I first came across the concept of a threat bucket a couple of years ago and it blew my mind, because it makes so much sense as to why we might be experiencing pain or other symptoms we are struggling with.
It all starts with a bucket and our brain.
Our brains only job is to keep you safe.
It doesn't care that you have deadlines to keep, children to look after, that you want to run that marathon or beat a new PR at the gym.
So in order for our brain to keep us safe, its like a mama bear on the lookout for threat, anything that keeps us unsafe.
This is where the bucket comes in.
The bucket represents our capacity. Some of us have larger buckets, others smaller.
The more things we put into the bucket, the more our brains feel like we are under threat and in order to protect us will put the brakes on, in the form of pain, stiffness, fatigue, anything that will get us to slow down and reduce those levels of threat.
This is why it's often the most simplest thing like bending down to pick a pencil up off the ground that can set off a pain cycle. its often not that particular movement but everything that came before.
Perhaps you have been under more stress at home or at work, this will add to the bucket.
Then because of the added stress, you're finding it hard to switch off at night and are struggling to sleep, which again adds more into the bucket.
Because you're feeling tired, you're reaching for more sugary, processed foods to get you through the day, which again adds to the bucket until some point when the bucket begins to overflow.
That overflow is pain as you bend down to pick the pencil up off the ground, its the tiredness, its the seemingly "unexplained" headaches.
You have reached your capacity and now the brain wants to keep you safe, by slowing you down and limiting the potential threats in your environment.
Its really quite clever and once we start seeing things through this lens, we can have compassion for ourselves and begin to shift our perspective.
Need help with dealing with pain, stress and limitations in movement, get in touch.
Advanced clinical massage therapist and yoga teacher.