Our minds tune into danger

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

There is a reason we all pay so much attention to the negative noise inside our heads.

Our minds are designed to tune into danger. Our brain has evolved to sense danger and respond to it, by taking either evasive or assertive action.

This is why all sorts of movies based on danger are so popular. Adventure movies, suspenseful thrillers, creature features and disaster movies all hold our attention because we pay attention to danger. Even though our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter we still seem to have a limitless attention span for dangerous situations and worst case scenarios.

We are so attuned to noticing danger that we are biased when we pay attention to our thoughts. The thoughts that relate to danger stand out and absorb our attention. If we are worried about losing our job, failing at a task or being criticised by someone important, these worries relate to danger so they will absorb all of our attention.

When our attention is absorbed it stops us from focussing on what we are doing in the moment. We don’t process the safety and peace of the present moment because our mind has slipped ahead to a potential danger.

Because our mind is focussed on a danger, our primitive brain floods the body with hormones whose job it is to either immobilise us so we can hide, or charge us up so we can run away or stand out ground. Worries are all about situations which have not happened yet, so we don’t hide, run or fight because the situation hasn’t happened yet. Instead we get tired, stressed or angry depending on the hormones the body is producing.

So what can we do? Somehow we need to tune out the danger, and get the body to stop producing fight or flight hormones. Here are 10 different ways to beat stress.

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