Survival strategies. Coping mechanisms.
We all have them.
It’s a natural part of our human experience. Something that was programmed into our biology thousands of years ago… and I mean, thank God for that – right? Can you just imagine what would have happened if humans didn’t have these survival strategies when they were being chased by a tiger?!
But in this modern-day, fast-paced (and essentially “non-threatening”) world that we live in… these survival strategies can actually do us more harm than good…
Today, our sense of threat looks a lot different.
It’s when someone blasts you on social media, you miss a project deadline, or someone cuts you off in traffic… When these things happen, they trigger a stress response in our body. Making us feel unsafe. Threatened.
So your entire system is kicked into overdrive. Fight-or-flight is activated. You go into fear mode. You go into survival mode.
And this happens over and over again… everyday, of every week, of every month, of every year.
Which wrecks absolute havoc on your nervous system.
Yes, our bodies were designed with these wonder survival strategies, and coping mechanisms, that keep us alive when we’re facing danger or our life is threatened… and that’s amazing, when our life is in actual danger.
But since you’re not actually going to die from that hate you got on social media (I promise, you won't)… what you need to do, is learn how to regulate your nervous system, and get your body back into calibration…
There are TWO very important steps to doing this.
The first one seems obvious and simple, but it’s actually waaaaay harder to do than you might think… which is, simply being aware that it’s happening at all.
Now this is easier said than done, because when was the last time you felt triggered in some way and you thought “Oh, hey. That’s my thousand year old survival mechanism kicking in again.” … Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Most of us have a hard time realizing when our nervous system has been kicked into overdrive, simply because we’re so caught up in the raw feelings and emotions of the moment.
But I challenge you to do this. Start bringing conscious awareness to your situation when you catch yourself feeling triggered into a survival strategy.
Ask yourself this, “What’s going on right now that’s making me feel triggered?”
Then look all around you (actually look around), and ask yourself “Is there anything here that could physically harm me, or am I safe?”
Chances are… that you are indeed safe. And just bringing your mental awareness to that truth will help your nervous system come back into calibration.
And after you’ve taken the time to stop and bring awareness to the situation, you can take it one step further, and BREATHE yourself fully back into calibration.
Breathwork is a gift to mankind. Seriously. After less than 90 seconds of breathwork you’ll experience less stress, less anxiety, and improved mental clarity.
And the best thing about breathwork?
It’s NOTHING like mediation. In that, you don’t have to “turn off” your brain in order for it to work. The beautiful thing about breathwork is that your body is doing allllll of the work for you, and your brain, nervous system, and spirit is reaping alllllll the benefits.
It’s magical. I dare you to try it.
Check out one of my favorite breathwork exercises for regulating an anxious nervous system here.