You have just one output channel
We are tribal animals designed to live in communion with nature and in small groups of about 150 or so. We were never intended to congregate in large numbers, living on top of one another with literally millions crowded into metropolises and mega cities. Add to that the evolution of the human brain which is effectively a brain with three different parts to it (input channels) all competing for the same output channel. That can cause particular problems when you get triggered and your lizard brain takes over. Try reasoning with a reptile. It just doesn’t work.
Over stimulation sends us into overdrive
That same lizard brain gets sent into overdrive with the almost constant “noise” vision, sound, smell or other sensory input coming from the environment. Think about it for just a minute. There are all manor of electronic devices with a variety of beeps and alerts designed to get your attention. They also trigger the fight or flight response. In short, your ‘system’ is assaulted pretty much 24 / 7. The news cycle is also 24 /7 and is designed to appeal directly to the lizard brain. Not only do you literally have to make an effort to switch off you are also left with the resultant stress hormones coursing through your body. Useful if you are possibly being chased by a tiger. The tigers are different in the concrete jungle and they trigger your flight, fight or freeze response nonetheless.
5 things you can do to tame “the tiger” aka your mind
Once we recognize that we are not designed to life the modern life we can take charge of our lizard brain; This can and will make a huge difference to how we experience life. With time and repeated practice the 5 simple techniques listed below will keep you calm, tame the tiger and life a more peaceful and productive life. In my book, that makes it worth the time.
Become the observer of your thoughts
You are not your thoughts. You have thoughts and the substance of your thoughts is not you. Once you accept this premise a profound change takes place. This enables you to see your thoughts as separate from you. You can observe your thoughts without judgement or prejudice. Being able to observe, accept or decline your thoughts enables you to free yourself from the tyranny of mindless thoughts effecting your every living moment.
Label thoughts as helpful or unhelpful
This probably needs little explanation. Your thoughts will either support what you are about to do or they will take you in another direction. Labelling your thoughts as helpful or unhelpful can assist you in getting clarity.
Consciously create and choose thoughts that empower you
You control the flow of information into your mind. You are not responsible for the first initial thought, you are definitely responsible to the air time you give to any subsequent thoughts. It really is up to you as to what you think about, give air-time too.
Use your breath to calm your mind
It is a well accepted fact that the body and mind are connected. Impact one and you can influence the other. When we become stressed or triggered the brain sets off the alarm, blood flow is directed away the major organs, resulting in an increase in your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. Once the threat has been removed it takes 20 – 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre arousal levels . Deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing can calm both body and mind. This can help restore the body and mind to balance.
Exercise and get the endorphins flowing
Exercise is a great way to take your mind off of a stressful situation. It also allows the body to release physical tension that builds up in the body and helps rid the body of stress hormones that have built in response to threats. It doesn’t matter if those threats are real or imagined, the result is the same. Exercise and give yourself a healthy dose of endorphins which are the body’s feel good hormones.