We offer specific tools and practices to calm a Reactive Mind. Read about your subtype below, then choose the tools and practices you'd like to use on your pathway to calm.
Evolution has gifted our bodies with an elaborate means of surveillance, not unlike a highly sophisticated home alarm system. It is located in the lower, more primitive part of the brain, which we at NMH call the “reactive brain.”
Below the surface of awareness, we continually scan our environment for potential dangers. In tense situations this system goes on high alert and all our senses become sharpened. When we feel safe and secure, the system stands down and surveillance falls into the background.
If this area becomes overly active, however, you are always in a heightened state of alert, looking for threats everywhere. You may feel as if you can never let your guard down or relax, which quickly becomes exhausting. Or you may react so strongly to things that feel threatening (even if they really aren’t) that you experience genuine panic. In order to avoid this panicked feeling, you may begin to avoid things, developing phobias that only serve to make your world smaller.
If you experience these reactive symptoms, do not think that you are at fault for failing to control your emotions. Once it is triggered, the panic reaction is so strongly wired into the body that it will always win against your will power and attempts to force it to be quiet. Instead, you will need to learn how to turn down the intensity of your surveillance system, and remember how to distinguish what is really threatening from what isn’t. This course is filled with techniques to help you do just that.
Unlike the worried mind, which is characterized by too much thinking, the reactive mind doesn’t think enough. When you experience a reactive mind, you are perceiving and reacting without thinking things through. The threat response system is unchecked by the more reasoned, higher level of the thinking brain. You get stuck in fight-or-flight mode, and must find a way to shut it down again.
The stress response is the normal reaction to feeling threatened. Sensing danger, the brain activates the adrenal glands which then prepare you for action (“fight or flight”). This is not bad in and of itself. In fact, studies show that short-term stress can even be good for us.
However, if you are prone to anxiousness, the stress response acts as an accelerant, adding fuel to the fire in your mind. This is true for each of the three sub-types, but it is especially true for the reactive type. So while it is important to calm the mind, this is often not enough to get a reactive mind back in balance. You must also take measures to tame the stress response and eventually to address the sources of your stress. Otherwise, the embers of anxiousness will stay lit, ready to flame up again as soon as the conditions are right.
There are many things you can do to boost your resilience in the face of stress. And there are many strategies that can help you balance your subtype and calm the Reactive Mind. See below key tools to help you reclaim your calm.
This website is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Join Dr. Emmons as he walks you through natural and mindfulness approaches to balance your subtype and reclaim your calm. This self-guided program allows you to move at your own pace, but is also complemented by a community group space. This space offers fresh monthly content and conversations to enrich your journey. Sign up for the waitlist to learn more and receive special early and discounted access when the program launches in Spring 2020.