432: Downshifting--Gear up for Success Presents Downshifting – a Natural Brain Phenomenon Arlene Taylor PhD www.arlenetaylor.org References: Selected Brain Facts on web site URL: http://www.arlenetaylor.org/selected_brain_facts/index.htm
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Arlene Taylor PhD
References: Selected Brain Facts on web site
As your thumbprint!
No two brains are ever identical in structure, function, or perception!
A collection of multiple brains
Functionally these brains can be described as three layers, each containing distinct functions – although all systems interact with each other continually
To describe a natural brain phenomenon
Some authors use that actual term (Hart, Barron, Pearce) while others (Sylwester) prefer terms such as “reflective” versus “reflexive”
The brain downshifts - to access responses perceived to be safer or that promote safety
Boys may be at higher risk for downshifting as have they tend to have more difficulty coping with some traumas/stressors
Imagined fear usually involves negative thinking
- Negative thinking is unlikely to improve the odds
- Figure out ways to deal effectively with imagined fear
- Change the way you think, obtain professional help, recall a
happy memory, read / recite empowering poems / prose, sing
When downshifted you may:
recall less than 15% of what they heard during a crisis)
addictive behaviors regardless of available information
NOTE: Experiencing feelings of sadness may be an appropriate response to a situation of loss and may not necessarily indicate downshifting
conscious thinking brain layer, even when attention and energy
is temporarily focused toward the lower brain layers, through
a set of preplanned strategies
#2 Define what you needin order to perceive a sense
of safety. Include all six boundary areas in your evaluation.
Perception of “safety” can differ for different brains although there are some common threads
People typically tend to feel safe when they believe themselves competent to handle basic developmental tasks in each area of life—commensurate with their age, education, experience, and maturity levels
Bottom line:do something to help the other person realize a sense of safety
Don’t touch the stove!
Keep your hands away from the stove!
Apostle Paul - what I want to do I don’t do, and what I don’t want to do I do! Go figure . . . (Romans 7)
Take steps to avoid becoming exhausted. For every period of exhaustion the brain tends to experience a corresponding period of depression. While depression in and of itself may not be a trigger for downshifting, it can drain your energy and increase your risk of being challenged in areas that are difficult or energy intensive.
2. Create a personal loss history and write it out
The starting date may be prior to your birth in some
cases (e.g., you were not a wanted pregnancy).
Evaluate your loss history carefully. Go through the
process of grief recovery as needed to deal with unresolved loss. Finish up unfinished business.
Refer to Taylor’s web site for information about the Grief Recovery Pyramid for survivors of loss (as opposed to the Kubler-Ross model for individuals who are personally facing death).
3. Give up blame related to downshifting
Recognize that the phenomenon of downshifting is a natural and desirable short-term response in specific situations. Avoid beating up on yourself when it occurs inappropriately.
Give up blame related to downshifting, period. Most people (including you) did the best they could at the time with their level of understanding and the tools that were available to them. Blame tends to function as a red herring that never solves anything. You can learn a new way!
It’s often what you don’t know you don’t know that can cause the most trouble. Overreactions tend to involve the past. Something about a present situation reminded your brain of a past situation (e.g., shameful or hurtful), and it brought the unresolved emotional weight to bear on the present, usually inappropriately. Identify and resolve the past insofar as it is possible to do so.
Take careful and deliberate steps to resolve conflict rather than creating a metaphorical enemy outpost of unresolved conflict in your head. This may involve reframing, forgiving, setting and implementing bona fide boundaries, practicing new behaviors, or changing your thought patterns, to name just a few.
Be aware of behaviors in other persons that indicate the brain may be in a downshifted state. Develop and consistently implement behaviors that promote congruent communication.
7. Develop an affirming communication style
Negativity, impatience, worry, anxiety, or fear can
trigger downshifting, and can actually delay personal growth and needed recovery processes if not addressed and resolved. This is especially true when new more functional patterns of behavior are in the process of being developed and are not yet strong enough to over-ride the older, less desirable patterns.
Speak, think, and act in an affirming manner toward yourself and with others. This is a simple concept but usually takes time, effort, and consistent commitment to develop.
8. Avoid unnecessary downshifting
Downshifting can become a habit. Although you can implement strategies to upshift, it is usually easier to
avoid unnecessary downshifting in the first place.
Become savvy! Identify triggers in your own life and learn to avoid them whenever possible. Increase your sensitivity to what triggers downshifting in others and develop strategies for communicating more effectively.Access your support system / Higher Power as indicated.
Remember that when the brain is in a downshifted state, the tendency is to go for the longest-held or least-painful pattern. Since the action and emotional brain layers involve the subconscious, a person can slip into old patterns very quickly or relapse into addictive behaviors regardless of available informationand in spite of the best of intentions.
When it is a question of needing to heal nerves and muscles or to reprogram the way in which they are functioning, the thinking brain layer must help the body. The rationale for understanding what has happened, is happening, and what needs to happen is a cognitive process.
Consciously working through new exercises or techniques is a necessary step. Gradually the information will filter down to the emotional brain layer and the action brain layer (where the software is loaded, if you will), to implement the desired changes.
If you ask Arlene Taylor what she does in life that absolutely energizes her, she will likely reply, “I’m a brain-function specialist and I help people thrive!” She incorporates cutting-edge brain-function research into her empowering seminars, highlighting strategies that, when practically applied, can help people be more successfulby design.
A recipient of the American Medal of Honor for Brain-Function Education (American Biographical Institute Inc, 2002), Taylor holds earned doctorates in Health and Human Services and in Clinical Pastoral Counseling. In 1989 the Loma Linda University Nursing Alumni Association selected Taylor as Alumna of the year. She has life membership in the National Registry of Who’s Who, 2000 edition. A member of the National Speakers Association, Taylor is listed with the Professional Speakers Bureau International.
Access her web site (www.arlenetaylor.org) for descriptions of seminars, Taylor-on-the-Brain Bulletins, SynapSeznewsletter, Selected Brain Facts, Frequently Asked Questions, lecture schedules, and more.
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