The Three F’s and Their Impact

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The Three F’s and Their Impact

Amygdala – The amygdala is the almond shaped part of the brain which is responsible for basic emotions such as fear.

Autonomic Nervous System – This is the part of the nervous system which affects unconscious bodily functions such as temperature, digestion, breathing, and heart rate.

Dissociation – The state of being disconnected.

Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis or HPA Axis – The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are located in your brain and your adrenals are located on the kidneys.  Together, these structures regulate your response to stress.

Intuition – The ability to understand something immediately, without need for conscious reasoning.

The Three F’s — Everyone has heard of the concept of fight or flight, but there is a third option: freeze.

When a person is in a situation in which they feel imminent danger, and they know they cannot escape (flight) or overpower (fight) in order to defend themselves, they instead, freeze.

This means the person does not know what to do, so they are just paralyzed with fear: like a deer in headlights.  This is a natural response and is nothing to feel ashamed about.

In nature, most mammals that experience the freeze reaction are able to reset themselves through their autonomic nervous system (ANS).  However, in cases of chronic distress or repeated traumas, the ANS is unable to reset and the freeze behavior becomes ingrained.

This chronic fear based response manifests itself psychologically, physically, and behaviorally.

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All of these symptoms and feelings are enough to make a person want or need to dissociate.

Dissociation can create a barrier to experiencing the pain and the feelings within the mind and body.  It is a coping mechanism.

What are some things that can be done to help reconnect to the mind and body?

Mindfulness.

Body: Whenever you think of it, just notice your posture.  How are you standing or sitting?  Are you leaning or slumped?  How does the alignment of your back feel?  Are your muscles tight or sore?  How does your stomach feel?  How do your joints and feet feel?  Is your jaw sore or tight?  Are you hungry or thirsty?  Are you tired?  Are you restless?  Do you need to stretch or move around?  Listen to your body.

Mind: What are you thinking about right now?  What emotions do your thoughts and observations bring up in you?  Are you feeling frustrated with yourself, your situation, or other people?  Are you feeling stuck or hopeless?  Are you dwelling on past events or worrying about the future?  Remember, the only time is the present time.  Deal with what is going on with you in this moment.  You can’t change the past, the future hasn’t happened, but you are in control of what you are doing in this moment.  Notice the recurring thoughts, feelings, and themes in your life.  What does your pattern tell you?

Your Mind and Body have intuition, and although many of us have learned to ignore that intuition, it can be relearned through practice.  Listening to your intuition about what your mind and body needs will facilitate healing.

Grounding Techniques – Sometimes, due to how we feel, it can be difficult to stay present! Here are some methods of grounding:

  • Carry a stone, crystal, guitar pick, or other small trinket that you can fit in your pocket or purse, to look at and feel whenever you need to
  • Wear a ring, bracelet, or necklace which you can twist, tug on, or feel as needed
  • Identify 4 colors around you, 3 sounds, 2 smells, and 1 thing you are grateful for in the moment
  • Focus on your breath
  • Focus on specific muscle groups, tightening them for a few seconds and slowly releasing them

Gratitude – Every time you feel upset, angry, frustrated, or hopeless, (acknowledge those feelings and know your feelings are valid) and balance it by finding something you are grateful for.

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Being Conscious For Evolution

Being Conscious For Evolution

There are times when I want to reach out and there are times I want to recoil.

This is Natural, as I am constantly adapting to whatever is in my Awareness.

Being less ingrained in the past allows Presence to guide thoughts and behavior in the desired direction.

Acknowledging possible outcomes but not being limited by them, allows Focus on taking action on Behalf of myself, which is essential to Evolution.

Reflection: Path to Freedom

Reflection: Path to Freedom

Reflection Questions

What does it mean to be a person?

What does a worthwhile future look like? What am I doing to achieve that future for myself?

What is the theme in my life and what is my role?

What is the purpose of my actions?

Which thoughts and feelings cause me stress?  How do I cope with stress?  Does that hurt me or help me?  What can I be doing differently?

