Is That a Threat?

I was 17 years old, a week or 2 after I graduated high school, before having Google maps on a phone was a thing, when I was involved in a car accident.

I was driving my family farm’s delivery van loaded with eggs to a store in a near city. It was my first time driving to this location and I wasn’t really sure how to get there. Before leaving the farm with my younger sister as a passenger, my older sister had shown me where I was to go. on a map

Nervous but quite confident, I went on my way. Getting into the city, I missed my exit, something my older sister explicitly told me not to do, and that she didn’t know what to do if I did miss it.

Flustered and a little lost, replaying my older sister’s warning in my head, I decided to make a U-turn at the next available opportunity.

Time slowed as, suddenly, I heard the honk of a horn and I felt the van jerk forward, slammed from behind. And I remember seeing in my sideview mirror, a truck pulling a camper trailer, eager to get to the lake on this warm July long weekend, digging its nose up the driver’s side of the egg van.

Thankfully, no one was hurt and only about a dozen eggs were broken, but for almost 2 years after that day, whenever I would hear a car horn, my body jumped, no matter how far off in the distance the sound originated.

I told myself that the horn didn’t matter, that the accident happened a long time ago, that there was no cause for alarm now, but none of that had a calming effect on the automatic jumping.

The human body never fails to amaze me. Our brain and nervous system is so good at keeping us safe that it is sometimes too good.

See, the unconscious mind takes in 11 million bits of information per second through the senses, what you hear, see, taste, smell, feel/touch. When a threat is detected, bits of this information are not fully processed, they are not put into longterm storage because they are important and meaningful- to your survival.

When I was in that accident, my body, or some part of my psyche, felt threatened - my survival was threatened, therefore, the sound of the horn was not fully processed in my mind, it was flagged as “dangerous”. Then later, after the accident, when I would hear the sound of a horn, my nervous system jumped into the fight/flight response to prepare for the perceived threat.

This happens to everyone. It can affect our lives to greater degrees than it may appear at first glance, even in ways that don’t seem “logical”.

For example, you might wonder what’s wrong with you because you suddenly become fearful, unconfident and withdrawn when your boss is around. But maybe as a kid you had an abusive stepfather that had long blond hair and so does your boss.

Maybe as an adult, you don’t know why you can’t bring yourself to go to your son’s baseball game, but it’s possible your childhood sweetheart broke up with you at a baseball game, maybe even in a different town.

Maybe the smell of a certain flower fills you with uncomfortable feelings and you can’t stand the sight of those flowers, because they were at your most-beloved Grandma’s funeral, 20 years ago.

It isn’t weird. It isn’t “out-there”. It isn’t woo-woo. It is our body’s way of trying to protect us, keep us safe. It is a marvellous system that has allowed us to survive for so long.

Think about it. You have a system that can store, catalog and almost instantaneously identify potential threats (even “perceived” potential threats) to prepare you for danger.

We can perceive threats where there is one (someone holding a knife pointed towards you) and where there isn’t one (a rubber snake). This system can keep us on high alert, full of stress, when we don’t need to be.

Thankfully, there are methods to calm the system down, to “deactivate triggers”, if you will, so that long blond hair, a baseball game, and flowers are not perceived as threatening but as the neutral things they truly are…so you can back to peaceful living.

I’m excited to offer a method that helps your nervous system to “stand down” in the face of triggers and calm its stress response. It is called tapping or EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique. It is a method you can do yourself and with guidance, you can get even greater results.

Check out this video to learn more about EFT and try it out yourself.

Schedule a free discovery call with me to see how it can benefit YOU!

Here’s to conquering stress.

With heart,


The Stress Experts

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