FEELING STUCK? IS COVID-19 MAKING YOU LIVE IN FEAR?

With the COVID-19 global pandemic we live in, as we are bombarded with bad news after bad news, it is expected that our brain gets in what I call prefrontal cortex overload. Fear is taking over. Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like the emotions are having the best of you? Sometimes these powerful emotions are keeping us stuck and we keep rehearsing bad stuff that happened to us over and over and over again in our life. And we feel stuck. We feel overwhelmed, we feel angry, we feel sad, we are afraid. We experience guilt or hurt or whatever it is. Whatever this powerful emotion is, sometimes it is keeping us stuck. So why is that? 

Watch the video or read the transcript below to find out why?

I'll explain to you how it works inside your brain. 

So let's say you experience sadness for the first time in your life and it's between the age of zero and seven. Your unconscious mind comes to the rescue and takes the emotion that just happened in your prefrontal cortex and puts it somewhere else in your brain. So let's say your sibling steals your favorite doll, so you’re sad or you're angry or you're upset, you're hurt, whatever emotion it is, your unconscious mind comes to the rescue and says: "Don't worry about it. It's okay. I'll just take this emotion and put it over here." And it moves it from the prefrontal cortex of your brain where all your thinking is happening and soon you've already forgotten it. It's still there. It's just somewhere else in your brain. So follow me with this. 

When a child gets angry or sad or happy, these emotions are happening through the full course of what an emotion should last, which is between 30 and 90 seconds. So you go through one loop and then you exit the loop and you move on with your life. And you've witnessed that with children. They're super happy. And then a second later it's temper tantrum and then they're happy again. And then they're sad and angry. So emotions should not last for more than 30 to 90 seconds. 

Why then, are we getting stuck sometimes for hours, for months, for years? We get stuck in these emotions and we're still upset, three hours later as we have arrived at work, at the guy that cut us off on the highway. It's ridiculous how we maintain our state of negative emotion. And really we could have just exited the loop. So how does that work? Why do we stay stuck and how do we get out of there?

So the first time that your brain experienced sadness, for example, your brain came to the rescue and that first time it created a thread. And on this thread, every single time that you will be angry again or sad again or hurt, your brain will insert a pearl on this thread and keep adding on to the thread building a long necklace. So what happens is that when our necklace is long, instead of going through one loop, we go through every single loop.

I like to give the analogy of how the brain works with using the analogy of a delivery truck. So when there's a powerful emotion that comes to your life, - and notice that I said powerful emotion. Okay, I will get back to this later - when a powerful emotion comes into your life, it's like you have a delivery truck in your driveway. So in your driveway there's a truck coming to deliver a parcel. That's it. These emotions have one goal in life is to make you grow, to send you a positive learning. So we want to receive those parcels. The problem is we don't open the door for the delivery guy. He stays in the driveway, in his truck and he waits until we're ready to get the parcel. Because let's say something happens at work and then you're totally overwhelmed. You don't have time because you're on deadlines and then you just swallow it and then don't worry about it. “I don't have time right now.” You can't open the door for the parcel to be delivered because you have to move on. And then something else happens. And then there's another positive learning that comes in your driveway. Another parcel. But you don't have time because now you're with your kids and then you have to show that you're happy and:  “yes, mommy is fine. That is fine. Yeah, it's all good.” And then you keep going on through life and The Show Must Go On, right? So you don't have time. And then all of a sudden there's another truck that comes in your driveway and another truck and another truck. And after a while, your driveway is full with trucks and you can't go anywhere and you feel stuck and then you keep going through the loops over and over and over and over again.

So when I mentioned powerful emotion, what I meant is there is not such a thing as a positive or a negative emotion. The prefrontal cortex of your brain creates all emotions equally. There's no good or bad ones. They're just all there and all powerful because the brain does not know the difference between overwhelmed or excited. This is super exciting. It's great news, right? So if the brain doesn't know the difference between overwhelmed and excited, that means that the response can be very different. Because if you decide that it's overwhelmed and it's anxiety, what will happen is that your brain will send 1400 chemicals in your body to pollute it, to slow you down, and to make you feel depressed and round your back and then be super upset. However, if you decide that it's excitement, then your brain will send very different type of chemicals in your body. Maybe it's going to be dopamine or oxytocin or serotonin or endorphins, depending if there's people around you, depending if you're moving or not, depending of many different situation, there's different type of chemicals. While it would have sent cortisol and bad chemicals, if you had decided that it was anxiety or stress or overwhelm or anger or fear or whatever. 

Now, if you have been stuck for a long time, just exiting the state can be quite the undertaking. That’s what I do. I work with my client with specific processes at an unconscious level to get them unstuck. Feel free to book a free 15-minute virtual coffee with me so that I can explain to you how it works and how I can help you. But today, I will give you a few tips that you can do on your own in order to start the process. 

Next time a delivery truck comes in your driveway, get excited and be like: "Oh, I'm receiving a parcel." So then you get into a 30-second loop and you go from "Oh no, what's happening? Oh my gosh!" to immediately remembering the delivery truck and go: "Oh, I'm receiving a parcel. This is awesome. Oh my gosh, I'm going to grow." Who doesn't like parcels? Right? So ask yourself: “What is it that I'm going to learn? What am I learning here? What am I going to become better at? Oh my gosh, I'm going to totally deal with this and I'm going to feel so amazing.” 

So remember: These emotions are there all equally, and in order for the delivery truck to leave your driveway, you need to open the door and look for the parcel. “What am I learning?” Receive the parcel. Take some moment to sit back and breathe and be: "Okay, I'm going to learn something. What is it that I'm going to learn?" And then get excited so that now you can go through your life super confident because you know how emotions work and you know out to get out of it whenever you feel stuck.

Nathalie

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kjb - March 30, 2020 Reply

Great advice. We always have a choice to see the good or bad in every situation and in many cases the bad can do the most good.

    Nathalie - April 1, 2020 Reply

    yes, we always have a choice. I like how you put it, that the “bad” can do the most “good” I love it Kathy! Thanks for sharing!

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