Idea: Preview

Relevance:     Universal
PREMISE:  People, often those in poverty, are unknowingly locked in a vicious cycle of malnutrition and lack of micronutrients, debilitating stress from lack of resources and support systems, and disempowering belief systems which wire our brains and send us chemical signals that make us react in maladaptive ways.  If we can put the pieces of the puzzle together, we can move past this cycle into a healthier society based on healthier individuals.

I have struggled my whole life with this feeling that I couldn’t figure out how to make the “right” decisions that would keep me out of trouble with people during stressful situations.  But over and over, I would find myself overcome with emotion that said, “I MUST ACT ON THIS, TO NOT ACT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE.”  And the result would be a strong emotional reaction like name-calling, pointing out negative things, wanting to leave, shouting the other person down, which I would always regret.  In the moment, I could not control my reactions.  After the fact, I could always figure out a different way to have responded and wished I had just waited until I had calmed down.  Then I was fortunate enough to hear two of Dan Bader’s presentations on mental health which explained to me why I did this.  It was life-changing for me.  They are presentations worth sitting through without interruption, lasting perhaps 1-2 hours each.  However, I offer as healing legislation my humble understanding that I have taken away from these presentations:

Proper nutrition provides the body what it needs to handle stress and crisis.  Improper nutrition, particularly lack of micronutrients, along with lack of a support network and resources, can cause an untenable feeling as the body tries to tell you what it needs.  People turn to chemicals like drugs and alcohol to dull the pain, which exacerbates their stress and lack of support and resources like family and work.  Brains are programmed to keep us alive, and so based on our experiences as our brains develop, it stores information about a situation, categorizes it for future use, and a chemical path is formed.  The brain, in its attempts as a child to make sense of stressful things, may create maladaptive connections which later create the release of chemicals designed to make us respond “appropriately” or “safely.”  When faced with situations that remind us of past trauma, some of these chemicals can make us feel an overwhelming urge to fight or run.  While they are coursing through our body, we feel these urges so strongly, it is very difficult to do other than fight or run.  However, there are adaptive things we can do to relieve these maladaptive pathways and reactions.  Addressing this includes emotion management, boundary setting, and satisfaction of needs.

THE SOLUTION:  I recommend the dissemination of Dan Bader’s presentations to educate all people about this universal human issue.

SEE:  Dan Bader’s presentation “The Building Blocks of Mental Health.”
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