As we all know it is quite difficult to stay relaxed in some situations. We all have a certain physiological response under certain circumstances which makes it quite difficult for us to maintain composure. While this physiological response can be quite helpful if we ever find ourselves in a dangerous situation, it can be quite detrimental (supposedly) under modern normal social circumstances. This physiological response is colloquially referred to as the ‘fight or flight’ response.
How it works is that if you ever find yourself in the situation that you find emotionally difficult, the limbic system will take over and get your body ready either to fight whatever threat you might be facing or to run away from this threat. If for example you are walking down the woods and you run across a bear, this reaction can be quite useful because it will instantly get your body ready to face this terrible danger.
Some say that this is an old and antiquated bodily reaction that is no longer required in this modern world. I tend to disagree because if you have ever walked in any crowded city anywhere, you will know that you might not face a terrible bear but you might face a terrible human being. What this wonderful system therefore is trying to do is to prepare you for any possible physical threat when you are facing an unknown individual. If you look at it logically, it is indeed quite helpful to have this response available to you since most of the individuals that you meet in everyday life are complete strangers and their motivation can often times be questionable.
To try and suppress this response is both futile and dangerous. It is futile because this is an incredibly old physiological response that cannot be overridden, no matter what some experts might say, through reasonable means. In other words you won’t be able to think your way out of the ‘fight or flight’ response. It is also dangerous to try and get rid of this response because it is really a response that we still need to have within ourselves no matter what some idealistic individuals might tell you. We live in a dangerous world and we need our bodies to function as they have been designed to function in order to survive it and thrive in it.
But what do we do then? Are we supposed to somehow be able to figure out when we need this fight or flight response and when not? No.
What we need to do is to be able to have a way to deal with this response in a way that actually enhances its abilities instead of constricts its capabilities.
If you are ever able to study your body while you go into this physiological response, you will notice that there is a great deal of construction. What I mean by this is that your body tends to tighten up to a great extent and your awareness as well, tends to constrict to the point where some individuals experience tunnel vision. There are people that I know of personally that have gone completely blind while in the throes of an intense ‘fight or flight’ response.
While this constriction can help to focus personal energy for whatever physical (or psychic) response, it is also the cause of our inability to act in a coherent manner. What you need to do therefore is to be able to allow your body to pool its incredible resources naturally but to also maintain a high level of awareness so that you can use this great energy to your advantage in the best way possible. In other words what you need to do is to combine the limbic system and the cerebral cortex so that they both work together as one. What this means is that you need to allow your body to become the Hulk and Bruce Banner at the same time.
The best way to do this is to do everything your power to maintain an expanded focus of awareness. As I said, when the ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in, you have a natural narrowing of awareness. This narrowing can be a huge hindrance to higher mental functions and you must therefore do what you can to expand your awareness so that you can logically act within your environment. You do this by making sure that you maintain an expanded awareness and you don’t let yourself go into tunnel vision.
‘The best way to do this is to maintain a peripheral focus with all your senses
*Make sure that you maintain peripheral focus with your vision; to do this extend your arms horizontally and perpendicular to your shoulder. Begin to wiggle your fingers and try to see both hands simultaneously using your peripheral vision. See how far you can extend your arms away from your field of vision while at the same time still be able to see your fingers wiggling. This is the extent of your peripheral vision and you should try to maintain a 180° field of vision at all times. What is most interesting about using your peripheral vision in this way is that you can instantly focus on any point in this 180° arc and you can also focus on one point in this 180° arc while at the same time still maintain your peripheral focus. Using this method alone you will be able to completely control your ‘fight or flight’ response so that you are able to experience this physiological ally while at the same time maintain a more logical demeanor to your actions.
*With your hearing; make sure that you expand your hearing as well, so you are able to hear everything in your environment and not just on the thing that is causing you to feel threatened. For example if you are talking to someone that is making you feel nervous, don’t just listen to what he is saying but also try to listen to everything that is going on around you.
*Try to become more aware of what you are smelling.
*Try to become more aware of what you are tasting.
*Try to become more aware of what you are feeling; notice that your body is most likely constricted and you are probably feeling quite tense. The idea is not to try to fight this tension but to allow your body to try and truly feel the space around you. As you become aware of the space and the environment around you and you try to feel the space around yourself, you will allow your body to naturally become much more aware of its environment.
In this way your body relaxes naturally and is even more capable physically and as a result becomes more confident. Use your mind to expand your senses and begin to discover the true power of your being.
Now this might not be easy for you at first. To fight that natural response to go into tunnel focus can be quite difficult and requires strong intent on your part; the more nervous you get the harder it will be. By expanding your awareness in this way, you will make it much easier for your body to respond in the proper way both physically and mentally. It will never though get rid of that sort of tense feeling that you experienced during these moments and if you are looking for some way to overcome these feelings then perhaps you should try some of the more silly methods that try to get rid of this response altogether. Methods created because it is believed to be some kind of antiquated phenomena that is no longer needed in this ‘modern’ world.
This great tension is actually your body bringing together and focusing a huge amount of energy in order to allow you to have the kind of power that you need to function at your best. If you put yourself into some state where you become completely lethargic during every single moment where your intuitions and your body knowledge are telling you that you need more power, you will end up restricting and completely cutting yourself off from your ability to function at your best. To cut yourself off from this power is really a misunderstanding, which is quite understandable because of all the silliness that has been taught lately, and a type of cowardly response where you feel like you do not wish to participate in the world any longer. Fight this attitude because it is not your natural attitude it is an attitude that has been fostered by decades of incorrect thinking.