Just How Afraid Are You America?

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I just finished Dr. David Roger Clawson’s article, Are You Searching for Your Authentic Self. It’s a must read so click the link. As a hippy dippy kind of person, I have been on a life long search for my authentic self. I have always looked forward to that moment when I discover me and feel whole and at peace. Dr. Clawson has just blown that little daydream all to shit. He posits brilliantly that the self shifts continually based on the level of threat or safety you as a person are feeling in a given moment. You under threat can become a raging insecure misogynistic bigot with little or no emotional equilibrium. That’s right. Under a heavy level of threat or for us laymen let’s say fear, we can become our own worst nightmares, meaning we’re just a white sheet and a pointy hat away from totally hate chaos.

On the other hand, our ideal selves, the aspirational us that we dream to be, the happy, joyful, creative, loving, fertile, healthy and connected selves are only found when our person is in a state of safety, security, and are seen and valued by valued others. This is our dream person but we are so far from being this person because we live in a society that values what Dr. Clawson calls a threat load or for us, fear load. We don’t share, we compete, our social networks pray on our weaknesses and our politics have moved from working for our highest good as a nation to bullying and backstabbing while our nations political and civil defense swings in the balance. The fearmongers are in charge and we are paying the physical and psychological price.

The fall out, Dr. Clawson says, is that our threat load is so high that if you’re not mentally ill already you probably can look forward to being so. The pills are awesome, take it from me, the depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, not so cool. The other fun fact about a high threat load is that you will probably die of a major stress induced disease such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease etc. When you live under a high threat/fear load you do not go into rest and digest, you are not calm, you do not heal, inflammation becomes your constant companion and cancer is just waiting around the corner.

So why am I talking about this totally depressing article. Because it has an obvious and manageable solution. Choose safety, choose inner peace, share, avoid stress, sleep, make love, kiss your partner, wave at your neighbor, practice nervous system regulation, turn off your TV and exit the matrix. There is no law that says you must participate in the high threat paradigm. I love the way Dr. Clawson ends his beautiful and stirring article by saying, “Let’s move towards safety in everything we do. No person on the planet can truly be safe until all are safe.” Doesn’t that just scream unity consciousness and universal love. So, you have your marching orders thanks to Dr. Clawson. Let’s go forth and choose peace, love and safety, a happy sympathetic nervous system and a lighter load.

You are your own master. Chose love every time. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be the light you wish to see in the world. Be peace so you can know peace.

Sleep, a Natural Way to Reset Your Sympathetic Nervous System

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Your body does more than you can even imagine when you are asleep. During your nightly rest and repair your brain collates and processes information, it lowers your cortisol levels, moves you from REM to Non-REM, and it even locks your muscles during REM so you don’t accidently hurt your partner while you’re fighting your dragons. Ever have sleep paralysis? This is when your body forgets to unlock those muscles and leaves you in a half sleep half waking state where you can’t move, wake or sleep but you get the joy of acid free hallucinations you will not forget in a hurry. But I digress.

Sleep is a huge part of your mental health in that it allows your Sympathetic Nervous System to relax, let go, and rest. Your sympathetic nervous system is in charge of your fight, flight, freeze, and fawn trauma responses. When the sympathetic nervous system resets, these four trauma responses also have time to rest, giving your brain and body a much-needed respite from your daily high alert trauma response. What can ruin this sleep generated relaxation response come morning is a harsh alarm or any other startling or high-speed morning activity. Get an alarm that plays something pretty on a soft volume and grows in volume so you are awakened slowly and without a startle response. By avoiding a morning startle response, you avoid releasing adrenaline and will have a calm, more productive day. Another tip is to move slowly through your morning. I pray, meditate for half an hour and then slowly move through my house, doing all the things I need to do to get myself up and out the door with a mindful calm. Think, “I am meditatively walking into my day and I set the intention to remain calm and relaxed.”

Eight hours is the doctor recommended number of hours of sleep the human body needs each night. Personally, I like to sleep for nine hours each night. I’ve found that nine hours is the perfect number for me. If you have a history of trauma, it’s highly likely that you will need more sleep then next door’s Suzie, who had nice parents and a cute dog to pad her perfect childhood. And a good sleep hygiene protocol will tell you to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Also, avoiding caffeine is just a good rule of thumb if you have trauma. All stimulates will help keep you in high alert and help activate you four trauma responses causing your body to spiral through aggressive hormone flooding and the shaky aftermath were taking care of yourself feels next to impossible. And if you have a partner who thinks it’s fun to scare you…find someone new. Anyone who thinks triggering your trauma responses is funny doesn’t deserve you.

I love you. Get a good night’s sleep. Walk and move with calm. Be peace to know peace.