Tag Archives: fight or flight

How to Find Your Way In Weird World

Looking through binoculars/en spanareBy Jay Forte

I finally had to turn off the news yesterday. So much cynicism and negative events fill virtually every moment of the broadcast – I think I had had it with sensationalizing the negative. There were so many challenges and battles between people, and within organizations and the government. There are few other words to describe this moment in time than “weird.” What is with our inability to find common ground, care for and respect each other, and value our planet?

Though our world may be weird (and I wonder if every generation says this), it is still our time and place to have an amazing life – weird world or not. Maybe we need two options: how to cope with its weirdness and possibly learn how to undo the weirdness so we won’t have to always just cope.

As an energy coach (a coach who observes, assesses and integrates our normal and stress-induced energies as a means of achieving greater productivity, happiness and success), I am aware that we as a population resonate at a low catabolic (negative) level of energy. This is primarily due to our self focus. Our brain helps us with this narrow perspective because it his hardwired to ensure we survive; our first reactions are always to think about ourselves. This includes the fight-or-flight reaction in stressful situations or in periods of change. So, we show up ready to run or duke it out, always focusing on me, me, me. Though this may help us survive, in the long run it doesn’t seem that this kind of “survival” is anything to aspire to.

Author Seth Godin calls our fight-or-flight or reactionary brain, our lizard brain. This is us in “autopilot” – reacting instead of responding. This gives me amazing hope because there are times when we all can move from react to respond – from auto pilot lizard brain to thinking it through/being intentional. You can imagine that much of my coaching work is helping people see their reaction and learn to shift from it to intentional responses. Here in lies information in how to find our way in our weird world.

What to do?

We can cope. Sometimes realizing that things are the way they are allows us to stop fighting with them and start to accept what is. Eckhart Tolle shares in his book A New Earth that to be connected to a great life, we should always be in only one if these 3 states of mind: acceptance (hey, it is what it is), enjoyment (hey, I really like this) or enthusiasm (hey, this rocks). Anything less limits or diminishes us. So, realizing that the world is as it is can encourage us to take it as it is and cope by accepting what is. We can do this but I think this is accepting average instead of greatness.

Or, we can choose to change today’s weirdness. What are our options for change? I think it goes back to understanding personal energy. The more we focus on ourselves, the less connected we are to others. We don’t see their intrinsic greatness; we don’t value them and their lives as much as ours. To move our world out of weird, we will each need to be more present and aware – more conscious and mindful. Because as we start to show up more to the moments of our lives, we have more information and have greater clarity to be able to be more intentional in how we choose what we do next. This means not letting our lizard brain take over; instead, we access our creative brain. We move out of reaction into intentional responses. When we take the time to understand that everyone is born awesome and are just trying to figure out how to show up to life, we can be more aware, empathetic, connected and less self-focused. This expands our energy and our opportunities. We can truly move our world out of weird and into great. Easy? No. Doable? Yes.

So how do we find our way in a weird world? We can cope. Or, we could realize that we have the ability to change it. Start with you. Stop, think, assess, choose more wisely and more intentionally; don’t react, respond. Then encourage this in your family, friends workplace, social networks and soon the world. Okay, maybe I am getting ahead of myself, but imagine what that world would be like.

We never need to accept weirdness as our standard. Though our fundamental brains just want to keep ourselves safe, our more advanced brains can rise above – choose more wisely, see more opportunities and see the greatness in each being. Be present. Gather information. Be intentional. That is how it is done. I’m in, how about you?

Super Thoughts: 5 Ways to Make Yours Empowering

Beata Zita“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.” ~Author Unknown

I’m a long-time believer in the power of our thoughts, and I tend to focus on the positive. But, sometimes, those darn thoughts just spin out of control and go on their own little tangent, taking us along for the ride. This happened to me recently, but it served as a good reminder of just how powerful our thoughts are.

