little fight-or-flight-action from situations that are best approached with calm, curiosity, and a good dose of “Meh–no biggee.”

People have a reeeeally hard time telling the difference between danger and unremarkable human messiness. We confuse the two all the time.

  1. A) Not getting texted back from a love-interest. (Shitty-Feeling Human Messiness)
  2. B) Bus careening toward me on the street. (Real danger–duh)

But our nervous systems respond to situations like A with fight-or-flight response all the time. The software (and hardware) haven’t quite caught up. It’s not a matter of blame: it’s not our fault…it’s about the modeling we’ve witnessed, the education we’ve gotten, and that we have a human body.

Luckily, we can use our conscious minds to intervene. We can use skills like mindfulness, meditation, conscious breathing, self-talk, relaxation, self-care, and counseling to help us respond in ways that feel and work better.

I’ll be writing some upcoming posts specifically on these techniques for managing anxiety and depression: how we can use them and why they work.

Check ’em out! And thank you! <3