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Why do we react under stress?

Updated: Sep 28, 2018

Our emotional intelligence develops from the last trimester of pregnancy until somewhere around 3-5yrs depending on how we are parented. Emotions are designed to give us a short burst of energy to enable us to make very rapid changes in behaviour in response to what we are sensing in our bodies and the world around us. Sometimes we need to act faster than the mind may be able to respond

and process the experience and we do this through our unique ability to sense things.

Our 5 senses are designed to scan the environment around us and alert us to changes in vibration. If we sense a threat( real or perceived) we become instinctive and the survival and reactive aspects of our unique nature come to the fore. So our emotions play a role in protecting us and allow us to make changes below the radar of the mind and we call these emotional reactions pre-rational as they occur ahead of the minds ability to process the information and give meaning to the situation.

This could explain how sometimes when we are in highly emotional states we are totally irrational in our actions and behaviours. We may lash out or be argumentative to the point of stupidity because we are not thinking straight (or thinking at all).To compound the problem we will often default to our most practiced emotion when faced with a surprise, uncertainty or a change in our surroundings. This emotion we utilize may be totally out of context with the situation that is actually in front of us, it’s just our ‘go to response’.

Another phenomenon we observe regarding emotional intelligence is what happens when there is not enough emotional energy to address a situation or challenge. In this instance an individual may seek to increase their own emotional energy by stimulating more emotion from the environment and energy field around them. They may become reactive, argumentative, spiteful or aggressive in an attempt to generate conflict. This is an attempt to generate emotional energy from another individual in order to ‘top up the tank’. In other words they are looking for a reaction to feed off. This is due to a perception that they don’t have the emotional range to deal with the situation in front to them, they sense a need for more energy in order to handle the moment and they look outside of themselves for it.

Again remember that all this is happening below the level of the mind so they are very rarely aware of what they are doing. It is an instinctive behavioural response to generate enough energy to address the demands in front of them. Trying to rationalise with this individual is usually pointless as they are only after energy from you and will continue to provoke until you react back and dump your emotional energy for them to feed off. When you observe this remember are working with the consciousness of a 5 year old, pre-rational, primitive instinctive behaviour.

Individually as we become more whole and empowered we are able to resist this provocation and calmly respond in these high stress situations. By accessing a higher intelligence we learn how to remain stable and allow the reactor in the other person to ‘run out of puff’.

As we become more skilful we are also able to help the reactive individual access this consciousness themselves and move away from the pre-rational behaviour to reassess what is really going on and learn from their experience.

Dr Craig Reynolds

We teach you these skill sets at Orenda and help you to learn how to break this reactive patterning in yourself and others.

Book your appointment now

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