Remember that bully that you really wanted to punch?
Only you couldn’t fight because s/he was bigger and stronger.
…You RAN, fast. You made the right call.
Your legs took you away from danger, as fast as possible. (Thank-God!)
Flight is another instinctive form of self-protection and a defensive response to a threat.
It happens when the perceived threat is so great that fighting would be a mistake, probably unsuccessful and failure would have significant negative consequences.
So you get the hell out of Dodge. Good job!
Your heart may be pounding, palms sweating and you’re out of breath.
So when the desire to run hits you, take a moment…
(Even if you didn’t just outrun a tiger…chances are you need to pause and try this)
Look around, literally, find 5 objects in your environment that are pleasing to your eyes. Whether you are feeling threatened or not pause, take 10 seconds and look around right now.
Recognize you got away.
You are safe.
Either from a literal bully or another perceived or real threat, one that happened today, last week or 20 years ago.
It doesn’t matter.
Our nervous system can get stuck responding to threat from long ago as if it is happening right now.
And your brain is really bad at telling the difference between imagination and reality.
(That’s why your palms sweat and you jump during a scary movie.)
So, to calm yourself down and not feel the need to bolt out the door, do this one simple exercise.
Pause and look around right now.
Name 5-7 objects you see that you like.
Notice what happening internally. in your body, after finding them?
Now, what happens if you literally say (out loud), “I’m Alive“?
We have already taught you how to track sensations.
Follow the internal sensations inside after you repeat, “I’m Alive”.
Pay attention to your experience inside, does your belly relax?
What happens in your chest?
Do your shoulders drop?
Did you take a deeper breath?
How to Identify if You’re in a Flight Response
- Feeling like your legs are restless or fidgeting
- You scan for escape routes – need to sit by the door or facing the exit
- You don’t feel like your weight is planted on the ground
- Feeling panic, anxiety or terror
Do you remember the last time you got away or “escaped” a situation that was or seemed dangerous?
Clearly, you did or you wouldn’t be reading this now.
That realization gives you an often forgotten but hugely important reminder
You succeeded. You’re ALIVE!
Take that in.
Notice what happens internally.
Track your body’s internal sensations
And, as I’ve mentioned before…
Write down your experience(s) with the above suggestions and exploration.
Look back on it in a week or two as you continue self-exploration and trying some of these exercises.
Download my free e-book and Destress In 7 Simple Steps. It is the foundation for beginning to have more resiliency and a healthy nervous system.
Thank you for taking the time and honoring your nervous system. You won’t be disappointed if you pause even for a couple seconds and apply some of the tools you learn here.
It’s been a pleasure serving your system in helping you heal.