“It's not just having a saber-toothed tiger in front of you, it’s the thought of the saber-toothed tiger”
- James Kingland
Being in a constant stress response can be really damaging for your body; if you see everything as a saber-toothed tiger, your body is going to be on constant high alert. Most people have heard the fight-or-flight response. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, it assisted us in surviving immediate danger. If you were being attacked, you needed to be able to defend yourself. So you, fight, or….flight…. run away. What people don’t know, is that those two states dump a bunch of hormones (cortisol, for example) into your bloodstream. It helps you react a little faster, move a little quicker. Which is great! …Except when it’s happening all.the.time.
“…The same stress responses, triggered chronically and without resolution, produce harm and even permanent damage. Chronically high cortisol levels destroy tissues; chronically high adrenaline increases blood pressure and damage the heart… the fight or flight response was indispensable in an era where we had to confront natural predators and other dangers. In a civilized society, this is triggered in situations where it isn’t necessary nor helpful” -Gabor Mate.
In order to talk ourselves off the ledge when we are seeing saber-toothed tigers everywhere, our awareness and rationalization can allow for us to self-regulate the body’s responses. We need to be able to have some sort of grip on reality to be able to distinguish what is a real threat, and what doesn’t warrant the stress.
We need to recognize what is actually real in the moment and what is based on a pre-conditioned response based on past experiences.
Additionally, we need to be able to calm ourselves down when we have automatically worked ourselves up into a stressful state. I think this is one of the reasons mindfulness and meditation are so important.
Mindful breathing and meditation allow us to practice living in the moment, recognize thoughts and feelings as they are, and then allow us to do our best to accept them. Awareness and the practice of meditation allows us to (try) to have a more objective stance on our thoughts. If we can learn to breathe properly, it has a down-regulating response that takes us out of fight-or-flight, and slows the release of the hormones into the bloodstream that will eventually cause harm.
This week Adam and I are launching our Mindfulness series; it is 15 videos that focus on mindfulness training while you stretch. These videos are intended to not only get you a little more limber, but hopefully increase your awareness so you can start to differentiate between the real tigers and that annoying email that your co-worker just sent.
We are launching tomorrow and have introductory pricing! Woo!
See you on your mat!
Megan and Adam