I was messing around online when an article caught my eye. There was a local headline about a fatal motorcycle crash. Eeek, bad news, for sure. Normally, I would avoid clicking on such an article just because I prefer not to fill my conscious with the gruesome details of the unfortunate things going on in the world. However, I couldn’t help but click this time. You see, my father sometimes rides a motorcycle and the crash happened within a few miles of his home. I felt a strong urge to read more. When I clicked on the article and started reading the details, my heart sank. While the identity of the motorcyclist was not released, the details of the crash had it taking place on a road, in a direction, and at a time that could have easily been my dad. I gulped. Very aware of my own body, I could suddenly feel my heart rate quicken and my breathing become more shallow as my chest tightened up. It was an uneasy, although not completely unfamiliar feeling. I started to feel a deep sadness and worry. I did not like it at all.

“Okay, wait a second,” I said to myself. I had no idea how many motorcycles drive down that road on a given morning, but it had to be a lot. It was a very busy intersection, after all. Plus, I didn’t even know for sure if my dad drove his bike that day, or if he even took that route. There was no real logic behind the sudden panic feeling. I was being crazy, and I knew it. In fact, I did confirm shortly thereafter that all was well with my father. Phew.

This example of the human mind at work is something we can all relate to. It’s just how we’re wired. From back in the caveman days, we were programmed with a “fight or flight” trigger, which used to have a very real purpose (you know, running away from dinosaurs and such). Though we have evolved quite a bit since then, our brains are still wired very similarly. The reaction I felt in my body was actually a defense mechanism. My brain was preparing me for danger. And, despite the incredibly low probability of that bad news actually pertaining to me, from a logical perspective, my brain treated it as if it was actually happening to me. In fact, the feeling was so real that it was indeed my reality for those few moments while the feelings took place. I had created my own illusion just like each and everyone of us go around creating our own illusions on a daily basis. Our perception is our reality.

I tell this story to help others become more acutely aware of their own thoughts and just how incredibly powerful they are. Isn’t it funny how our brains work? From worrying about something that hasn’t even actually happened to reliving a moment in the past to making assumptions that what other people do or say has anything to do with us at all – these are all ways that our mind likes to create illusions for us! And, yes, we are ALL a little bit “crazy” like this at times.

The good news is that as powerful as our thoughts are, we can work to take control of them and harness that power for good. Here are a few pointers on how to do just that.

  1. What are you thinking? Notice whenever your mind starts reeling and also take note of the physical changes in your body. Knowing really is half the battle. A mentor of mine, Angela Jia Kim of Savor the Success, says there are really only two types of thoughts: empowering ones and dis-empowering ones. Simplify it to that level, and learn to ask yourself in any given moment, how is this thought serving me?
  2. Check Yourself. Don’t get me wrong sometimes we really are in danger … but, usually not. Is there really a “dinosaur” chasing you? Is it really about you? Give your self an ego-check. In addition to trying to protect us from (often imaginary) danger, our ego likes to make us feel really special and like everything is about us. But, upon a little logical reasoning, we can realize that whatever dis-empowering thoughts we are having are not actually about us or even real at all. With this awareness in hand, we can then work towards changing them.
  3. Just breathe. This simple nugget of wisdom can be applied to just about any uncomfortable situation. Breathe it out. Deep breathing actually has a physiological effect on our nervous system that sends out neurohormones to basically tell the stress hormones to take a chill. Visualize as you practice breathing. Inhale peace slowly and deeply through your nose into your diaphragm and exhale stress slowly and completely out through your mouth. Continue this until you feel calmness restore.
  4. Fill your consciousness with positive and uplifting ideas. Since thoughts are energy and they turn into our reality, why not feed your brain with some good stuff? From the articles you read to the people you hang out with, to the TV you watch (or not), you are setting the stage for what kind of thoughts will go into that beautiful little noggin of yours. Fuel your mind with knowledge that empowers you. Surround yourself with people who lift you up.
  5. Practice Mindfulness. I can’t recommend a mindfulness practice enough. It helps us become so much more aware of our thoughts and what’s going on with our bodies. It keeps us connected with our core being and intuition. While meditation is definitely at the top of the list of becoming more mindful, there are many other ways you can practice. Yoga is another wonderful one. However, it can also be taking an introspective walk or doing your favorite in-the-flow activity: maybe painting, sewing, or playing an instrument. Regularly practicing these mindfulness enhancers will help you stay grounded, and to keep those crazy thoughts at bay.

Learn to harness the power of your thoughts and enjoy the reward of unlimited peacefulness and joy!

