I did a survey asking the following question: What are your usual coping mechanisms?
Take a minute and answer it for yourself.
The responses I received went from “Eating junk food” to “Playing games online” to “Binge-watching “Tiger King” to “Mixing a batch of martinis” and on and on.
Most responses were about indulging in one way or another. Indulge means to participate in an activity that is undesirable or disapproved of and doing it much too often.
I hear you saying “Just zip it and no preaching, please. Not now. Not when I must adjust to life changes that I didn’t choose. I just want some comfort. Is that so bad?”
Nope, not bad at all.
Although, maybe, just maybe, there are more positive ways to spend your time.
We retreat to indulgences when we feel threatened and want to run to a safe, familiar place for our own survival.
That brings me to a Cherokee legend that we all need to think about. You see, when crises and change are upon us, we have choices.
There are two wolves and they are always fighting.
One is darkness and despair, the other light and hope.
Which one wins?
The one you feed!
Listen closely and you can hear LIFE requesting you to use the reset button. Right here and right now. Requesting you think differently, change your habits. Stop indulging.
Here’s a way to think about which wolf you are feeding right here and right now and what you can do differently.
There is the survival brain. And there is the creative brain.
The survival brain is vital for safety. Its goal is to keep you out of harm’s way. It is in the brain stem and the limbic system. A Key player is the amygdala (what I have named Amy Hijack). It’s responsible for detecting fear and preparing for emergency events. It then sends a message of “danger here” to the hypothalamus to trigger a fight or flight response.
The emotions in the survival brain include anxiety, anger, disappointment, shame, revenge, regret, and blame.
Many of us live there most of the time.
The creative brain is in the frontal cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia and white matter.
The emotions here include curiosity, peacefulness, empathy, joy, calmness, ability to plan, joy and gratitude.
Which area of the brain do you want to feed?
Donald Hebb, a Canadian neuropsychologist said it best. Known as Hebb’s law: “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” And that means, with enough repetitions, your thoughts and behaviors become ingrained patterns.
Now, that’s a game-changer.
What does this mean to you? Yes, you. You going through changing times that require you to adapt and adjust?
It means in a short sentence, “The more we move away from fear and defeat and move toward curiosity and exploration, the more we feed the creative brain.”
Which part of your brain do you want to feed right now?
Keep an eye out for my brand new masterclass “How to Practice Safe Stress During Times of Distress” and learn the mental/emotional exercises to feed the part of your brain that will support better health and more success.