The Mind-Body Connection for Safety

Building upon yesterday’s post, when we don’t feel safe, that sensation happens in our body first. Our gut instinct sends a message to our brain that something is “off.” It is then the job of our mind to help process what those sensations mean and if they are potentially dangerous to us. There are three things to remember about our bodies:

1. Our bodies never lie to us. They can’t, as they do not have a brain (our minds on the other hand lie to us all the time; we can convince ourselves of anything when we want to!)

2. Our bodies never forget. This is an important point as our bodies will never forget trauma or negative experiences that get repeated, even when we have no conscious memory of the event. And so, when faced with a situation that at times will mimic the negative experience, our bodies immediately send a message to our brain that says, “potential danger ahead.” An example involves a client who was involved in a head-on collision with a pick-up truck; she is not able to recall the experience at all and has had to piece together events of that day through witness’s accounts. Now that she is back to driving, she has noticed a marked difference in her tension level when she sees a pick-up truck approaching her in the opposite lane. The implicit memory of the event warns her of the possible threat. This brings us to our last point:

3. Our bodies can sometimes over-react.  It is their job after all to warn us of potential danger and our mind’s job to process what is going on. It is at this point that we need our mind to help reassure our body and say “It is okay, I have this one under control;” leaving our body to return to a more restful state.

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