But it does seem much more difficult to process and think. This is to be expected, thanks to our emotions. Remember, your brain is constantly looking around for scary things. It’s not too hard to find scary things right now. Once your brain determines that there’s trouble, it activates quickly (30-45 seconds). First, your brain shuts down non-essential activities (long term memories, your current location, people’s names, etc.) and focuses entirely on three activities: Fight, Flight and/or Freeze. As I Social Distance at my house, I’ve noticed that I:
- FIGHT: Argue with my husband’s ideas and get defensive about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen. I’m angry at the situation and I have no place to put it.
- FLIGHT: Walk away as long a I can. I’ve been taking long solitary walks and I’m tempted to take one in the cold, dreary rain today.
- FREEZE: Stare at my computer wondering how to do things that I have done a million times.
Many call this a reptilian state. Like the brain of a lizard, it’s all automatic pilot. And even more annoying, the reptilian response drains very slowly. Depending on the intensity of the emotion, you could still feel like your brain is muddled four hours or more after the initial scary incident.
While the virus is on everyone’s mind (and should be), this constant anxiety creates a shut-down response. Don’t be surprised if you type something ridiculous or forget to save a file or any other activity that you are perfectly able to do. Don’t be surprised if this newsletter is a bit erratic.
TIME FOR PRIZES!! Send me a note about your Reptilian Brain, and some of the dumb things you’ve done while being Socially Distant. You’ll get a prize! Lou.firstname.lastname@example.org