Jon Kabat-Zinn

Fearless Fantasies – Fight, Flight or Freeze – a Fearless Quick End

Fearless Fantasies – Fight, Flight or Freeze – a Fearless Quick End

How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?

800px-Frightened_Girl_(Imagicity_1169)

Fight-or-Flight/Freeze is a normal response to threat. The purpose is to prepare the body to deal with the threat. The brain’s alarm centre in the Limbic System directs the sympathetic nervous system, (SNS) to alert and arouse the body. Ephinephrine, (increased heart rate) and norephinephrine, (increased motor response) are released into the bloodstream and insulin (increased blood sugar), as well as cortisol – via the hypothalamus, (releases energy). These chemicals cause the body to respond appropriately by increasing your energy levels, heart rate, arousal and pain relief, (endorphins). (Charney, 2004). These responses are involuntary. Imagine if we forgot to pay attention to breathing, oops, I got distracted. However, if exposed to situations of prolonged stress, one stays in a kind of hyper-arousal state, which has a very negative effect on a person.We need to be able to return to a relaxed state, since this arousal is meant to be brief.

Learning to meditate and be mindful are ways to reduce arousal. See Meaning and Mindfulness for resources and a free How to Meditate. See some audio guided visualisations on In Mind In Body.

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So frankly, if I was unable to feel fear, I am afraid I would come to a quick and unpleasant end. Thank goodness for the involuntary responses of the sympathetic nervous system.

Reference: Charney, DS. 2004. Psychobiological mechanisms of resilience and vulnerability:
implications for successful adaptation to extreme stress. American Journal of
Psychiatry,161: 195-216.

Do read Jon Kabat-Zinn, (1990). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. Dell Publishing. New York, NY.

See a You Tube video here: Single most important thing you can do to reduce stress. It’s great! Thinking and mindfulness, being in the moment. Also, creating a personal story, a personal narrative really helps. Doing good also helps. Thoughts and attitudes are key.

For more cool stuff like this video see Evans Health Lab.

Viktor Frankl would agree with the view expressed in this video:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl Also the idea that between stimulus and response there is a space. In this space one can choose one’s response.

Image by: Graham Crumb – Amazing Black and White and other photography – Creative Commons Attribution here: Imagicity

Fight or flight image from: Stress Physiology by George Everly

Here is a great resource on Wiki How: How to Calm your Fear Reactions.

 

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Groundhog Week – No, no, no, where have the common niceties gone?

Groundhog Week – No, no, no, where have the common niceties gone?

If you could relive the past week, would you? Would you change anything?

The idea of being able to relive a week, a moment, a year, a nanosecond, does not sit well with me. There is a universal tendency to look forward or look back. We mostly spend so much time in these ways of being or thinking or wishing or hoping, that we entirely miss what is happening in the NOW! Our levels of distractedness are so profound, that we can barely make eye contact with others, let alone observe even common niceties. Our manner of approaching others leaves a great deal to be desired. Are we able to parent, to connect, to be here in a way that is real in the giving of our attention? Our times suffer from the malaise of a disconnectedness, a lack of meaning, a lack of life lived substance.

Give me the now, the profound moment, in which I can be fully present, without judging, just simply being, no back no forward no reliving no hoping for what is to come or longing for what has been. Let’s pay attention. Let’s start now.

Jon Kabat-Zinn calls this mindfulness:

“paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally”

 

In a book by Nicholas Carr, reviewed on eLearnmag, he talks about what the internet is doing to our brains, The Shallows, which elaborates on what I wrote yesterday, mainly around the issues of distractedness and meaning.

“He examines reasons we all might be haplessly ignoring the various side effects this is having on our ability to focus, think deeply, and think critically about the things we read, see, and discuss.”

To read more go here, there is an interesting review, evaluation and conclusion to this work written by David Seckman, a great and worthwhile read.

Terminal Time | Fleeting not Terminal Befriending Your Mind

Terminal Time | Fleeting not Terminal Befriending Your Mind

This is easy.

I would practice mindfulness meditation. Finding a quiet place in the chaos, even a not so quiet place would be fine. For you to enjoy listen to this link, mindfulness meditation led by Sam Harris, it is great:

See Sam Harris

I would guide myself in this meditation.

After 30 minutes. I would come out of this space and gently and non-judgmentally watch the people going by.

I would then read the latest research on mindfulness meditation.

Done!

Here is Jon Kabat-Zinn, an amazing speaker and founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Do watch and listen, he is awesome.

Befriending Your Mind Befriending Your Life – Just Be Here: