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Shut Down Mode

Shut Down Mode

Have you ever gone into “shut down mode?” That’s the moment when something you perceive is dangerous, shameful, or otherwise hurtful enters your mind and you attempt to protect yourself by shutting down your emotional responses. Someone may say something accusatory, and you react automatically defensive. Someone may trigger a past negative memory that shuts you down as well. Our past and our present circumstances can bring on this defense mechanism in an effort to set up a boundary of protection from others, or to protect others from our impulsive over-reactions. This pattern of defensiveness usually is developed as a child in response to an overbearing or critical parent, or can be the result of constant relationship distress that cannot be resolved.

Unfortunately, when we shut down one emotion, ALL emotions get shut down. Our mind is not capable of selective division of emotions, and the longer we shut down our ability to feel we soon learn only one feeling remains, Depression. Recent research has shown constant stress (even “good” stress) can result in symptomatic Depression because stress causes so much harm to our bodies and minds. Chronic Stress changes the brain chemistry (not the other way around as once thought), creating hormonal changes and increases Adrenaline and Cortisol, and too much of these chemicals can result in shrinking the parts of our brain associated with short-term memory loss and problem solving.

The research shows the main methods of regaining memory and brain function is complex and yet seemingly simple: Exercise and a good night’s sleep. Diet and drinking enough water also contribute to good mental function as well. Most people find their depression is debilitating and they “can’t” exercise, “can’t sleep,” and "don’t want to" change their diets or drink more water; often drinking caffeinated sodas or alcohol in place of water, which further spirals the problem out of control.

Therapy can help in the changing of bad habits, which has resulted from over stressed lives, chronic stress, and unhealthy thinking. If you change the way you think, you can change your behaviors. The Bible says you can be “transformed” by changing your thoughts:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed

by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one method of treatment Encouragers’ therapists use to help individuals alter their negative thinking patterns and more toward more positive paradigms that can lead to changed behaviors. As you change your thinking and open up your mind to alternative thoughts, life can become more enjoyable. Letting go of the pain and looking at the beautiful, wonderful, and hopeful life ahead of you is a blessing, and allows you to be a blessing to others. If you’d like to learn more about decreasing chronic stress and learning how to stop the “shut down mode,” call Encouragers today to schedule an appointment.

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