At a recent training event I was delivering on mental health, I was having a discussion with the class about how the brain responds when it goes into fight or flight – the automatic response system which activates when there is a possible threat present.
The brain uses the past as a reference point, so when you perceive a threat or you get a sense that something “bad” is about to happen, the brain thinks short-term; ie. “what will help me survive this moment?”
This is one of the reasons why we fall into negative cycles of behaviour, why we run away or fight when we could have used a more positive or proactive alternative. If eating a packet of biscuits helped you get through the stress of a work deadline, the brain can see that as a survival technique – so when you get stressed again? Let’s have another packet of chocolate digestives. Problem is, over time, these unhealthy coping mechanisms don’t work for us.
This week, set the intention to Play the Long Game. Without waiting to get stressed or see a threat, plan healthy coping mechanisms you can use if the water gets rough. Instead of waiting for panic to set in, formulate some ideas and healthy strategies you can use that will serve you in the long run. Remember when you’re feeling the pressure your responses are automatic, so if you feel threatened – whether it’s by someone who is after your promotion, partner or property – you’ll resort to old patterns of behaviour unless you teach yourself some new ones. (Techniques like Mindfulness can help with this). Your future self, Mind and Body, will thank you for it.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis