Early Morning and Drained by Flight or Fright – Practice Mindfulness to Cope

Adrenaline, fear, frozen – sound familiar? Becoming aware of the causes, putting them into perspective and practising mindfulness gives you an actionable way to cope.

  • Sometimes the hard-wired instinctual ‘flight or fright’ response to a situation kicks in and we become stuck or confused without knowing why.
  • It’s a necessary prehistoric survival mechanism but can cloud what’s going on.
  • There are many ways we can take back control and redirect our thoughts and feelings.
  • I’ll tell you my story and what I learned.

Looking back the build-up was there to see

It had been a long caring haul and as usual, my client had been up throughout the night. He usually goes back to bed by himself if nothing’s happening but low and behold if he hears me moving. So, I lie there in the darkness totally anxious and the adrenaline starts.

Usually, I felt better in the morning but on this day in the shower, I felt light-headed and off sorts. Worried and anxious about the physical conditions that were manifesting due to my work demands, I knew that I needed to take stock of the emotional triggers so that I could function for the rest of the day! but I was feeling tearful, trapped and exhausted and that in turn had surfaced in emotional feelings of guilt and shame with regards to the frequent, insensitive interactions with my client. I was an emotional wreck with toxic body chemistry caused by not uncommon causes.

Getting things back into perspective

It’s amazing how quickly you can feel better once you get another viewpoint, some perspective and a glimmer of a plan. My husband detected the stress in my voice on a call after the shower and immediately said the words “sleep deficit” and planned breaks. I realised that I had put earnings before health, was feeling a victim of circumstance and needed a solution.

There was also an element of woundology going on – waiting to be compensated for my suffering. I have always felt that suffering is a normal and expected part of life and that sacrificing myself repeatedly is a great way to become the heroine of my own story. But suffering doesn’t help anyone else – taking it on so that others don’t have to feel it, is just hurting myself. So, if we cannot change the circumstances then we are in fact encouraged to change ourselves.

But let me make it perfectly clear that in no way is suffering necessary to find meaning. I only insist that meaning is possible even despite suffering – provided, certainly, that the suffering is unavoidable.” – Viktor Emil Frankl

Living in the moment and exercising choice to get back on track

In a caring role, whether it’s professionally or for loved ones, we seem to be continually on red alert and as adrenaline surges through us and the body releases cortisol (around 6 am is common), it all wreaks havoc on our well-being. I know nowadays that it’s so important to recognize the signs by having some practical understanding of the physiology, checking in with our bodies, identifying the triggers and being mindful of the thoughts that weaken us.

When our personal space is compromised because privacy rules don’t apply and surrendering to the trepidation of an anticipated outcome is inevitable, we need to acknowledge that we have a choice in every moment. When fear dominates it is because we don’t trust our choice, and indirectly we don’t trust in our internal guidance system.

We need to learn to be purposely present and not trapped in ‘what if’ thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness allows us to accept and let go by intentionally observing our experience from a place of calm objectivity, anchored in the present moment.

During stressful times the main option has been to remain grounded, find the strength within and make every effort not to be consumed with negative emotion, but rather to “put myself into the present and calmly list the triggers.

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray

Managing the power of choice comes down to being in the present with mind, body and most importantly, soul

There is a lesson we can take from spiritual on intuitive life-coaching perspectives – When we engage in thoughts that separate us from the divine – whether that be a god, inner self or universal connectedness,  it makes it harder for us to tap into the power of intention – the life force that allows us to create the life we want. So, this is where love, prayer and gratitude have their place – even the great scientists understand this.

Fear cannot share the same space as love and “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”   Albert Einstein

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