What is the difference between a victim and a survivor?

How do I remove “would”, “could”, and “should” from my vocabulary?

Why is it difficult for me to be present?  What am I avoiding?

How can I appreciate myself and care for myself more?

What does good health look like?  What am I doing to be healthy?

How can I be understanding and compassionate toward myself and others?

What are boundaries and how do I establish and maintain them?

What are some warning signs that I am falling back into old habits?  What keeps me motivated to continue moving forward?
What ideas hold me back and how do I let go of them?

Where do I put my energy and does it benefit me?

Who Do I surround myself with?  Do they build me up or tear me down?

What do I need more of in my life?  What do I need less of?

What is something I would like to learn how to do?  What am I doing to learn it?

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Manifest

Tightness ’til collapse

Inward until outward

Atoms gather to shatter

We’re in this together

Lay the past to rest

And walk with me

First to stand or last to sit

No one notices the rest

Who you are is who you’ll become

Because it is always now which manifests

Finding Closure

I have been spending more time with my grandfather lately.

I am witnessing a man realizing his own mortality and he has so much fear and sadness.

He has become smaller in stature, slower in pace, an accumulation of grief and rage over 79 years. Regrets. Feelings of not belonging, of rejection by family.

I’ve been frustrated the past several months, because I don’t seem to know what to say to help him feel better. His lashing out at others and saying inappropriate things is nothing new, but for some reason it deeply bothers me more than ever.

I want to see him value the people who make an effort to be a part of his life, not gripe and be belligerent. I want to see him have peace so that peace can extend to others.

A couple of people have mentioned my grandmother lately and how I remind him of her. So I was thinking of asking him, if she were here right now, what is it he would want to say to her. Maybe he can find some closure by unburdening.

Nature of Self

I’ve been thinking more about what the self actually is.

For me, it feels like I am a sum of many traits, experiences, knowledge, and assumptions / schemas created by those things. These parts can configure in any number of ways to adapt to any number of situations.

This would mean that the Self is contextual. So a good way to learn more about the self is through interactions with others.

If how I am around others is always shifting, can I ever truly know myself?

I think of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. You can’t accurately measure both position and velocity. I also think of the observer effect seen in physics and psychology. The mere act of observation changes behavior.

If I know I am being observed, I am different than when I am unaware.

If I am observing myself, then I am not being myself. So that view too, is inaccurate. 

The best I can do is look at the underlying mechanisms behind my actions, to see what patterns and inconsistencies are there. I can look at my narrative, the language I use, the view I have, but beyond that, perhaps I shall never know.

Having said all that… I suppose it does not matter. At the end of the day, I get lost staring up at the stars. And who am I to the stars?

I just make my way through life. Every interaction has the potential to change me somehow, for better or worse, or perhaps not at all.

Everything I add to my life has a chance to really add to my life or take away from it.

 Every action has the potential to build up or break down.

So maybe the question isn’t so much about position (self) but the action (momentum) I take. 

There needs to be balance.

Three Pillars

The sky is light blue, with a few streaks of white clouds. The air is cool, but the sun is warm on my skin. I walk across the crisp green blades of grass, feeling the coldness of morning dew on my bare feet.

I see three great pillars ahead, arranged in a triangle, with a circle patch of barren earth in the center. I journey to the center of the pillars.

The first pillar represents grief. I think of all the suffering and loss in my life and the lives of others. Every rape, every murder, every assault, exploitation, and oppression cuts at my soul like a flaming sword. I must learn to wield it.

The second pillar represents rage. I can hear the cries of a million souls. Injustice! So much injustice perpetuated across time and space. I feel my muscles swell up, ready to take action. I feel ready to react and to protect.

The third pillar represents love. In this moment, I can say that I am loved. I realize that life is movement. I must always move in the direction that I want to go in. Focus on bringing the best out in myself and others. That is love.

Grief, rage, and love are motions in life. We are meant to be moved by them. What do those motions bring up in you?