Resilience & The Brain

Stress and trauma impact the way our body and brain functions. Have you ever felt so stressed or upset that it was hard to think clearly? It can be hard to calm our mind and think clearly when we are stressed, working through traumatic experiences, or living in survival modes. But there is hope! We have the power to change our brain! You and I can use tools of resilience to increase our calmness and to release stressful energy and sensations in our body.

Hand holding colorful brain sketch on concrete background. Creative mind concept by peshkova

First let’s talk about how stress and trauma impacts our brains and bodies. Our brain has something called the amygdala that acts as an alert system. When the amygdala detects a trigger of a past trauma or danger to our emotional or physical safety it alerts the body to release stress hormones in order for the body to get to safety. When this happens we begin to be in survival modes of fight, flight, or freeze. When we are in these survival modes we can have a hard time thinking clearly and we may lose our ability to problem solve and can become emotionally reactive. Being in a state of survival for long periods of time can impact our brain and body in negative ways. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

But do you remember that hope I talked about earlier? Hope that we can change our brain? It’s all because our brain was designed in a way that allows for it to have something called neuroplasticity. This just means that our brain has the ability to build new neuropathways in order to support the habits we are living out today. This is important because when we are first doing something new it feels really hard and difficult. But eventually as we keep pursuing this new habit it gets easier and easier. The reason for that is that our brain is building new neuropathways to support our life choices.

User practicing mindfulness meditation in lotus pose. Calmness and releasing stress concept landing page. Mindful meditating, consciousness and focusing. Header or footer banner template. by Visual Generation

What kind of tools can we use to create this new habit of feeling calm instead of being in a survival mode or overwhelmed by stress? The key to allowing the brain to build new pathways for new habits is practicing tools of resilience by using the tool of attention. We can use our attention by focusing on things that bring us sensations of calmness. This could be a grounding exercise where we are placing our attention to a solid surface that is supporting us like the seat of a chair, or the floor beneath our feet. During this type of exercise you would just want to focus all of your attention towards that solid surface and allow any distracting thought to be still as you focus in on that support. Another skill is to focus on a good thing in your life or something that is a resource to you. It could be your pet that you love dearly, a hobby you enjoy, a place you love to go, or a memory that is dear to you. Taking a moment to think of something that brings you joy can be a calming experience. Below is a journal prompt to help practice using the skill of attention.



Threshold Globalworks, founder of Social Resilience Model. Welcome To Threshold Globalworks – Threshold GlobalWorks

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