Emotion Regulation System; Post 2

Yesterday’s post featured the Soothing-Contentment System of emotion regulation according to the work of Dr. Paul Gilbert. Today’s post features another system entitled the Threat & Self-Protection System.

The main function of this system is to pick up on threats early in order to protect us. This is the system that helps us to survive danger in order to seek safety and will attempt to manage fears. The feelings that are typically associated with this system include anxiety, anger, disgust and shame.

Picture a car suddenly coming to you in the oncoming lane, the feeling that you get when the Ferris wheel stops mid ride and you are at the top, feeling triggered to a past trauma or that rushed, overwhelmed feeling that you get when you are worried about something.

The main hormones that are activated when this system is in motion are cortisol and adrenaline, as our bodies are put on alert to deal with the danger. Although we may not realize it, many of us spend too much time in the threat and self-protection system, not because we are faced with real danger, but because we perceive the feeling of not being safe.

It is important to recognize what is a true alarm versus what is a false alarm so as to regulate our fear and worry and get back to our soothing and contentment system.

Tomorrow’s post will feature the Drive System.

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Photo credit: http://Photo by Evgenia Stergioula on Unsplash

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