We know that the limbic brain is our body’s fight-flee-freeze center. It engages this way during perceived moments of threat, danger or fear. Dr. Stephen Porges notes in his book The Polyvagal Theory that “In most individuals the nervous system evaluates risk and matches neurophysiological state with the actual risk of the environment. When the environment is appraised as being safe, the defensive limbic structures are inhibited, enabling social engagement and calm visceral states to emerge. In contrast, some individuals experience a mismatch and the nervous system appraises the environment as being dangerous even when it is safe. This mismatch results in physiological states that support fight, flight, or freeze behaviors, but not social engagement behaviors. According to the theory, social communication can be expressed efficiently through the social engagement system only when these defensive circuits are inhibited.” (58)
How is your fight-or-flight stance in the world negatively affecting your ability to socially engage in a positive way? What ripple effect are we putting out to the world when we favor fear-based perceptions to the detriment of pro-social activity? What walls can we knock down today?