You have probably heard of fight or flight mode before. This is how you must respond to adversity in order to rise above the pressure and make the most of your opportunities. To keep it simple, the easiest way to explain it is through our friends in the animal kingdom.
Animals live in fight or flight mode for their survival. Take a zebra for example. Imagine that he is on his lunch break eating berries near a watering hole. He senses something isn’t right as there is restless energy in the air. Little does he know that it’s the lion’s lunch break and he’s on the menu. A lion is fast approaching about thirty feet away in the long grass, and about to enter into fight mode. The zebra will need to get his lunch to go or he’s about to have a really bad day.
When we sense danger, our body responds to that danger. There are many instances where people have shown superhuman strength to save loved ones when they go into fight or flight mode.
So now let’s look at how to kick our fear in the butt. When we feel fear the first thing we have to do is STOP.
S- Stop what you are doing.
T- Take a breath.
I actually suggest taking about five to ten slow, deep breaths. If you have ever watched a boxing match or UFC fight, the coaches will always tell the fighters to breathe as soon as the round is finished.
When we sense danger, our body responds accordingly to help us. We go from our rest and digest mode to fight or flight. The parasympathetic nervous system switches to our sympathetic nervous system, blood rushes to our hands and feet, and we are ready for action.
The only way to control our nervous system is through deep diaphragmatic breathing. When we are in our rest and digest system we can operate out of our pre-frontal cortex where we make all our executive decisions.
When we are in fight or flight mode we are operating out of our lizard brains and only reacting to the present danger. That’s why we don’t make good decisions when we are charged with emotions, either anger or fear. Remember to BREATHE!
O- Observe your Fear.
Four things are happening when you are afraid.
- You’re either afraid you’re not going to get what you want.
- Fearful you might lose what you have already got.
- You are afraid of the future.
- Or, you have guilt and shame for something you have done in the past.
P- Proceed to take action to remove and conquer your fear.
Fear can be our friend if we learn how to manage it. Get in the habit of using the stop method.