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Reacting to Life in Fight or Flight

Hello hello!

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, this is the episode that I went live about when talking about stepping into Inspired Action.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, no hard feelings…. but let’s be friends. I like to connect with y’all as real people behind the numbers. I prefer it that way. And, I’m easy to find. Just search for @ModernManifestation.

Today’s discussion is about stress hormones. I am embracing my little science enthusiast and bringing you a pretty decent overview of the automatic nervous system and the impact this has on manifestation.

You’re probably like… wait… what the fuck? The automatic nervous system? What does THAT have to do with manifestation? And also, what the fuck is it? It’s been a MINUTE since I was in school right?

Don’t worry. I got you. And before I get into it, a gentle reminder that I am not a doctor, scientist, or have any medical licenses. Please know that I am sharing the information I gathered for myself, and the dots I connected, while researching my own health issues which I’ll address in next week’s episode. Any physical symptom that I mention as a result of stress should not be taken as the only reason YOU might be experiencing one of these. Always consult your doctor. I want to make that clear because I do not want anyone to feel that I’m discounting their unique circumstance.

We all have very complex and very different scenarios. I get it, the things I talk about today might not be why YOU are having issues. But, it might be the reason why one or two listeners are experiencing issues, so I want to make sure they’re addressed. I’m not trying to oversimplify or make light of a serious health issue someone is having. If you know this isn’t the cause for you, cool. Take my overview of the stress hormones as a piece of the manifestation puzzle and put it on the shelf.

Alright, let’s get into it.

I talk more about manifesting from your identity than anything else right? What is your identity made up of? We talk about this all the time…it’s everything! You are a whole ass person formed and shaped by your emotional, physical, environmental, spiritual, and chemical self. But what I’m getting at today is that your identity is also a reflection of how you respond to events throughout your day and your physical state.

Your reactions are just as important as the healthy habits you form. They tell us HOW YOU’RE SHOWING UP regularly. How you REACT to external stimuli like traffic, bills, kids, conservatives, liberals, the news, puppies, a dirty house, determines what you're manifesting more of.

Your reactions to the world around you say more about your identity than the 5 minutes you spend journaling, visualizing, meditating because you spend most of your days, most of your life, reacting to external stimuli. If you can gain control of your reactions, you take the wheel of manifestation.

AND, your nervous system controls what happens to your body when you perceive a threat. So if how you perceive the world determines how your physical body responds, we have to start with how significant these systems are and how they’re impacting you every day. That way, you understand why controlling your perceptions and reactions is critical.

The automatic nervous system is responsible for the physical response which is made up of 2 main divisions: the parasympathetic system and the sympathetic nervous systems. These are pretty much your bodies brakes and the gas. The parasympathetic system’s motto is “rest and digest” and the sympathetic systems motto is “fight or flight”.

Before jumping into how these two systems play into our ability to manifest. Let’s elaborate on what they are.

Parasympathetic System

The parasympathetic system, or the resting and peaceful state, is where we’re meant to be majority of the time. This is the body’s breaks. No danger is present, the body is free to prioritize digestion, sleep, and other bodily functions. This is the relaxed state we enter when there isn’t any danger present. You can embrace the parasympathetic state by meditating, dancing, doing yoga, painting, reading, getting artistic. It’s the slower movements, often the more feminine movements.

Humans were biologically designed to operate from this relaxed parasympathetic state because we’re expected to be hanging out in the cave, painting on the walls, gathering berries, hanging out with the community, singing, dancing, and chilling most of the time….at least in our cavewoman days.

We were only supposed to run into a panther or mountain lion a couple times a week at most! So, our bodies are designed to thrive in peace, the safety in stillness.

Today, most people, especially working individuals, RARELY make time for this system. We do not prioritize making room for the state that we’re SUPPOSED to be operating from. A lot of people experience issues with digestion and sleep because their body can’t prioritize these processes when other levels of immediate stress are present.

Sympathetic System

The sympathetic nervous system is the state you’re in when responding to danger—the fight or flight response. This is the body’s gas petal. This is the state that your body jumps to when a mountain lion jumps off a cliff and starts chasing you. Your body gives you a burst of energy to get away from this perceived threat. You are flooded with adrenaline, glucose, oxygen, and cortisol. This is throwing your hormones out of balance.

