How to reduce stress, anxiety, and anger by learning about your primitive brain!


The brain: Our bodies supercomputer, CEO, and top general. But, even the best of CEOs can get confused, and so does your brain. Your brain has loads of numerous functions, from keeping you breathing and not thinking about it, to solving advanced physics problems.

Brain power
Are you impressed by your brain yet?

So, how does your brain make your life harder? How does  more stressed? help you with stress? And how does understanding this reduce stress, anger, anxiety, and depression?
First understand that your brain has evolved over millions of years for survival, not for living in a complex society with rules, laws, expectations, and customs. Or at least your reptilian brain has not. Your reptilian brain is in charge of keeping you alive. AND is the CEO of your body when a threat is present. 

For example, there is a part of your brain that is CONSTANTLY scanning for threats. This part of your brain, that’s responsible for survival, is ready to take over your body to save your life in an instant, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are also more pre-disposed to seeing threats than anything else and are more likely to avoid pain than seek joy or pleasure.
When this part of your brain perceives a threat, whether it be real or not, it is immediately ready to run away, fight, or freeze. This is great when the caveman (or woman) version of you turns a corner, and a bear is there. It will then release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Hormones that prepare you for danger.
Did you know that this part of the brain that reacts to a bear with the same deadly seriousness may also react to your aunt Bernice saying that your casserole is burnt, making you angry and reactive with yelling?
Don’t worry too much though, we’ve all probably had anxiety at a time that didn’t make complete sense, or overreacted in anger at someone who didn’t deserve it, and that’s because your subconscious perceived something that was a threat to you, whether it be a threat to your sense of safety, sense of self or identity, or independence, or anything else you could think of.
So here’s the secret to changing your behavior, and an overall great way to reduce your negative emotions: from fear to rage.

First: you now understand that your brain is constantly scanning for threats, even if it doesn’t feel that way. It’s autonomic part of your brain's functioning. So when you feel yourself becoming angry, stressed, anxious, or freezing up, remind yourself that you aren’t being threatened. That you are safe, and secure in who you are, (unless you aren’t safe, and are being physically threatened, then get out of there!).
Second: If you are already to the point where you feel so angry, so nervous, or overwhelmed that your behavior is being influenced in a way that will cause you to do something that you will regret, take a break! This is called flooding when you are flooded with hormones and emotions that are designed for survival. You’re filled with adrenaline like you’re being chased by a tiger, but in actuality, you’re at a family reunion surrounded by your grandmother's decorative wall china.
So tell everyone you are becoming a bit too angry or emotional to think clearly, and that you need a break and the discussion will be finished later. Give a specific time that you will bring up this point of contention again, so that they do not think you are trying to sweep any issue at hand under the rug or reject them which might put them into the fight, flight freeze state.

Third: Do something to help you calm down, and come back into a more calm, clear-minded state of being. If there is anything that you need to take care of that is increasing your stress, write down what you are going to do about it, and schedule a time to do it. 
Here’s a great video full of ways to reduce stress and anxiety!
  • Heidi Sammons