Today we ask that you become more creative and flexible in the way you respond to stress.
Become more creative and flexible in the way you respond to stress.
Most humans are only capable of three responses to situations they find stressful, or threatening:
This is, of course, the well-known “fight or flight” response. It is a very basic, primal response, no more advanced than what one finds in reptiles, fish, and invertebrates. It is your dinosaur brain’s response to a threat.
When a perceived threat arises, you either fight, flee, or move into paralysis.
Many people have a habitual response to stress: they tend to be fighters, avoiders, or experience paralysis.
Of the three responses, “fight” usually feels like the most empowering. Habitual fighters often appear to achieve success from the ego’s point of view, fighting and clawing their way to the top in a dog-eat-dog world.
But people who live in continual “fight” mode are miserable and exhausted. Whatever success their fighting ways may bring them is fleeting, and they take little joy in it. There is always a younger, faster, stronger fighter coming along to supplant them. The old dog will get killed by the young dog.
It is impossible to enjoy life when you are stuck in fight/flight mode — no matter how rich or successful you may appear to be. It is a joyless life.
It is also not a particularly intelligent way of living. Animals in fight/flight mode are cut off from their higher brain function. It is impossible to truly reason or think logically in that mode. That is why otherwise intelligent people may do very foolish things while in the grip of an impulsive fight/flight response.
In order to respond with creativity and intelligence to situations, you must learn how to deactivate the fight/flight response at will.
Who do you trust more in a crisis? Someone who appears to be calm and alert, or someone who behaves like a crazed animal? There are far more effective responses to stressful situations than fight, flee, or freeze.
To access them, you must learn to calm yourself down before you take any impulsive action. When you find yourself in fight/flee/freeze mode, the first thing to do is calm your body down. Obviously if you are in the middle of a car accident or an earthquake, the adrenalized state may be useful. But it is not useful in an office, a supermarket, or when you are on the phone trying to sort out a bill.
Take slow, deep breaths. Soothe your animal body. Step outside. Go for a walk. Listen to calming music. This will activate your higher brain function, so you can perceive you are not facing an actual survival threat because of that email or Facebook post or the thing your coworker said.
The most effective way to take action in this world is not by trying to force reality to do what you want through fighting and beating it into submission.
The most effective form of creation in reality comes from cultivating a calm internal state and addressing matters on an energetic level, before you take any action in the external world.
This means that if you are experiencing conflict and drama around any issue, the thing to do is to find some time and space in which to get calm and meditate on the problem. That doesn’t mean, think about it from an angry/threatened place and form your strategy/plan of attack. It means, get very calm, breathe, hold the issue in your consciousness and then let go.
Just hold an intention to create healthier energy around this stressful situation. Nothing more than that. Ask to release any blocks or obstructions and increase good flow.
From this calm, quiet, open space, you will discover far more creative and intelligent approaches to dealing with problems than you would in the fight/flight mode.
You are humans. You are not dinosaurs. And while every one of you has an “Inner Dinosaur,” you are capable of far more fluid and beautiful responses than dinosaurs were.
You can address problems and dramas on an energetic level. In your mythology, this is what wizards and Jedi Masters do. These stories reflect a deep truth. Every one of you is capable of a kind of wizardry. This doesn’t mean you can magically control reality and gratify your ego. But if you approach situations with an open heart and a desire to increase well-being for all, magic is possible.
Think about something in your life that causes you stress. Something that makes you aggressive, something you want to run away from, something that makes you feel frozen and paralyzed.
Find ten minutes in your day to sit in quiet meditation around this issue with the simple intention of clearing the energy and bringing about healthy change.
Don’t try to figure out how to do this, or come up with a strategy. Just be relaxed and open.
Do this every day for a week, and you will perceive a subtle shift, even in your own thinking.
Such subtle shifts are far more powerful than “winning an argument” or “getting what you want.”
If you make a habit of approaching stressful situations on an energetic level, and moving away from acting out of fight/flight/freeze, gradually your life experience will improve. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen.
“Fight or flight” did not really help the dinosaurs, in the end. It is a very limited response. You are capable of so much more.