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Stress: Fight - Flight - Freeze

There are three areas where I’m currently putting my emphasis for developing my personal life and my coaching: Philosophy, Psychology and Meditation. Each of them offers are unique, but synchonistic, perspective on the subject of human consciousness. For example, Philosophy explores the subject of Consciousness asking "what is it?" Psychology takes a scientific approach exploring consciousness through the measure of brain waves - Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Theta states. Mediation explains consciousness as a transcendental collective experience and union with being, and has the capacity to measurably alter our brain frequency. Personally, I’ve got a very fast-paced mind, so I know why learning to alter my brain frequency is important, in fact it's a necessary, for me. And I suspect I’m not the only one…in fact, I’m pretty sure this is a collective syndrome a.k.a. a form of stress! Now, this is the important bit which is well documented: Stress activates our fight/flight/freeze response, in our limbic system, a part of the brain shaped by evolution. It's a survival response with a simple premise: it alerts us of danger, prepares our body to respond, WE RESPOND, and the system re-balances. We have to understand, stress is not bad - it’s an evolutionary evolutionary response, it fulfills a purpose - survival - to face the threat or danger, to outrun the tiger! But what’s happening now, in modern society when we’re not being chased by tigers through the city during our mid-morning coffee break? The game has changed: we’re under a different kind of constant, chronic stress - a symptom of our largely fast-paced, modern, technology focused, and tragically sedentary lifestyle - but the bodily response is the same, except now it's continuous! So a system that is designed to work in a 20 minute stress-response cycle, never stops and our bodies are always in survival mode. Put in another way, we are continually operating from our sympathetic nervous system - which functions like a gas pedal in a car. So, basically, you could say we're on auto-destruct. You see, because the stress is continuous, the system is in overdrive... ... and we're never able to fully flush out and continually releasing more stress hormones (e.g. adrenaline, cortisol). Nor fully releasing the muscular tension created by the response, which prioritizes the blood flow to our muscles - essential for running away - at the sacrifice of many of our vital organs and biological processes and systems. So our digestive system, brain functioning, and reproductive systems are taking the hit, to name just a few important ones that are getting compromised. We essentially flatline.

From a coaching perspective, the way I see it we can begin to tackle the situation in at least two obvious ways:

  1. We change our lifestyle to eliminate stress, and in my opinion this is the best course of action that addresses the root cause.

  2. We keep our existing lifestyle and improve the situation with the support of stress reduction, for example with yoga, meditation, exercise, coaching or therapy, to treat the symptoms, and effectively mitigate and reduce stress. I think this has it's own merit!

Coaching is a powerful and practical tool for creating change in your life. I’d love to explore your world with you and help you transform areas of your life you’d like to change or see improved. Are you ready to make a change? Let's have a conversation. Here a few resources if you’re curious and keen to delve into all of the above a little deeper: Stress & Fight/Flight/Freeze Ted Talk - How to Make Stress Your Friend


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