How we hurt ourselves with reaction

by Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons, Australia

The science of psycho-neuro-immunology has been showing us a lot about ourselves – that we already know from our own bodies and life experience – but often pretend we don’t.

The nervous system (which includes the brain), the immune system and the hormone system all talk to each other, and take their cues from each other about how to ‘behave’, how to respond.

Stress releases hormones that affect our brain and immune system. Stress alters how many of what kind of immune cells are made, and imbalances lead to illness. Stress suppresses our immune system’s killer cells – we are therefore more susceptible to cancer and other diseases. Stress also tires out the systems that produce the hormones – like the adrenals – leading to exhaustion.

Three important regions of the brain are affected by stress hormones, and those brain regions are important for memory, learning, dealing with life, thinking, making sense of the world, fear, emotion, fight and flight…. so it’s definitely not a good thing for them to be continually stressed!

Of course some ‘stress reactions’ are very important: fear makes us run out of a burning house, avoid violent people, savage dogs, venomous snakes, spiders and things that can hurt us; suspicion keeps us safe from foods that might make us sick; anxiety and tension on a crazy-busy road might lead us to choose a quieter, safer route; worry about something might make us get up and take needed action, etc.

One of the worst things about stress reactions is that the relevant body systems work in a feedback loop that can keep itself going, even when no longer needed. So, once we start down the stress and emotional reaction path, we keep feeding it, making it worse, ‘deepening the groove’. Then it’s difficult to get out of that vicious cycle. We basically program ourselves to be and remain stressed. So it’s necessary to put some work and commitment into changing the way we react to situations and people and to ourselves.

The bit about “changing the way we react” is super important. We tend to think stress comes from outside and the blame lies with someone else or some situation beyond our control. But the biggest form of stress is how we ourselves react to the situations and people that we say ’cause us stress’. Ultimately it is we who choose to get or stay angry, sad, impatient, frustrated, worried, scared…. and it’s thus we ourselves who can change it.

One of the worst forms of stress (in my humble opinion) is negative internal talk, about others and about oneself. It usually comes from comparison and/or jealousy. Things like: I’m no good. I can’t do that. She’s pathetic. They cheated me. I always stuff it up. I’m an idiot. She’s prettier than me. What did I go and do that for? I’ll lose everything if I do that. I’m ugly. I’m fat. I’m weak. She’s going to attack me if I say anything. He gets all the attention. No-one loves me. I wish my nose wasn’t crooked. I should be earning more money. He’s always angry at me for no reason. She always projects her stuff onto me. I’m a disappointment to the people I love. Etc., etc., blah blah … We all do it.

BUT … we react physiologically to our own thoughts and emotions! Our brains hear all the internal talk, and think it’s true, and obediently initiate the stress reactions through the hormone, nervous and immune systems. Snap! We express fear, hate, loathing, disappointment, self-negation, etc., and our body wilts like a mistreated plant.

But if we refuse to listen to the internal chatter, and allow ourselves to feel and express our natural love, understanding, patience and acceptance of others and ourselves, we can send beneficial effects flowing throughout our physiology.

For me this process of learning to feel, love and accept has opened up and accelerated as a result of my study of esoteric medicine, as taught by Serge Benhayon. However no amount of ‘head knowledge’ does it, although that supports me while I develop and practice new understanding and awareness of my body. It began when I learned how to become aware of when I was racy and ahead of myself, then to stop and breathe gently. This helps me to feel my whole body and listen to the wise things it has to say. From there I can choose and move in a way that honours my body, moment by moment. It’s an ongoing process – there’s always more to learn and higher levels of awareness possible. Worth the effort!

We are our own worst enemies. We make ourselves sick. And we can also be our own greatest friends, and bring ourselves back to true health.


Read more:

  1. Reaction versus response
  2. Why are we so reactive? 
  3. Bullying – what does it truly mean?

951 thoughts on “How we hurt ourselves with reaction

  1. Imagine that what was in our heads was shared out in the open for all to experience. Initially I’d say the world would be a much more depressing place but what I’ve found is that if I voice the thoughts they no longer have any power. They fizzle out pretty quick.

  2. The power of our life is always at our hands. ‘Ultimately it is we who choose to get or stay angry, sad, impatient, frustrated, worried, scared…. and it’s thus we ourselves who can change it.’

  3. I agree Linda we are not taught to build a relationship with our bodies, we have set up life to look outside ourselves for answers, but now we know that the answers are within us, not outside of us as we have been taught for thousands of years.

  4. This is a great blog to ask us to consider what goes on when we have this negative chatter going on in our heads. And we can say no to these thoughts but it seems to creep into our bodies even though we are saying no. It’s as though we are being washed in negative thoughts which our bodies soak up. We then move which then cements the negative chatter into our bodies and hey presto the thoughts are there spinning round in spite of our efforts to not think negative thoughts. Where do these negative thoughts come from? We now know they come from outside our bodies, we are saturated with them and they become so familiar to us we accept them as our thoughts when actually they do not belong to us at all. Is it possible that if we were taught from a very young age to read the energy that surrounds us, we would not be so inclined to let in the negative energy and own it as ours, instead by observation let the negative energy pass through, if this were to happen what effect would that have on our bodies?

  5. Dianne, this is a great reminder and appreciation of where I have come from. This internal destructive dialogue of others and myself was debilitating. You wouldn’t do it to a baby so why do it to ourselves.

    Roll on a few years and my dialogue is much healthier, it may not be perfect, but I can honestly say it has certainly improved. I now clock when I do this things, and what could have caused those thoughts to seep in. I look at my food, the tiredness and how have I have treated my body, with hardness or something else.

    These things is what I call holistic, so not only looking at foods and drinks but the emotions we pour into our bodies too. We have a long way to understanding the body but we can go a long way to doing something about it too.

  6. The internal negative talk really can be a source of significant stress, it is like watching a movie where you get involved in the story and your body lives all the reactions and stress as if it is real, thoughts can do the same thing. I have recently been seeing this in my own life and how it plays out to impact on me.

  7. It seems that it is no-one else’s business because it is internal yet a way of talking to ourselves in that way then filters out to be the normal for talking to and about others. All the while our body, which is made of Love and is more attuned to harmony struggles to deal with the acidic nature of our thoughts, words and, in turn, actions. In time this acidity starts having an impact on our body and its harmonious internal workings; as illness starts to reveal itself, we start to take notice.

    1. Lucy I agree, we may do this internally and yet people can feel it, as well as absorbing it into our bodies. We have a responsibility to play our part and play for the team too. This supports everyone to also receive the reflection to be responsible too.

    2. Lucy I agree, we may do this internally and yet people can feel it, as well as absorbing it into our bodies. We have a responsibility to play our part and play for the team too. This supports everyone to also receive the reflection to be responsible too.

  8. When I read the impact stress has on our bodies I realise the importance of looking at why we get stressed so we can deal with stress in a different way.

  9. I agree with you about the negative internal talk being the biggest stressor. It’s one thing that keeps going on and on and on unlike an actual event or a situation, and on top of that, we think we are conjuring up those talks and start hating ourselves for that. And the connection you mention here with the physiological factor is very important, because when we can change the quality of our movement, what goes on inside our head does change without discipline.

  10. Always a fantastic read Dianne, very supportive and foundational for life. I agree wholeheartedly with this “But the biggest form of stress is how we ourselves react to the situations and people that we say ’cause us stress’.” It’s very true, it’s not just what happens in life but how we react. This is really demonstrated by different people reacting differently to the same situation.

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