Neurobiology – The Nervous System

I mentioned the other day that the left and right brains don’t know of each others existence for many years.  Suffice to say, obviously when they are connected, their integration may not encapsulate every piece that came before and in most cases will not.  Where this becomes a problem is when memories present themselves through triggers.

The right brain holds the determination of whether something is safe or not, then initiates the proper protocol i.e.: flight, fight, freeze, submit or attach. It is the right brain that is our “survival mode”. So as we move through life, things will “trigger” us and remind us of the previous occasions where a decision on action must be made. But the triggers are a physical response, we feel them and this again is in the right brain.

But, now that both sides are connected and ‘whole”, the left side is also aware & involved. For sake of easy explanation, it is quite often confused because it has no idea what happened, why the body is feeling this way now or what on earth to do about it. No matter how hard the left brain tries to logic it out, it isn’t possible while the feelings are happening and no known history it can work with.

Quite simply, the left brain cannot “logic” away the feelings that we hold within our nervous system, from a lifetime of the right brain controlling things.  This is also why triggers seem like ambushes – they are a body response, not a brain response and they happen instantly.  The body truly holds all the memories of what happens to us and can’t lie, it simply isn’t possible.

As we grow and take steps to awareness and healing, we can begin to recognize some of the signs our body is showing us so we can address “triggers” before they become a full blown panic / reactive situation.  This takes patience and awareness as quite often traumas cause people to ‘split” their awareness and connectedness of their bodies.  This is a natural safety feature & survival mechanism, but it is no longer useful and must be cared for in a gentle and supportive fashion.

I will go into further detail in another post, but I hope this small piece of information, will help you to build trust and belief in yourself, that you can do this work.  You have survived up until now and knowing how your body has coped and adapted during those times, will go a long way to helping you re-frame and re-connect.


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