by Benjamin Fry
A comment on Twitter this week led me to the article in the Daily Mail headed
“Who needs to talk when you look like that! Bikini-clad Kate Upton speaks just seven words in new ad to plug American satellite provider”.
The connection with trauma? Well, once you understand the nervous system, you can understand a lot about human behaviour.
The nervous system has two branches; the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. These are real things like my right and left arm. The sympathetic is in “sympathy” with the threats in your local environment and it regulates the excitement in the body. The parasympathetic regulates relaxation.
In most animals these things work pretty well, like our own heart and lungs, and they go about their lives flowing naturally from excitation to relaxation, in syncc with their environment and activities (like hunting or being hunted). In the human being, things have got a bit off whack.
The complexity of our brains is such that we have lost the capacity to recover from an overload of the sympathetic nervous system (such overload often referred to as “trauma”). This means that we are stuck in an “on” phase of the sympathetic nervous system, even if we appear to be calm; actually we are in the “freeze” response, not calm at all.
As a result our nervous system is “dysregulated” and so we spend all of our time trying to avoid being sent through the roof into the top gear of the sympathetic nervous system, and then the rest of our time trying to recover by trying to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. What this looks like is (a) controlling our environment, and (b) seeking pleasure.
So, as you already know, it all comes down to money and sex. All we are really doing most of the time is trying to control our world and reduce its impact on our out of control biology.
And men know this, so they will sell you either (a) more money, or (b) more sex. Neither message needs an essay; a pretty girl and an offer at £9.99 will do.
Benjamin Fry works across a range of services and media using personal, professional and scientific expertise to help people to a baggage-free life. A published author, and a past columnist for The Times and Psychologies magazine, Benjamin is a social activist in mental health. He founded Get Stable in 2010 to get effective treatment paid for by the state and his great passion is to bring treatment, which works, to all levels of society and across all severities of conditions.
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