The human brain in lockdown
Bear with us on this. It will make perfect sense, we promise!
Our brains are miraculous organs and incredibly effective at working hard to keep us safe. The part of our brain known as our limbic brain (also known as our reptilian brain) scans our environment for threats. This was useful back in the day when we were living in caves and may have come across a lion. Our limbic brain lights up, our heart pumps faster and adrenaline courses through our veins, preparing us to react accordingly. Our limbic brain still becomes activated to the presence of perceived threat in our modern lives and we go through the same biological reactions, even though it may not be a life or death situation. For example, who can identify with feeling nervous and shaky with excess adrenaline before delivering a big speech?
When our limbic brain is activated, we're unable to tap into our prefrontal cortex - the area of the brain many of us use a lot at work. You need your prefrontal cortex when you're being creative, making decisions, brainstorming, using emotional intelligence and so on.
So how does this tie in with lockdown, we hear you ask?
If lockdown is causing you anxiety, you may as well think of this as living with a lion in your house. Your limbic brain is active and you're physiologically constantly prepared to fight. This is utterly exhausting and draining to maintain over a period of time. If you think back to what we mentioned about the prefrontal cortex - you can't tap into these valuable resources and skills we need for day to day work when we're in this fight or flight state.
How will this be making me feel?
Going through any of the motions below during this uncertain time of lockdown certainly isn't unusual.
What can I do to make myself feel better?
Fortunately, there are steps we can all take to dampen our brain's limbic response. This includes the following:
- Practicing mindfulness and meditation
- Power posing - give it a try, it does work!
- Exercising for 30 minutes a day
- Regulating caffeine intake
- Laughing (laughter lowers cortisol - your body's main stress hormone)
- Sex and orgasm
What's helping you get through lockdown?
We'd love to hear any tips or techniques you're using to help get through this strange, uncertain time! Please email email@example.com.