How the Threat Detector Works

Part of our beautiful human brains is always looking around for threats — predators, other humans that might want to attack us, and social cues that we might be kicked out of the tribe (which in our early days would often mean death).

So we scan for these threats, and the body tenses up against them in fight, flight, freeze or fawn responses. It tenses up, ready to take defensive action to protect us.

That’s how it’s supposed to work — but because we’re in a modern environment, our Threat Detector is almost always going off. We worry about being judged by others, about not meeting the expectations of the group, about not meeting our own expectations in these interactions. Email, messaging and social media also trigger these same kinds of worries about being judged or not meeting expectations.

It makes us tense and anxious. This is simply exhausting.

We get drained from all of this. And again, boundaries and self-care is absolutely crucial — but by shrinking our social activity, we can confine ourselves to loneliness and reduced ability to interact and do meaningful work wiht others.

So we might include a practice of relaxing the Threat Detector, to allow ourselves to be less drained when we interact with the world.

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