It's challenging as individuals to deal with the world being a scary place. When we deal with stress and fear on an individual basis however, our relationships may suffer as well.
Stress is an interesting animal. There have been so many things written about it and how it effects us. While there are all the physical effects triggered by the release of hormones such as raised heart rate, blood pressure and
respiratory rate, there are also interesting things going on in our brains. The oldest part of the brain, sometimes called the reptilian brain is directing our actions. While this is an instinctual process designed to enable us to survive
as a species, as individuals our perception of the danger determines what we do. Our perception of our level of personal power influences this.
If you perceive that you are more powerful than the danger you will feel compelled to fight. Your blood and hormones will move to your upper body, your arms and torso. You will likely feel anger.
If you perceive that you are less powerful than the danger, you will feel compelled to flee. Your blood and hormones will move to your lower body, your legs and you will likely feel anxiety.
If you perecive that you have no course of action to effect the danger, in other words you have no escape and there's no way to fight it, you will typically freeze. Your mind and body will shut down in a sense, and wait for
instructions. Just like your computer does when it has received too much input too quickly.
If you are in a close relationship with another person whether that person is your spouse, children, friend, co-worker, etc, your brain may possibly fixate on someone close to you as the cause of your danger, pain or issue and suddenly
you are flooded with hostility towards that person.
For example: One day several years ago, my daughter opened the back door and my cat ran out. My little dog, seeing the cat started chasing her. She turned and ran to the nearest "safe" place which happened
to be an Italian Cypress tree. If you have ever seen an Italian Cypress tree, they are like bushes that grow straight up, in this case about 50' feet. My cat is now 40' up one of these very tall bushes and is too terrified to come
down. My first instinct is to yell at my daughter.
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