Part 1 of a Series
Survival Brain: Emotion, Mind and Behavior
Elements of a New Psychology
My Successful Journey to Effective Stress Management
Welcome to the first step in exploring the human survival brain and how it makes stress management more effective. This is the beginning of a series of blog articles with the goal to create a better understanding of the human mind and the resulting behavior. Let me briefly explain why I am writing these articles.
As a young child I grew up in a war zone. With that came a fair amount of early childhood trauma. As a result, my life wasn’t always easy. I kept searching for ways to ease the inner blocks and irritation which I really didn’t understand. Yet I succeeded in getting a wide-ranging engineering education which included ergonomics and process optimization. I built a career around improving business processes. My passion was to find the root cause of the situation and with that foundation find improvements which made a real difference.
After my retirement from this, my first career, I looked for ways to work on improving health and well-being, in part to continue searching for solutions for myself. Then in 2005 some friends convinced me to take a look at some new natural techniques, which they told me could work miracles. The techniques were called EFT for emotional freedom techniques. My rational engineering mind screamed “nonsense”. But I had to support my friends and watch a video demonstration together with them. What I saw seemed incredible and implausible. The simple rhythmic tapping on some acupressure points helped Vietnam veterans heal their PTSD within a few hours. These veterans had been hospitalized due to the severity of their PTSD for ten or more years.
Unbelievable but real
I couldn’t quite believe what I saw but the people in the video seemed real and sincere. What else could I do now? I had to learn and try out the techniques myself. And despite my deep skepticism, the techniques really worked. My whole adult life I had looked for ways to get rid of this deep stress I was living with. Many of the things I had learned helped me better deal with the stress and the problems it created. But none of these earlier methods seemed to get to the core. But these techniques did! After five or six weeks of using them every day I felt like a new person.
Ever since then I’ve worked with the techniques myself and taught them to many individuals and groups. I improved the basic techniques and made them more usable in daily life. But one thing kept bothering me.
Why did this deceptively simple set of techniques have such a profound effect on virtually all problems a human being could experience, both emotional and physical?
Neuroscience to the rescue
The official explanation by the founders of the techniques and the leading experts (footnote or reference) kept me in doubt. That explanation of acupressure energy meridians and the idea of an “energy psychology”, though innovative, somehow didn’t completely satisfy me. Based on suggestions from my mentor, Dawson Church, I looked into the three-brain theory of the early neuroscientist Paul MacLean. His discoveries set me on a path which seemed promising. Could neuroscience provide the root cause and explanation why these techniques had such profound and wide-ranging effects?
The four other neuroscientists who helped me the most in this exploration were Robert Sapolsky, Hans Selye, Joseph Ledoux and Neil Shubin.
Now I had a strong theoretical understanding how the human neurophysiology came about. I gained a deep appreciation of why survival is the primary and most powerful driver of our behavior and existence. I knew now that stress is a direct result of our brain’s survival response and signals that it “thinks” our survival is in some way endangered. Using this scientific understanding together with my practical work experience, I finally discovered how the tapping techniques work and why they have such universally profound impact.
Future blogs about these discoveries
This series of blog articles will be written with the help of my wife, a professor of mental health psychiatric nursing, who is my scientific advisor. Together we will address:
These new concepts may sound a bit theoretical. But we will make these scientific explanations easy and fun to read. We’ll strive to relate them to personal wellbeing, reducing unwanted stress to feel better and be healthier than ever before.
Warm regards, Fred & Judy
Fred George Sauer, MS, MS Eng., Chief Stress Coach, Performance & Productivity Specialist
Judith Lynch-Sauer, PhD, RN, Scientific Advisor, Clinical Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
PS: If you or someone you love has a deep stress issue to resolve, we would be happy to help. Our coaching has been highly effective for many people reducing stress in most situations. Check out our free initial consultation. As part of the coaching we train clients in the techniques. Then they are empowered to help themselves anytime and anyplace. You may also want to recommend our self-help book, which explains the brain science in easy terms and teaches the complete techniques.
Fred George Sauer Founder of SciStress
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