We all share a similar repertoire of emotions. However, we don’t always experience our emotions quite to the same degree of intensity or even for the same reasons. The amygdala is the part of our brain that is largely responsible for producing feelings, often causing them to overwhelm us before our rational mind has had an opportunity to evaluate any given situation. These sudden feelings can be primitive and powerful – although, as we shall see, not always appropriate to modern life.
The way you experience your emotions evolved over many generations. In a world of warring tribes and wild animals, your hunter/gatherer ancestors would have lived with a considerably greater threat of physical danger than you now do. For them an impulse to respond to a sudden threat with strong and immediate feelings of fear or anger would have proved a helpful survival mechanism. It would have rapidly prepared them to either avoid or fight dangerous predators. Similarly, strong feelings of love and a healthy sense of empathy would have facilitated mating and the forming of the sort of tight social groups that were necessary for a person’s protection and survival in such risky times.
Because evolution is a slow process, you can still find yourself bombarded by many of the self-same feelings that were experienced by those distant ancestors of yours. Intrinsic freeze, fight-or-flight responses were of course well suited to your plucky forefathers. They are however somewhat less well suited to a busy life in a modern city. Unrealistic deadlines, financial concerns and tricky relationships are for instance not usually helped by the instinctive fight-or-flight response that they can sometimes trigger.
Never the less, despite your caveman legacy, you probably do manage to deal effectively with life’s challenges most of the time. Should you, however, find that certain inappropriate emotional responses have started to become habitual and therefore something of an unhelpful pattern in your life, you should get help. Untreated emotional issues can eventually drag a person down to the point where life becomes uncomfortable, relationships deteriorate and he or she no is longer able to function as before.
How you feel in yourself, and the way you respond to circumstances can significantly impact on your performance, your health and your general sense of wellbeing. Please read more about how hypnotherapy can be effective in establishing new, more appropriate ways to deal with life’s situations and events.
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I finally realized that being grateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself.
Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine
US actress & television talk show host (1954 - )