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photo by: ckaroli

Don’t Sit On The Railroad Tracks- Face Fear

 Face the Fear…And ‘Do It Anyway”…but don’t sit on the railroad tracks. How can we distinguish a ‘real fear for an imagined one’?  Living in the illusion of mind-garbling exaggeration, we can take a mere fly buzzing around our head and turn it into a monstrous germ factory. We can spend an hour, an entire day, or a lifetime trying to sort out this misperception.

Debilitating beliefs anchor inside of us, ‘I’m a failure’, ‘no one likes me’ ‘doomsday thinking’ fester as toxic waste. You live in fearful every ready anxious state, anticipating disastrous outcomes.  Cognitive therapy expert Dr. Caren Caty states, "We can intentionally learn to exaggerate or minimize a fear and then begin to distinguish our reality".

How can we know when the train wreck is upon us?  It’s reality for sure, when we witness our 401 K’s plummeting, corporate greed and corruption exploding, lies  and power mongers…keep us individually and collectively fearful in an anxious ready state. Do we fight, stay, or flee?

Let’s imagine for a moment that we are sitting on the railroad track. It’s a glorious sunny day; the breeze is cool and gentle on your face, the clouds are gently rolling by. Focusing on the stillness and beauty you forget everything… even where you are.  OOPs…not the time to fall asleep, to contemplate.

Time and place plays into consciousness, every moment, every day, in every way. Fear in the right situation is a common sensical reaction. If you see the train coming – get off of the tracks, and don’t drive your car across them when the red-saftey signal and bells are clanging.

Lesson: Be mindful, where you put your attention, on what and for what intent.

Merrie Way Muses:

When someone’s drowning you best throw him/her a life preserver. And, that starts with you. Fear is an insidious state that immolb0izes the best of us. We can feel like we’re  “Bouncing Off the Walls”

Inspiring new book….“Bounce Off The Walls- Land On Your Feet  ‘How to Morph ‘Havoc & Hassles into Harmony & Happiness’.  August release.

www.merrieway.com

 

Series: The Truth About Back Pain Revealed: Fight-or-Flight

 

How to apply quantum principles to end back pain continued…
 
I left off explaining that the spinal cord and meninges can become stretched or elongated inside the spinal column when an individual is under stress or is injured. 
 
Neurosurgeon Alf Breig author of Adverse Mechanical Tension in the Central Nervous System (1978), studied the effects of tension on these delicate nerve tissues. He noted that:
 
 “…excessive changes in the cord may produce measurable changes in motor, sensory and autonomic function. These are accentuated whenever the cord is stretched, and may be reversed, and the symptoms relieved, if stretching can be eliminated and the affected tissues are kept relaxed.”
 
According to Breig, tension on the spinal cord plays a role in how our nervous systems operate on a mechanical level. But, how might tension in the spinal cord factor in on a quantum level? For this, we need to look at some new models.
 
One of my great mentors is Donald Epstein.  (check out wiseworldseminars.com). His evolving theories and clinical applications are truly remarkable. Epstein theorized that the spinal cord tissues when stretched, begin to vibrate or oscillate at different frequencies which he calls “phases”.
 
When you’re overwhelmed, traumatized, injured or exposed to toxins, your body reacts defensively in a process called “fight or flight”. This process involves over 1,400 biological changes and it prepares you to survive in a crisis situation. 
 
The fight or flight response can be manifested in angry, argumentative behavior, through social withdrawal, substance abuse, and even television viewing (Friedman & Silver 2007).
 
Part of the fight or flight response includes an increase in blood flow to the large muscle groups, increased heart rate, rapid shallow breathing, and a more defensive posturing (typically shoulders rolled forward, head forward, tailbone tucked etc.)
 
Epstein found evidence in the posturing and vibrational “tone” of the spine, muscles, ligaments and soft-tissues of his patients, that showed him that their bodies were often still in defense and protection — from events that had happened as far back as early childhood to events or circumstances that they were concerned might happen in the future but hadn’t occurred!
 
He noted trends and patterns, documenting which spinal regions were involved when patients were sharing various subjective experiences. What began to reveal itself was an intriguing relationship between the physical structure and tension patterns of the spine, the patient’s perception/consciousness and their behaviors in the world.
 
Then, things began to get even more interesting…
 
More to come.
 
Warmly,
 
John  
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