The amygdala is the part of your brain responsible for emotional processing, recognizing danger, and sending a distress signal to other parts of the brain to trigger this fight or flight response. Unfortunately, the amygdala hasn’t evolved quick enough to know the difference between our being chased by a mountain lion and our running late for work. The physical and the chemical response caused by stress is the same. Except while we’re running away from the mountain lion, we’re immediately utilizing these stress hormones like adrenaline, glucose, and cortisol to help us run faster and get away. They’re immediately burned off.

When we’re sitting in our car running late for work, however, those same stress hormones and energy have no where to go. They’re not getting used up by physical exertion. They just sit, accumulate, and unless you do something to released them like exercise, they accumulate to dangerous levels until we’re in a constant state of chronic stress, increased blood sugar, and blood pressure.

So….again, why is this important for manifestation?

A HUGE part of manifestation that is often overlooked is our reactions. Our hormones. It is a SHAME that we don’t talk about it more because your reactions determine whether you’re engaging your sympathetic or your parasympathetic nervous system, which is how you are reacting to life as whole.

Ever meet the kind of people who are genuinely always relaxed and never worried about things working out? They just know they will? These are the people who have mastered living in the parasympathetic state. And these are the people who let go and step into flow with the Universe. How you react is a huge part of your identity, of what you’re manifesting.

To be clear, when I talk about stress, I’m not talking about life threatening situations. I’m talking about the overstimulation we allow ourselves to experience every day. We are constantly inundated by information and expectations—impressing the boss, answering emails at all hours, texts, the media, phone calls, work assignments, deadlines, traffic, crowds, job loss, relationships, long lines at the grocery store….. most of these events are perceived as stress for the average person. We’re reacting negatively. Stress that our body is treating as a threat.

When your body is operating in this constant state of stress, your digestive system slows down so it’s easier to put on weight and harder to put on muscle, your hormones are out of balance so you may experience acne, painful periods, even infertility, your memory is effected because the stress hormones make it harder to remember things later.

I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so I’m not saying that all of these things are 100% the result of chronic stress, but I do think that stress plays a significant role more often than not—and it’s something most people don’t place emphasis on addressing or acknowledging.

Majority of the people who tune into this podcast are high-achievers. People driven to become a boss babe. And by nature of our drive, we naturally find ourselves “thriving” in stressful environments. Or, so we think. But, are we thriving? Can we even feel when we’re stressed anymore?

I got to a place where I no longer felt stressed, while stressed. I was so used to the feeling of being stressed, so addicted, that I thought I was relaxed… but my body was NOT staying in the parasympathetic system while relaxing. I was “relaxed”, AND, still in fight or flight. I’ll talk about that more in my next episode. But I challenge you to question yourself. Are you ever truly relaxed?

So what does chronic stress mean for us as manifesters? What are the implications?

Let’s say you’re working to manifest your best MF life. You’re getting up each day, you’re visualizing, you’re working on a positive mindset shift, meditating, working out, you’re stepping into the identity of the person you want to become…. BUT, if you are a driven person or a high achiever, you likely have at least one symptom of chronic stress unless you’ve already done this work. It might be showing up as chronic lower back pain, adult acne, PCOS, irregular periods, severe weight fluctuations, sugar cravings, etc. I’m not saying that stress will be the only cause of these symptoms, but it plays a significant role at the very least—more than you probably realize.

While you’re making so many positive changes everywhere else in your life, these symptoms often feel out of your control. They can be really heavy. You would probably call them stressful! It is hard to ignore the impact that these issues have on your mental state and on your health; therefore, your identity, your ability to manifest.

If you’re dealing with something traumatic like an autoimmune disorder, chronic pain, or infertility as a result of this stress, then it’s likely you’re also feeling anxious, agitated, sad, or even depressed…. which is only adding fuel to the fire and increasing your level of stress.

So how do we work to combat this? How do we step out of stress, when things that are caused by stress, are keeping us stressed?! It feels like a Catch22 right?! It all comes down to managing your reactions....creating space for real rest, saying no more often, making time for activities that engage the parasympathetic system.

I know this is a lot of information for one post, so I am going to talk about managing your reactions as well as my journey through stress, next week.

Have a great rest of your week, and I will catch y’all next Monday! Until then, go out there and manifest some miracles.

- Bre


Check out this discussion on the podcast:

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