Anxiety trumps cognition

Our feeling state always trumps our cognitive state. That’s partly because developmentally the feeling state arises before the cognitive state comes into play.

 When we excite the feeling state, the feeling state tracks are a more prominent response to automaticity of expression. In other words, the feeling state will be reinforced, and if that state is too intense it is difficult for the cognitive state to have sway and to determine how appropriate the feeling state is.

 There is not time to think about saving yourself from danger when we need to take immediate action. Thus fight, flight, or freeze – our primary responses from the automaticity centre of our organic brain – and stopping to think at that point in time, might not be sensible approaches, especially if the lion is two feet away.

 We can see then, how the feeling state becomes rather fixed. Response to threat is anxiety.

 Depending on how much threat a child perceives in the world from their organic brain will determine their behaviour – rather than the actual experience that is occurring in the now.

For clarity of purpose, at times we have told parents, “So you made a mistake and you yelled at your kid. So what? They know you got mad, but they also know you can be kind.”

 When we parent we will not always be kind, and we don’t want to nurture the expectation that the world will always be kind. Our kids deserve to know they will have to cope sometimes with difficulties, and there are times they will have to cope with not knowing.