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