Neuroscience is the study of the Brain and how it functions.
The Brain is like your Body Computer. It manages itself – It manages how the Brain functions and It also manages how all parts of the Body function
Here is a diagram to show the different parts of the Brain.
The Brain is in charge of deciding what action to take in response to the environment. It uses the 5 senses to decide if the world around us is safe or dangerous
The five senses are used to scan the environment to decide if the surrounding environment is safe in which case the Brain instructs the Body Muscles to Relax and that allows the large creative part of the Brain to take over. This part of the Brain is called the Frontal Cortex.
If the scanning of the environment through the five senses comes back as threatening or dangerous that passes on the management of the dangerous situation to a smaller part of the Brain that specialises in managing Threats and Danger. This part is called the Amygdala. It constitutes a fraction of the Frontal Cortex. It manages the dangerous situation through three mechanisms
This solution is an instruction to engage with the danger and fight it
This solution is implemented when the Fight option is seen as unsafe or unproductive
This is the final solution where Fight or Flight have been assessed as not productive or dangerous. The only remaining solution is to Freeze either out of helplessness or to play dead and avoid being attacked.
That Part of the Brain the Amygdala acts quite fast to protect us from danger, as if the danger is a lion coming to physically attack us. It would not be reasonable in the case of a lion to think deeply about what to do to defend and protect oneself. Instant reaction is needed urgently. Because of that reason, that part of the Brain, the Amygdala and a few other resources servicing it within the brain, issue instructions to the body to secrete hormones like Adrenaline and Cortisol.
These 2 hormones give the body the ability to act above and beyond our capability. You may have heard about heroic actions in a war situation, or at an accident scene where one person was able to lift a car, or run with great speed in spite of having a broken hip. This is not normal behaviour. This is beyond our human capacity. The reason this was possible was due to Adrenaline and Cortisol have been issued in the body through instructions from the Amygdala side of the Brain which we can call the Emergency Brain. This Emergency Brain caused us to be able to act in a more powerful way to save our lives or someone else’s life. The more scary the situation, the more hormones are issued to counter the danger.
This is amazing but there is a problem.
The problem is that this Emergency Brain Strategy is possible to implement in Emergency ONLY. This means we cannot keep acting like it is an emergency on a daily basis. The Body and Brain cannot take it. They are not designed for that. They cannot encounter dangers on a daily basis.
This is what Stress does to you
It misleads the Brain and Body into thinking we are in an emergency on a daily basis. This is like an ongoing Chronic Dangerous Situation.
This is when Mental and/or Physical Health start to break down.
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