While we may see ourselves as a very advanced and intellectual species we are in fact fundamentally influenced by our ancient roots. You and I are living today because our ancestors stretching back from now to about 150,000 years ago all had an excellent sense of ‘fight and flight’. This instinct kept them alive and hence we are here today. In terms of evolution therefore this sense is very highly rated. It is however the Achilles heel of many and something I am called upon to coach on a regular basis.
Do you ever find yourself in a professional setting frightened to speak when the CEO asks you a question? Do you ever get angry and see red when challenged in business? Do you avoid situations of conflict? Do you go quite or freeze under pressure? If the answer is yes to any of these questions then you have experienced the ‘fight or flight’ response. The ‘fight or flight’ response is generated by the reptilian part of our brain which is the oldest part of the brain. When activated it bypasses the neo-coretex (thinking brain) and the limbic brain (emotional brain). As we know the result is we can’t think or feel clearly as our psychology thinks we are being attacked. In this state we are unable to make good decisions and are unable to communicate in a clear rational and empathetic manner.
To counter this try this process :-
1. Become aware of the feeling.
2. Realise that this response is being driven by fear of the future or unresolved emotion from the past.
3. Breath into your belly not your chest (this triggers a relaxation response)
4. Bring your awareness to the now (listen, ask a question, buy time)
5. Only now offer a comment, solution or approach
This method works whenever the ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered, it can be used in sport, business or relationships with equal effect.
Find this useful? Please share on FB or tweet – Have a cracking day! Brendan.