The Body REmembers what the mind forgets.
When we break a bone we go to a doctor and she sets the bone and then places us in a cast . But, our body does the healing. Given the right conditions and a safe environment we heal our-self. This is true for emotional injuries as well as physical injuries.
When our coping mechanisms are overwhelmed we no longer feel safe. This lack of safety triggers our fight, flight, or freeze response. Often it is socially inappropriate to physically strike others, or to flee from their presence. But, our autonomic nervous system still mobilizes accordingly. We are so conditioned to repressing this physiological process that it escapes our conscious awareness.
Our autonomic nervous system regulates the respiratory, cardiovascular, adrenal, digestive, and adipose systems. Our capacity to relax is directly correlated to our skill at regulation of our ANS. When we encounter high arousal situations more frequently than we can regulate we develop burnout.
Feelings of helplessness, immobility, and freezing. If hyper arousal is the nervous system’s accelerator, a sense of overwhelming-helplessness is its brake. These feelings of stuck, trapped, overwhelmed, and frozen, are not just a perception but a very real physiological state.
Like all mammals we have an innate capacity to triumph over burnout. If a gazelle gets attacked by a lion but manages to escape, when the gazelle is safe, its entire body will tremble until t has shaken out the excess charge; and it will return back to the herd seemingly unchanged. We have autonomic trembling responses. Chattering teeth, shivering, are natural reactions to a drop in temperature. This is one of the few examples that is still socially acceptable to express. When we are aroused and unable to act, this response is absorbed into the body as excess muscle tissue tension.
Neuroscience research is now consistently providing evidence that it is not a lack of understanding or insight that perpetuates burnout. When our ANS is ringing the not safe alarm, insight is all but impossible to pay attention to.
Often we are frustrated through this process as we continue to shift through self-help books while we cycling through careers and relationships. Chasing our dreams. Training our skills through new degrees, certifications, and resume building projects. Still unsatisfied pursuing happiness we adjust our diets, movement regimes, adding and subtracting super-foods, and nutrients. Silently suffering as we grind through our daily lives looking forward to our next reward anxiously anticipating the arrival of our happiness.
When we create a safe and consistent strategy to express these physiological process we enhance our innate capacity to heal. Express our concerns without judgement to someone that we do not have a primary relationship. Create a system that support our physiology capacity through regulating blood sugar. Use a conscious physiological interruption process to regulate the ANS in the moment. Develop a practice that allows us to shake off the physiological mobilizing chemicals. Use an emergent learning process to update our implicit memories to reflect our current self-concept. These strategies create the cast that allows us to leverage our bodies innate healing capacities to combat Burnout.