‘ITCHING’ TO RUN or FIGHT: Managing a ‘Ready to Take Off’ Stress, Fight or Flight Response

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Remaining cool, calm and collected has been my ongoing goal to ensure that I stay grounded during times of stress, emotional upset and tragedy. My baseline calm default was altered in the past due to stress trauma and at times had me ‘idling’ on the edge. When stress and grief became a factor in my life, my ‘itchy’, ready to respond sympathetic nervous system ‘gas pedal’ would activate. This disrupted my overall balance, exaggerating my ‘not yet’ overcome vulnerabilities.

Some people have an over active, under active or faulty blood sugar, hormone, immune, heart or blood pressure response. Medically and generally accepted as ‘out of a person’s control’. An over active or run away stress, fight or flight response is seldom given the same understanding or acceptance. Extreme cases may be diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

So what do you do if you find yourself somewhere between an ‘itchy’ stress, fight or flight response and PTSD? I am not going to mislead you by telling you there is a quick fix.  I have been working on restoring my baseline calm default for years using a variety of natural strategies and have made gains and experienced set backs.  The good news is the gains have been greater than the set backs. I am a ‘work in progress’, daily keeping my focus on my ultimate goal of ‘think, feel and respond like a Buddha’. You can find many of the holistic strategies that I have used in the past that have helped me to make huge gains in my health in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. Below you will find some additional and expanded strategies that I use and you can use to help you.

  1. Maintain life balance. This can be a challenge when you are going through major stress provoking times of your life.  Sometimes I feel like I am on a roller coaster ride when these major life stressors come my way. I have worked really hard to maintain life balance over the years and help clients and workshop participants to assess, restore and maintain life balance so that they are better prepared when the major life stressors come their way. You can learn about my life balance tools and workshops by clicking on the image below.  Board with
  2. Create a mantra.  This can help reprogram how your body and mind respond, gradually resetting your base ‘calm’ default. One of my mantras is ‘I chose to remain cool, calm and collected in the midst of stress, drama and the unexpected’.
  3. Use breathing. I recently started this practice again after a major life stressor. Inhaling to a count of ‘1,2,3’ while exhaling to a count of ‘1,2,3,4,5,6’ prompts the parasympathetic nervous system to slow your heart, putting on the brakes to prevent an out of control stress, fight or flight response. When at home I set my cell phone timer to remind me every hour to repeat the breathing sequence several times. When away I can ignore it when it goes off or take a few moments in my busy day to repeat the breathing sequence.
  4. Use imagery and visualization. Combined with the breathing sequences, imagery and visualization help engage my parasympathetic nervous system’s braking action, decreasing my stress hormones and ‘itchy’ sympathetic nervous system’s gas pedal response. Lily of the valley has been a favourite image for me since I was a child visiting my grandmother’s farm garden, and I use it as my ‘go to’ visual and sensory reset. The perfect little bell shaped flowers and calming aroma bring me back to my grandmother’s garden. I have a picture of the lily of the valley on my cell phone wallpaper. I use a variety of sensory essential oils to provide a calm reset.
  5. Incorporate Symphony of the Cells. Symphony of the Cells is an orchestrated application of therapeutic grade essential oils developed by Boyd Truman after 20 years of experience working on thousands of people with chronic and acute emotional and physical conditions. The professionally designed protocols combine the layering of specially selected essential oils with therapeutic properties which are applied in layers to the spine and feet and inhaled aromatically. The spine is an excellent application site since the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system travel along the spine and the spinal cord fluid can carry the therapeutic benefits up to the brain and central nervous system. Each protocol application provides an immediate relaxing and sometimes releasing impact with continued therapeutic benefits as the oils therapeutic properties reach the cellular level. I alternate the neurological, sensory and forgiveness protocols regularly since they can be helpful for managing stress, PTSD, emotional trauma, fear, anger, tension, hyperesthesia, anxiousness, OCD, mental fatigue, loneliness, self-doubt and grief. I highly recommend adding the Symphony of the Cells to your wellness plan. Come and see me for a one on one complimentary introduction and application to get started.  Attend or host a Symphony of the Cells workshop. Contact me at elisabethlhines@gmail.com  or my daughter Amanda Dumouchel @mamasandoils for more information.
  6. Prayer, gratitude, nature and quiet.  My daily companions to promote calm and keep me balanced.

Wishing you ‘cool, calm and collected’ living!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca,

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#stress #PTSD #emotionaltrauma #fear #anger  #tension  #hyperesthesia #anxiousness   #OCD  #mentalfatigue  #loneliness #selfdoubt #grief #fightorflight #posttraumaticstressdisorder #lifebalance #bloodsugarregulation

SELF-TALK REPROGRAMMING: How to Change How Your Body & Brain Response ‘for a healthier you’

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Does your brain and body sometimes seem to have a mind of it’s own and you feel like you are in the backseat, in terms of how your body or brain response? I spent years being hijacked by an out of control flight response.  Some people are plagued by an out of control ‘fight’ response. Some of our responses are learned from past experiences and traumas.  In spite of ongoing stress management efforts over the years after years of stress sensitization, there were still triggers.  While a normal emotional response is to be expected in times of challenge and stress, the goal is to eliminate being hijacked mentally or physically. I always envied people over the years who I noticed remained calm in situations that would have initiated a hijack response in me.  I experimented with many strategies to eliminate the ‘hijacks’ and have managed to stay ‘cool, calm and unrocked’ in most situations. You can read about these strategies in my book.

One of my triggers was a fear that if I was ever pulled over by a police man, for speeding or other (roadside check), that I would have a panic attack and not be able to speak.  I had never been pulled over in more than 65 years and yet when I saw a police car, I would take my foot off of the gas pedal, even when not over the speed limit, and have a pang of anxiety, which then sent my mind to my ‘worst case scenario’ response thoughts. I decided I needed to work on that, since there was a likelihood I would at some time be pulled over or stopped for some reason. My mother had recently passed and I could now focus my attention on my needs. So earlier this year I formulated a statement that I repeated every time I saw a police vehicle: “I choose to remain cool, calm and unrocked in the midst of being pulled over by a police officer”.

About six weeks after I started this self-talk regime, I was pulled over by a police officer in Nova Scotia while driving a rental vehicle.  I knew I wasn’t speeding but knew he was pacing me, but unsure for how long. He came to the window and I felt calm, strange!. He asked me if I knew why I had been pulled over and I calmly said no. I felt no familiar ‘hijack’ panic. In the end the reason I was pulled over was that the license plates had expired stickers, a rental agency issue. In the end, I had neutralized that particular ‘hijack’ trigger, reprogramming my brain and body’s response, by repeating my self-talk statement. I recommend that you give it a try.  Work on one trigger at a time, for a period of weeks, repeating at least once daily.

Self-talk statement wording:

“I choose to ___________________________ in the midst of ___________________

                                                                     (conflict, bad news, loss, trauma, disaster).

“I choose to __________________________when (if) __________________________.

For some additional supports to help your ride your wave of emotions as you heal, visit My Green Medicine Cabinet.

Wishing you success in reprogramming your body and mind’s out of control responses.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner

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