Fight Or Flight
- March 21, 2016
Fight or flight. You know, the whole theory where, when we get stressed, we fight in the situation or flee (flight). In prehistoric times, fight or flight was a survival mechanism and only those who were finely tuned passed this innate capability to their children. Without doing so, people became victims to predators. Survival of the fittest one might say. This innate behavior has been since passed down over the centuries. Even now, the ethological viewpoint assumes attachment behaviors,
such as crying, have become genetically programmed in humans. The physiological functions of the mother and infant attachment are for protection from danger. Infants are biologically programmed to cry so that if they are in danger, are hungry or want comfort, they have a method to call for their mothers.
As we discuss hardwiring of the brain, it is interesting to note that some studies have shown that women are more prone to rumination. Rumination is that thinking we have where we spend hours going over the same thing, again and again.
Over the centuries, our brains have gotten really good at speeding up the fight and flight response. Now, when we face stressors, our brain immediately has memories of when we were in similar situations. The issue with women is that we tend to remember events of where we were wrong or where we messed up. We then spiral our brains down into this self-defeating, self-bashing event where we then “ruminate” for hours on what went wrong. This rumination of “things we have done bad,” becomes a pattern. Patterns get stronger and quicker over time. You literally begin to brain wash yourself into thinking negativity about yourself. A slow self-sabotage.
This week’s challenge, become aware of your self-defeating thoughts and rumination. Catch the negativity before you spending hours ruminating. When you begin to think poorly about yourself or decisions, try to find support for your faulty assumption, usually there is not support for self-defeating thoughts. The evidence you have about how “bad” you are, is usually faulty. Then, begin to reframe your negative thinking and challenge these thoughts.
There might be times when things just stink, and that is that. Maybe you did make a bad decision. But, don’t turn one bad decision into a lifetime of bad choices and do not think that one bad decision means that you are bad at “everything,” learn from it and march on. And, in the meantime, distract yourself with something you both enjoy and that is healthy for your body: exercise, journaling, finding ways to beef up your energy.
This week: Just get yourself into a stronger mental place.