Fight/Flight Or Calm/Connect?

You are not just wired for fight and flight.  Your defenses, emotions, and reactions do not have to be armed like the Pentagon. 

Your life is really better than the armies of protection and the radar for evil that you think you might need.

You are, in fact, built quite differently.  You have at least 5 inherent inward states that are all connected to the alternative “calm and connect” response that is in you.

There are two parts of your brain, your frontal lobes and your anterior cingulate, that are working hard to regulate your brain to cooperate with these interior states of being that are such enormous gifts that you have as a part of the very nature of  who you are.

You are hard-wired for inner states of gratitude, peace, joy, hope, and love.  They are distinct but they are also “one.”  Each one affects the other.

If you are waiting for events in your outside world to “wake up” these inner states, that will work if your eyes are wide, wide open to the bounty of opulence and abundance that surrounds you.  Most of us don’t have that high a level of consciousness.  We especially lose sight of that when we feel threatened to jump so quickly to fight and flight.

What is the answer?

Practice “calm and connect” as much as possible.   How do you do it?  Simple.  It’s real, real simple.  It’s like going to a gym.  The fleshy muscles you pumped up at the gym were in you; the positive emotions that you can exercise and grow are within you as well.  They are inner states of being and you can own them.

You have an interior state of being of gratitude and peace within you.  Let’s start there.  Practice feeling a little gratitude.  Feel it over and over and over again.  We call it “pulsing”.  Walk down the street and say to yourself, “gratitude, gratitude, gratitude,” and on a scale of 1-10, if one is little and ten is a lot, just feel it at a one.

Try this one.  When someone is talking in your face and you wish they would wind it up and stop, just inwardly say to yourself “peace, peace, peace” and feel it just a little.  If you can’t feel it at a “1,” feel it at a “.5.”  If you can’t feel it, think it,  and sooner or later the feeling will come.

But this is what you need to know.  Your interior life, what exists inside of you already embodies these five states of “calm and connect: “ gratitude, peace, joy, hope and love.  Practice feeling them when you are lifting weights. 

Practice feeling them when you are cooking or doing the dishes.  Practice them when you put your make-up on.  Instead of having your mind filled with thoughts of worry or concern about this or that, make the choice to feel one of your positive inner states.

This is the bottom line that it’s important for you to believe.  There is a “calm and connect” state in you that is potentially as strong, flexible, and agile as your fight and flight response.  You just have to feel it and go inside and find it.

You can meditate.  But, remember, you can also meditate on the move.  You can meditate on the bus, you can meditate during any repetitive task,  you can meditate and “pulse” joy when you’re in the bathroom brushing your teeth!

You can fill your day with what is the deepest truth about you and that is that you, YOU, are peace, gratitude, joy, hope and love.  It is in you waiting to be discovered and come alive, not because you are “whole” and have everything together, but just because you can and because you have it all within you!  This is not something you have to be perfect at doing.  It’s just something that you work at a little every day.

We call it our Emotional Gym.

Have a “calm and connect” day.

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute