The Physiology of Shame

by Sarah on January 15, 2019

Did you know that shame releases many of the same hormones as stress? Because we are wired for connection, it’s a physiological response to the fear of disconnection. When shame is triggered by something someone says or does, a mistake we make or a perceived shortcoming in our identity, neurochemicals are released in our bodies that get us ready to protect ourselves just like if we were startled by a bear on a trail in the woods.

That’s why it’s so essential to understand our unique patterns of reaction and what it FEELS like in our bodies when we are in a shame spiral. The interaction is happening relationally, but the reaction is happening in a split second in our nervous system.

(Attached Image: During a previous Daring Way™ exploration of the physiology of shame, one group unintentionally designed the perfect “shame emoji”)

Common descriptions of what this is like are:

“a pit in my stomach”

“my brain goes fuzzy like TV static”

“time stands still and I feel frozen like a deer in headlights”

“I shrink to get as small as possible”

“my heart races”

“I break out into a sweat”

We build acuity to not get swept up into shame by first increasing our awareness of what it feels like when we are. Then, as we learn to practice shame resilience, we can regulate our patterned reaction and stay present and connected to the truth of our identity much in the same way we would regulate our fight, flight, freeze reaction when coming face-to-face with the bear.

If this resonates with you, I invite you to join me for The Daring Way™, a 12-week online course with personalized coaching from me. The Daring Way™ is a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown, a leading shame, vulnerability and courage researcher.

The method was developed to help us learn how to show up, be seen, and live braver lives. The primary focus is on developing shame resilience skills and developing a courage practice that transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. Sharing our stories, within a safe group of people, we’ll let go of what we’re supposed to be and embrace who we truly are.  

The core elements of the course include:

  • Increasing Shame-Resilience by practicing critical awareness, recognizing shame and its triggers, reaching out and speaking shame
  • Learning and practicing the five Attributes of Empathy
  • Learning the difference between guilt and shame
  • Debunking the myths of vulnerability
  • Embracing compassion, courage and connection
  • Accessing the power of owning our stories
  • Recognizing that vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage

We will meet every week for 12 weeks, starting on September 3rd

WHERE: ZOOM virtual online meeting room

WHEN: Tuesdays from 12pm-1:30pm ET, September 3rd – November 19th

COST: 3-monthly payments of $179 or $499 when paid in full

HOW: Click here to grab your spot! Spaces are very limited.


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