In Helping You – 1, I spoke about a very simple breathing exercise you can do when things threaten to overwhelm you. Breathing is so easy – we are all masters at it but we tend to forget all about it when faced with stuff getting too much for us.
The reason that stuff gets too much is something you’ve probably heard of – The Fight or Flight Response, but if you are not too sure what it is, here’s the speedy version…
Millions of years ago, when sabre-toothed tigers roamed the world, having a bit of a day-dream whilst you were going about the chore of staying alive was rather dangerous. Then (and now in some situations) the FFR was, literally, a life-saver. The problem is that if we just relied on our eyes to tell us that a tiger is hiding behind a tree and then factored in the time it took for our brains to process that info and get us moving out of the way, we’d be kitty dinner.
Our bodies constantly take in information at a rapid rate – through our eyes, our skin, sound, smell and taste. Although we can process this information without really even thinking about it, it still takes a micro-second too long to get us to physically respond fast enough to that possible danger.
Did you note that I said possible danger? That’s because the FFR actually gathers all that information, totally by-passes most of your brain functions and whacks the body into high-gear, flooding it with a cocktail of enzymes, dragging blood away from your gut and pushing it all into your arms and legs ready so you can get the heck out of there; thump the tiger on the nose or maybe freeze solid in the hope it won’t spot you.
And THEN your logical brain picks up that something is wrong and gets into the game by studying all that information and deciding that it’s not a sabre-toothed tiger, it’s just someone in the supermarket wearing a leopard-skin onesy! (Yep – still scary!). What is supposed to happen next is that your body relaxes, more enzymes are released neutralising that first rush of adrenalin and you, feeling rather silly and maybe a bit nauseous, go back to choosing which lettuce to buy.
Those deep breaths I spoke of in the last edition? They are designed to give your logical brain time to catch up and realise that all the stuff that is happening isn’t life-threatening, just really frustrating. It gives your body time to allow those FFR enzymes time to calm down and for you to not blow your top.
I’m going to talk a bit more about this in the next post in this series because, in our modern world, those FFR enzymes are running almost constantly for many of us and are affecting our health.
(This Helping You series was written for my local town newspaper – Coral Sea Sun, but as I thought it may help readers here too…. here it is!!!)