What Threatens You?
The human body is an amazing creation. We are ALL programmed to respond with a ‘protective program’ to any threat. It doesn’t matter if the threat is real or imagined. It could be any of the following –
– physical (earthquake, fire, etc),
– emotional (abusive relationship, tight finances, loss of job, etc)
– structural (whip lash from car accident, fall, etc.)
Once the body perceives a threat, the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism kicks in. This mechanism is run by the autonomic nervous system and it is ‘hard wired’ into your body to protect you. It serves a real purpose and you can’t change it! When you are in real danger, you want your body on ‘red alert’ status.
However, when that becomes your normal lifestyle, you are using very expensive fuel (adrenaline) to survive. The first signs of overusing that expensive fuel are fatigue, brain fog, poor sleep and a small comfort zone! Those symptoms are signs your ‘fight or flight’ mechanism has been working overtime for too long.
You can’t change the protective program (it is hard-wired into you) – – you can change your perception. Let me illustrate how the process works:
· Draw 2 horizontal, parallel lines about 3 inches apart.
· Between the 2 lines, write COMFORT ZONE and put some dots randomly inside the space.
· Now place a dot somewhere above the top line.
The dot represents anything that feels threatening or stressful to you. The more you focus on the dot, the bigger it gets (more fight or flight) and the smaller your comfort zone becomes. Some of the other dots are now outside your comfort zone. As your comfort zone shrinks more things bother you. Sound like your life?
So, what is this EASY way out? Change how you perceive the situation!
Let’s consider exercise. It looks too hard to do (you can use your own example here). Exercise is the dot that lies outside your comfort zone. Here are some steps to change your perception of the dot:
1. Identify something that interests you. I don’t really like the treadmill but I love to dance.
2. Identify your desired outcome. I want a body that can move easily.
3. Identify an easy step to reach that desired outcome that is of interest to you!
I enjoy dancing – I could take a class on Wednesdays, or go to a dance party on Saturday night. I could rent some dance videos. Now your brain is focused on what you “CAN DO” that is of interest to you.
This process allow you to bypass the protective program, enlarge your comfort zone and actually allow you to learn. Now your body is working for you towards a desired outcome.
Doesn’t that look easier? Fighting the “shoulds” of exercise only further imprint the fight or flight mechanism – it is too hard and thus a threat! Switch gears, apply the 3-step shift and the threat fades away and you grow in a new area. Now you are LIVING!