Self Empowerment – Understanding the Survival Self

Recently I’ve had a lot of people asking me about survival mechanisms and why I keep talking about what happens when the hind brain gets activated.

In this blog I will break down the survival response for you so that it’s easy for you to understand. Many people are not aware of their own survival mechanisms, and this is because they are triggered by the subconscious mind.

Whenever you sense something in your external environment that stresses you, causes anxiety or worry or fear, the blood vessels in the forebrain constrict and push blood into the hindbrain.

The hindbrain is involved in motor activity, sleep, wakefulness, and respiratory rhythm.

Dr Bruce Lipton refers to the fight or flight survival response as the HPA Axis – The Hypothalamus/Pituitary/Adrenal Axis. 

The hypothalamus is the part of the central nervous system that scans the external environment for potential threats. When activated, the hypothalamus triggers the pituitary gland. 

The pituitary gland is often referred to as the master gland. It is in charge of coordinating the other glands to release hormones. The pituitary then triggers the adrenals and we move into that stress response. This is the fight-or-flight nervous system.   

One major drawback of this response is when the blood vessels in the forebrain constrict, it pushes that blood into the hindbrain. This is not a time for higher reasoning or logic or critical thinking, it’s just a reactionary state and our access to higher intelligence and critical thinking is reduced.

Think about it for yourself when you’re really stressed with work or study or maybe the kids have been on at you for the entire day. Once you get into the stress response you can’t even think straight. The reason you find it hard to use logic and critical thinking is that blood has been sent to nourish the hindbrain. The more worry and stress we move into – the less smart we get.

The other trade-off from the activation of our survival behavior is that our immune system is seriously compromised. The stress response switches off your immunity as the blood vessels in the gut constrict also and push blood into the periphery – into the arms and legs – so you can either fight or flight. Defend yourself or run away. The stress chemicals in the blood cause the immune system to down regulate.

The body has to use its energy stores wisely in the survival state. It won’t worry about dealing with an infection when it perceives there is a bigger threat from your external environment.  

So in the survival response you move out of homeostasis, turn off your immune system, and just become less intelligent in that state. In today’s modern age we are bombarded with information that can trigger the stress response, and this can have dire consequences for our health.

I’d like to leave you with this thought; you can’t be in your survival behavior and in homeostasis and creation at the same time. It’s one or the other. 

If you take cells and put them in a petri dish, and then you put a toxin in that petri dish, when you come back some time later all the cells will have moved to the other side of the petri dish. They are moving away from the perceived threat in their external environment. In this case it’s a toxin.

Conversely, if you put food for the cells into the petri dish they will actually migrate closer towards it. The cells need this food for growth and maintenance, so they open up to their external environment.

But just as single cells can’t move both towards something and away from something at the same time – neither can you. We all live in this fluctuating state of either survival and protection – or creation and expansion. All life ever discovered, all human beings and as you’ve just seen even single cells in the body display the duality of our survival and growth.

In closing I want to remind you that your life is a gift. Even in the tough times the truth is we’ve been given a sacred gift to experience this physical world. Right now is a beautiful 

time to come back to what really matters, and start thinking about what you love, and how you can be a better mother or farther, a better brother or sister, a better friend or lover. Ask yourself how can you be there for someone in their time of need?

The more you live in creation, the more you can experience life to its fullest. In this state of gratitude and creation you express your love and the reason you were born. Your purpose 

for being here in physical form is to go out there  and do what you can to make an impact in this 

beautiful world today.

From my heart to yours, sending you light and love.

Damo xo


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