Explore the surroundings to see if we are in immediate danger, run away from a bear, stock up on enough food before winter. Historically, the main function of instincts has been to protect us. But what is it for us today?
According to a certain division, instincts can be classified into three basic categories. Physical, emotional and cognitive. The physical ones warn us that when I’m thirsty, I should go drink, the emotional ones, thanks to the feeling of fear, let us know that we should be careful and either run or fight. And the third, cognitive, help us discover the world around us and develop accordingly.
But others can also work with our instincts, even if we are quite possibly not aware of it at all. “We like to vote for parties that promise us well-being, because a full wallet also means a full fridge and a roof over our head, which again satisfies our basic survival instincts, just with a little detour,” explains psychotherapist Tomáš Féllinger.
But this also means that it can be abused, which is exactly what political marketers often do. If a person is in a situation where they feel threatened, they tend to follow their instincts much more. “If we feel threatened, we want to fulfill those needs immediately, as quickly as possible. And then we reach for quick solutions,” warns the psychotherapist. Only when the needs are fulfilled can we move forward in thinking and reason begins.
“Pre-election Slovakia can serve as a beautiful example. Our ancestors clustered in groups and tended to protect that group. They were protecting her from something unknown that they were worried about. Today, for example, even the LGBTQ+ community can be considered – for some – unknown. Politicians are exploiting public fears, calling them liberal fascists and inciting fear and aggression towards them. They amplify the fears that are there. At the same time, in order to ‘save’ us, it would be enough for them to tell us that they are people just like us,” warns the psychotherapist.
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What else do we use instincts for and how are the anxieties we suffer related to them? You will learn everything in the new episode of the MUDr.ování podcast, where Tomáš Féllinger from Hedepa was a guest, in the beginning of the article.
Conversations about health with a healthy perspective. Publicists Lucie Šilhová and Marie Irová interview doctors and other experts in the MUDr.ování podcast and, with their help, find answers to questions that interest most of us. Every Wednesday at 11:00 on Proženy.cz, on Podcasty.cz and in all podcast applications such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts.