By Guest Blogger Lorraine Faehndrich
You may know that negative thinking is hard on your body and contributes to pain and illness. You may even have a doctor or other health care provider who recommends that you “reduce stress” and try to think more positively in order to heal your body. If so, and you’ve tried to think more positively, you probably also know that this is much easier said than done!
Nothing triggers stressful, negative, fearful thinking like pain and illness.
When your health is compromised and you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms that you don’t understand, that hurt a lot, that isolate you and limit your ability to do the things you want to do, and you haven’t found a doctor that can help, it can send your amygdala (or what I like to call your inner lizard) into a tail spin.
The amygdala is the oldest part of the brain, and is often referred to as the reptilian brain (hence inner lizard). It is the part of our brain that stores emotional memory and it is wired to keep us safe. The way it does this is to constantly scan the environment for potential dangers. When it finds one, it triggers the sympathetic nervous system (aka the fight or flight response) to prepare the body to run or fight (or freeze – like a bunny).
This system is very effective when the dangers in your environment come in the form of something you need to run from, or fight with, to stay safe – say a tiger or a bear.
When activated, the fight or flight response causes the release of “stress hormones” from your adrenal glands, including cortisol and epinephrine. It increases you heart rate and blood pressure, increases muscle tension, and decreases blood flow to your skin, digestive and reproductive tracts. All things that help you deal with an immediate, present, and real threat to your current safety.
The problem is that in today’s day and age, for the vast majority of us, there is nothing to run from or physically fight with. So most of the things that your brain registers as dangerous are not real, present, or immediate threats to your safety. On the contrary, they are thoughts about what could happen or has happened, and at the moment, they exist only in your mind.
If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, the dangers your inner lizard is registering may sound something like this:...
To read this blog post in its entirety, please click the following link: pelvicpainrehab.com/blog/20...