Memory lapses, irritability, confusion (especially left/right confusion), poor reading comprehension, self-destructive behaviors? These and many other signs can indicate that the body is in a state of overwhelm in what we call “sympathetic overload.” This means that the nervous system is in a chronic state of fight or flight.

When faced with an extremely stressful situation, our first natural reaction is to flee or “flight” mode. If we cannot flee, then we go into a defensive or “fight” mode. Either way, there are physical changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Digestion slows or stops to allow the person to deal with whatever the crisis is. One part of our brain that controls this is called the “amygdala” and according to Matthew Lieberman of UCLA, we can lose 10-15 IQ points when our amygdala gets “hijacked” during times of stress.

There are individuals, however, that stay in a chronic state of fight/flight. Their threshold for stress is very low so that anything can spiral them into this amygdala hijack. For these people, they may experience life in a confrontational state and mow people over emotionally and physically. Others run away from problems and refuse to hear certain things. They will avoid conflict at all cost, sweeping it under the rug. Then there are some who are literally frozen by fear. They cannot make any decisions or move forward in life. Lastly, there are those who unable to cope with life and have weak vitality. All of these are coping mechanisms for stress, but coping mechanisms do not change the impact that stress has on health.

BodyTalk uses a technique called Switching, which helps to reset a person’s threshold for stress. It allows the body to remain calm during crisis. Switching is the second technique in the BodyTalk Access routine. Separate from BodyTalk sessions with a practitioner, BodyTalk Access is a set of techniques from the BodyTalk System that forms a system to help address the day-to-day needs of the individual.

Please join us over the next few months as we continue to explore BodyTalk techniques and how BodyTalk can help you.

Kathi Springman

Click here for a downloadable version of this article as it was printed in Natural Awakenings OKC April 2013.

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