We’ve all experienced “fight, flight or freeze,” otherwise known as “acute stress response.” According to Healthline, “The fight-flight-freeze response is your body’s natural reaction to danger. It’s a type of stress response that helps you react to perceived threats, like an oncoming car or growling dog.” When “freeze” was added to the fight-or-flight model it explained the pause moment where one is preparing to protect oneself, otherwise known as “reactive immobility” or “attentive immobility.”
I have another option to add to the model: FLOW. Flow will take someone in a dangerous (or perceived dangerous) situation back to a frontal lobe connection and out of the primal brain. But how? Is it really possible to control our reactions? Yes, it is. And the antidote is with you and has always been with you and every living being…. BREATH.
Breath has much more power than most give it credit for. It has the capacity to reverse the course of our response to threats, to improve our overall health and lift our spirits. In the book “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art,” author James Nestor discusses the evolution of the human body and breath’s vast impact (trust me, it’s worth the read!).
During this intense time of disorder – socially, culturally, politically, and so on – breath can move us quickly and efficiently into re-order. With intentional breathing, you can truly change your life, something I’ve been focused on with my Executive Coaching Clients.
There is a swirl of despair among many of my clients (understandably). I have been teaching the mantra, “In this moment in time, all is well,” which accompanies, deep, intentional breathing. When breath is paired with meditation, one can observe as opposed to absorb. Many leaders are programmed to absorb the baggage of their team, their company, their families and the world. Absorbing equals holding our breath, which then leads to an inability to create, problem solve and be present. When we breathe properly, it supports transformation in growth, positivity, innovation and forward movement.
I challenge you today to use the mantra above and take big, cleansing breaths in and out of your nose. Doing so consistently results in positive transformation in your professional and personal life, and brings you into FLOW when faced with challenging situations, which there is no shortage of these days.