The Soothe System

This third system is the ‘soothe system’. Like Threat, and Drive, this system is also part of us and is there from the beginning. Unlike the other two however, it is a system that can ‘deactivate us’. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with resting and digesting, and also relationships. The soothe system allows us to care for ourselves, and to soothe ourselves and others. It is linked with caregiving, and receiving care, and with acceptance, kindness, and warmth.

The soothe system releases chemicals like oxytocin, endorphins and opiates, all the “feel good” chemicals. It also stimulates our immune system to enter ‘repair mode’. Oxytocin, for example, gets released by skin to skin contact when a baby is placed on it’s mother’s chest. It helps to establish the bond between them but also helps the mother recover and repair from child birth, and prepares the baby’s immune system for the outside world.

It is associated with a peaceful state, but is actually very unhelpful when we are under threat. So, we cannot live with the soothe system alone, and we do need the other two in our lives.