Oct 17, 2021
7 mins read
What's On My Mind is a weekly newsletter where I share some of my thoughts, stories, and ideas to raise awareness; enable personal growth; nourish an open mind; encourage self-discovery; and empowering myself and others with individual responsibility.
"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Self-awareness = self-learning = self-knowledge = self-healing = self-realization
I hope you find them of any use.
Your brain on fear
Fear is a basic survival emotion. It helps us identify and recognize the possibility of a threat. And once it determines a threat is present, our brain triggers our sympathetic nervous system into action, commonly known as the fight or flight response. And while fear is necessary to keep us safe, the problem in our modern world is the threats around us aren’t as cut and dry as an apex predator hunting us.
When our brain senses a threat, a multitude of physiological things occur in our body. Our digestive system slows, our pupils dilate, our breathing speeds up, and blood rushes to our muscles, preparing us for action. But over time, our brain has begun to identify things such as stress as fear triggers. This means no matter how natural it is to feel fear, living in this constant state can have adverse effects on our brain. Most of the time, we are able to use our rational brain to overcome the feeling of fear. However, when fear becomes chronic, this ability diminishes. And persistent fear can have serious consequences on the brain.
When our brain activates our fear response, it sends an increased surge of hormones to certain parts of the brain, primarily the amygdala and the hippocampus. This increase in hormones allows the brain to focus on the danger and store the event in our memory, enabling us to recognize the specific threat in the future.
But when this activation occurs for long periods of time, these areas of the brain risk becoming damaged. Because the brain is hyper-aware and focused on the threat, other events and memories can get fragmented or lost entirely. Our ability to form new long-term memory becomes compromised, and our brain will use our fear-tainted memories as confirmation that the world is a fearful place.
In addition to memory, the amygdala regulates emotion and decision-making. When it is in a constantly heightened state triggered by chronic fear, it impairs our ability to process both in a consistent manner.
A hyperactive amygdala will misread signals around us misinterpreting and misunderstanding the stimuli in our environment. The tendency will be to define everything in relation to fear, making us overreact to even the smallest of situations. In addition, because fear speeds us up, we feel a pressure or a need to process information faster, leading to impulsive decision making, as our ability to assess information rationally is overtaken by our intense emotions.
The hormones the brain releases when our fear response is triggered are meant to streamline bodily functions so we can either fight or run. Ideally, these hormones dissipate when the threat is over, allowing our body to resume its normally balanced functionality.
But when we face constant fear, these hormones stay in our brain with several damaging consequences. Immediate symptoms can include feeling dizzy, nauseous, and headaches. Long term symptoms can be extensive, causing damage to our cardiovascular system, our digestive system, our respiratory system, and our immune system.
Living in a constant state of fear means our brain is overproducing stress-related hormones on a near-constant basis. This reduces our levels of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. Without these happy chemicals, we are highly susceptible to forming long-term mental health problems such as chronic stress disorder, severe anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Fear is a natural emotion experienced by everyone. But it becomes harmful once fear becomes a habit. Beyond being mentally crippling, it can have grave effects on our physical health as well. Identifying the problem early is necessary to help get things under control. Meditation, deep breathing, avoiding fearmongering media outlets, and focused thought are all excellent techniques to help break the fear cycle.
Teachings & Insights
The things you can see when you slow down - page 93
Being a critic is easy.
But if the critic tries to run the operation,
he soon understands that nothing is as easy as his criticisms.
Criticism without a solution is merely an inflation of the critic's ego.
Video I want to share
A series of new studies suggest mitochondria have protective immune protective properties that may help 'keep you safe' during these challenging times. Curiously, no one seems to be emphasizing exercise or fasting to improve mitochondrial health. Here's the science...
Quote to contemplate
"You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself." - Jordan B. Peterson
Fundamental - Relationships: Energy vampires
Relationships are always an energy exchange. To stay feeling our best, we must ask ourselves: Who gives us energy? Who saps it? Positive energy in others can be rejuvenating. In contrast, energy vampires exude negative energy that drains you.
What is an energy vampire?
Energy vampires are usually overly dramatic people, who perceive minor problems and events as catastrophic. Anything bad that can happen will happen to them, and they’ll expect you to listen and absorb all the drama that they’ll overwhelm you with. However, none of that is ever their fault or a thing they can do anything about. They won’t take responsibility for their lives, and they will always blame other people for everything. They may use you to complain about the injustice and harm that other people did to them, or they can even make you the culprit!
Just like they’re never guilty for anything bad that happens, they’ll try to take credits for anything good. Whatever you did, they did more and better. They always know everything better than you and everyone else. Their constant one-upping you will drive you mad. They may use every opportunity to point your mistakes and faults out, to the point of bullying. Energy vampires live in a self-centred world. Their problems are bigger and more important than everyone else’s, they’re better than everyone else, impeccable, and always a victim. The world revolves around them.
The behaviour of energy vampires arises from their insecurity, emptiness, and low self-esteem. They’re hungry for attention, empathy, and approval, but the way they get this is ruinous for people surrounding them. They can’t, or don’t want to see how bad of an impact they make on other people’s mood and energy.
How to identify an energy vampire
Do you know that one person that always leaves you feeling exhausted and drained, even physically ill? There is simply something wrong with them, and you can’t figure out what. The only thing you know is you want to avoid them, and it makes you feel guilty. The chances are, you’ve come across an energy vampire.
How to deal with an energy vampire
Energy vampires aren’t monsters; they are insecure and emotionally immature people that solve these problems in the wrong way. Their state is not permanent; they can mature and learn to take responsibility over time. However, they have no right to use your energy and mistreat you. Your well-being must be your priority, so set clear boundaries and protect yourself from their bad impact; stay neutral, speak as little as possible, and avoid eye contact when interacting so you don't give your energy, learn to say no, if it is someone that you care about you should point out their toxic behaviour. Tell them why it’s wrong, and how it makes you feel. They are humans too, and they’re often unaware of what they do to other people. If they’re willing to change, you can work together on fixing the problem.
In this podcast Joe Rogan and Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN) are having a nuanced civil discussion about their personal stance and experiences with natural immunity and vaccines.
Did you know...
To support a healthy lifestyle, the WHO recommends no more then, 5% of your daily calories should come from sugar; that's 6 to 9 teaspoons a day. Your average energy drink, soda, fruitjuice or your regular beer contains between 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar per 100 ml.
Thank you for your interest, time and attention.
I put a lot of time, research and love in the creation of this newsletter.
Your support is much appreciated.
Joey van Tilburg