5 signs you’ve been hijacked by your reptilian brain

Narcissist cry

Anyone like me who has had a burnout knows how you can be hijacked, as it were, by the stress hormones racing through your bloodstream. The longer the takeover by your reptilian brain takes, the more damaging it is and the more loss of control you experience. Even years after my burnout, the speed of this process continues to frighten me.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been in a vicious circle of ‘stress – sleeping badly – ​​anxiety (because I know how important a good night’s sleep is for me) – even more stress – even worse sleep…’ I suddenly realized that I was operating completely from my reptilian brain and I noticed the following signals:

1 Body signals

My body was in a heightened state of readiness, it was in ‘ Fight or Flight ‘ mode. For me, this immediately manifested itself in palpitations and digestive problems (read: knotted intestines). In my book ‘ Burnout the beginning of change ‘ you can find even more body signals in the chapter about the stress mechanism.

2 Concentration Problems

I wasn’t there at all, seemed absent in my head, couldn’t focus. For example, I missed the exit a few times, which meant that I had to drive for miles, I was at the wrong address for an appointment and I had to reread the pages of an interesting book several times because the message did not get through to me.

3 No quality sleep

No matter how tired I was, I couldn’t get a deep sleep. I did sleep, but very superficially and at the slightest sound I woke up and my heart started beating like crazy. The reptilian brain is focused on danger. After all, when a bear roamed around the camp in the time of our ancestors, it was not wise to fall into a deep sleep, you could pay with your life.

4 Emotionality

Tears welled up in my eyes at the slightest, I was emotionally touched disproportionately. Even positive messages I heard on the radio moved me so much that it made me cry. Your hormones are thoroughly shaken up.

5 Negative thinking pattern

Involving everything on myself, not being able to put things into perspective. A friend who didn’t reply to a message (which is nothing unusual, I often forget this too) was enough to set off a whirlwind of negative thoughts. Also much faster to take things personally and either get on the defensive or saddle myself with shaking feelings.

In addition, I also worried about the future and myself and everything I was doing.

Alarm bells

“Thing, ding, ding…!!!” The alarm bells rang loudly. But knowing that your reptilian brain is behind the wheel is one thing, operating back from the ‘human brain’ is another. This is what helped me switch back:

Extra rest

Even though my rest moments were not qualitative, I continued to take them in enough. Even though I only slept for a few hours, I made sure to spend 8 hours in my bed.

Supportive Supplements

I took natural supplements that helped me, but especially my adrenal glands and nervous system, in coping with stress. Your chemist, doctor or pharmacist can best advise you on this.

Into nature

As tempting as it was to stay in my seat because of the fatigue and the capricious autumn weather. I forced myself to go outside, took a brisk walk in the park and drove to sea after work for a short surf session. Open landscapes with vistas are particularly good for calming your senses (an important part of ocean therapy ).


Even though I really didn’t feel like it, I continued my daily meditations. It was harder to relax myself but it did help. I had myself massaged and relaxed during a holistic pulsing session . A new discovery that I can recommend to everyone.

Talking to myself

Near despair I did this for the first time. Since the reptilian brain believes that you are in an unsafe situation, that your life is in danger, I started to talk to it like this: “It’s okay, we’re safe, it can be trusted here, you can let go…” Miraculously did this really help.

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