8 Keys to Brain-Body Balance (8 Keys to Mental Health)
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Take-charge strategies to heal your body and brain from stress and trauma.
Understanding how our brains and bodies actually work is a powerful tool in mitigating the anxiety generated by unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms that we all may experience from time to time. Here, Robert Scaer unravels the complexities of the brain-body connection, equipping all those who are in distress with a plausible explanation for how they feel.
Making the science accessible, he outlines the core neurobiological concepts underlying the brain-body interface and explains why physical and emotional symptoms of stress and trauma occur. He explains why “feelings” represent physical sensations that inform us about the nature of our brain-body conflicts. He also offers practical, easy-to-implement strategies for strengthening motor skills, learning to listen to our gut to gauge our feelings, attuning to the present, and restoring personal boundaries to relieve symptoms and navigate a path to recovery.
first in mammals. Reptiles are devoid of emotions, and one of the primary behaviors differentiating reptiles from mammals is the capacity for mutual affiliation and bonding. The maternal/infant bond in mammals is necessary for survival of the newborn mammal, which, unlike the reptile, faces a period of growth and development before it can survive alone. Reptile infants, who are born within an egg sack, possess many of the instincts and motor capacities needed to survive alone. In some reptiles,
conditioned association between the somatic pain sensations, the abnormal autonomic state, and the perception of survival in procedural memory. Endnote The discovery that the brain is not the static, rigid, predetermined conductor of the body’s orchestra is changing not only the concept of infinite adaptability but also the concept of wellness and disease itself. The brain can shrink and grow, and new neurons can be formed, probably in areas we haven’t even considered. Parts of the brain
of attempted escape or of an attempted but failed fight response. Such relatively universal patterns of behavior must be assumed to have a purpose of some sort, especially if they are replicated throughout the species. Psychologist Peter Levine has studied the freeze response as an animal-based instinctual process that clearly has implications for survival. In interviewing gamekeepers in Africa, he documented the critical importance of the “shaking” phenomenon in wild animals. These gamekeepers
trying to map the brain regions of mice by stimulating specific neuronal centers in the brain and recording in adjacent regions. To their surprise, some of the mice began to develop grand mal seizures. The researchers realized that this was a form of neurosensitization, and they called this process “kindling,” the word describing wood that burns especially easily. Exploring this new finding, they discovered that the brain region most likely to kindle with repetitive stimulation was our old friend
represents another example of failed self-protection from a traumatic assault, like the soldiers frozen in the trenches after an artillery bombardment. In both cases, the procedural memory for this failed physical attempt at surviving continues to replicate the movement pattern to no avail. In both cases, the victim froze in the face of helplessness and never went through the act of “completion” of that failed attempt and thus extinction of the traumatic memory. As a result, the unconscious