Written by Dr. Daniel Kimbley
Have you ever been sitting eating dinner with someone and you notice that not only are they chewing with their mouths open, but you can hear their lips smacking and tongue crackling with salvia at every bite? What about hearing someone breathing loudly?
And then, once you notice it, it stresses you out more and more until you nearly can’t take it?
I know some of you are thinking “nope, never had that experience before” while others of you are reading this and getting that nails on a chalkboard feeling up your spine just from thinking about it.
I fall into that second category. Regardless of what category you fall into, it’s important to understand this phenomenon as it will give some insight into how our brains function and think.
What I’m really talking about is a disorder termed “misophonia”. Misophonia is quite literally a hatred of sound. The question for me though is this: why would anyone have this abnormal anxiety around everyday sounds?
One argument would be to say that the sounds are the problem. Remove the annoying sounds, there is no problem! The other would be to look at the cause of the problem coming from the amazing piece of machinery responsible for interpreting sounds in the first place—the brain.
I’m going to have you consider that the actual sounds are not the CAUSE of the problem, rather, the way the brain interprets them is the problem.
When messages come into the brain, they come from what we hear, what we feel, what we see, what we taste, and what we smell. All of those messages go into the brain, get organized and then give us a concept of what’s happening around us—we call this reality.
The brain’s job is to figure out what’s a threat, what is not. What’s important, what is not. And when non-threatening sounds give someone anxiety, we have to ask WHY does this happen.
And it happens because of how your brain is wired. As your brain grows, it develops newer and bigger connections based on life experiences. The cool part about these connections, known as synapses, is that they can be built/grown or destroyed throughout the course of someone’s life.
In times of high stress, or overstimulation the brain will default to whatever branch of the autonomic nervous system you’ve strengthened the most over the course of your life.
If you’ve strengthened the “fight or flight” mode of your nervous system by constantly being stressed, then when you experience lots of stress, your brain will default back to that fight or flight mode. On the other hand, if you’ve strengthened your “stay and play” mode of your nervous system, then when you experience lots of stress, your brain will default back to a more peaceful place.
Unfortunately, when we experience sounds that give us high anxiety for seemingly no reason, it’s a good indicator that the brain is interpreting rather harmless sounds as a threat. The solution is to help create new connections in the brain that interpret the offending sounds as less stressful.
Because 80 to 90 percent of stimulation and nutrition to the brain comes from properly moving joints of the spine, it’s integral to your brain function that your spine is well adjusted.
When we adjust the spine, it changes the way the brain processes information and can, over time, change the brain’s default mode thereby giving you more presence, more patience, and more productivity.
If you want more info, contact us using the “Request Appointment” button at the top of this page.