Sometimes we have opportunities to recognize patterns in behavior that seem to always be disruptive to who we are or want to be. I recently discovered one particular pattern and learned that people operate with different levels of mental functioning.
For example, I found myself having to handle situations with anger when a more civilized approach was always preferred. I needed for this person to make decisions, plan ahead, use good judgment, address challenges and be responsive to avoid future conflicts. No matter how many attempts to change my behavior, I found myself conditioned to get angry to get any response from this very critical person in my life. In order to have this person respond I had to create chaos, anger and elicit unnecessary emotions. It was an obvious pattern to me and one I needed to try to understand and hopefully change.
My having a lot of experience with different people, handling conflict with others and working with children put this pattern in a very odd place for me. WHY do I need to resort to anger to get a necessary response from this one adult individual? Always wanting to avoid this pattern it seemed that nothing I tried with a civilized, calm, planned approach has ever worked with this person. So I set out to try to understand it and perhaps on this journey learn an approach that would substitute the anger and still be as effective.
When someone only operates on reflex it is very hard to accomplish much around them with a thoughtfully planned approach. I have always been a driven planner so living with this for as long as I have feels like nails on a chalk board.
Our Fight/flight/freeze skills were inborn for us to use during times of crisis or trauma. They are meant to help us survive a dangerous situation. There are events in our life that can prolong the need to use these skills becoming habit forming. For example a continuously ill child or a long drawn out stressful situation. If these events continue to trigger these problem solving techniques they can eventually become conditioned for daily use.
The biggest problem with it becoming a practice is that a healthy life can not be created with fight, flight or freeze skills. These three tools arent the best practice to achieve long term solutions and accomplish goals. The constant adrenaline and physical changes it creates can become the relied upon source for handling conflict. (Click below for more about the physical changes)
Fight, flight or freeze isnt intended for daily problem solving however some people only use this tool during all conflict situations. It becomes the most natural state we rely on that becomes the tool. Overuse creates extremely unhealthy functioning both physically and mentally. Too much reliance on this response to conflict prevents one from allowing high functioning skills to develop. For example Equanimity is a powerful tool one can use.
Feel free to read my blog on Gratitude and equanimity. As is everything in life...a practice can be habit forming. Knowing and understanding our patterns is the first step. Learning the tools to practice in life are the key to handling conflict, achieving long term solutions and goals. I am still learning to practice equanimity. Trust me...it is not always easy.
click here for physical reaction
Oh Sugar...there Is No Substitue!
With all the controversy about sugars, I thought id share my current opinion. I started cutting out cane sugar many years ago with sweet-n-low. I then evolved into equal and then onto splenda, agave, truvia, a few others and now back to cane sugar (ok...I admit, I enjoy organic and raw sugar).
In my quest for natural sweetners, I was eager to move out of my equal & splenda days. However as I learned each type of sweetener had its pros and cons, & which one was better for which type of drink or food... I completely forgot the reason I was even looking to change my ways.
So I had to ask myself...what was my goal? Although I love my morning coffee and maybe another in the afternoon, I realized I really dont consume a lot of processed sugars. and when I do its bc I want to enjoy a very positive experience. For example, a birthday cake or a rarely enjoyed end of meal dessert.
I realised Ive completely bought into the media and social opinion that I should cut calories by using processed sweeteners. Then there was a ah ha moment for me! I can waste my time counting calories or spend my time making healthy choices to include a healthy balanced lifestyle. Treating my body right means enjoying in moderation and conscious mind the gift of whole foods in their most natural form.
Many continue to use processed substitutes for sugar and so my research began. I learned that although these substitutes are FDA approved and based on the natural plant Stevia, the verdict is still out on whether they are BETTER for you.
The processing of Truvia and similar substitutes include ethanol and erythritol (sugar alcohol). oh and then I learn they are now considering using truvia as a pesticide for fruit flies cause they kill them faster than all other sweeteners. What? Although they are zero calories...is it worth it given the amount of sugar you really consume?
Yes, I am back to regular raw sugar and organic cane sugar now. I also grow a stevia plant to use when I want and how I want. The reason people started substituting for sugar (with the exception of those with sugar free medical needs) in my opinion is bc of calories! If the world got a bit healthier they would realise what a waste calorie counting is and look at whats really causing our health problems! (Thats a whole new blog post!)
some rainy days or sick days at home call for some sweetness. I bought a can of cream of coconut by mistake and viola...we made lemon ginger turmeric cookies!
-egg, almond flour, whole wheat flour, powder ginger, powder turmeric, cinnamon, lemon juice, cream of coconut.
-cream of coconut, lemon juice, food coloring
Nothing is Impossible!