When fear alone rules us, we lack the smarts to do much of anything creative, or interpersonal, or spatially demanding.

When fear alone rules us, we lack the smarts to do much of anything creative, or interpersonal, or spatially demanding. Part of what makes us human is that our brains evolved a neocortex, the place where we plan and puzzle and tell ourselves we’re being drama queens. A fright causes a neurological tug of war between the old and new brains. In the deep clutch of fear, our primitive brainstem overrides our problem-solving neocortex, and we become stupid. With PTSD, the brain stays locked into amygdala hyperdrive. Failing to bounce back to baseline, it loses the ability to distinguish between a real and a perceived threat. That’s why soldiers with PTSD often cannot tolerate driving or shopping or loud noises even in safe places when they return home.

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams

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