Newsletter: Beyond Survival Mode & Into Thriving Mode

Newsletter from Straight Up Living

 

July 23, 2022

In this issue:

  • A deeper self-awareness is always your starting point.
  • How being in survival mode holds you back.
  • How to break the cycle and create a new future.

 

 

Since 2018, I’ve worked tirelessly to build a life of meaning and purpose. A life lived on my own terms. Living the way I want to live, where I want to live, doing what I love to do, and associating with who I want.

First step? Self-awareness.

I had to make big changes in myself. Internal changes always precede external changes, at least the ones that are sustainable. You have to get to know yourself, I mean REALLY know yourself. The good, bad, and the ugly. Dig down until you know who you are, who you want to be, what you want, and why you want it. Why do you believe this way, and feel that way?

THAT is the work. That, and making changes. If you’ll do that work, I think you’re going to be blown away at how deeply beautiful life becomes.

Survival Mode

Going through the inner work myself, I soon discovered something that was driving the majority of my thoughts and actions. I had a deeply ingrained scarcity mindset. I was so obsessed with a lack of money and time that it was impossible to think of anything else, no matter how hard I tried. Naturally, that created a ton of anxiety and put me in a state of constant survival mode, aka fight-or-flight mode. The only thoughts you’ll have when you’re in that state of mind is getting out of the situation as fast as possible, and in any way possible. You’re not thinking about loving life, building a new future, or anything else. You’re simply trying to survive. 

This happens when the mind perceives a threat which activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers an acute stress response which prepares your body to either fight or run away. Animals experience this too, but when the danger passes, so does their fight-or-flight response. Not so with humans! We fixate on the perceived danger and our thoughts keep us in that high stress state indefinitely. There’s no higher awareness when you’re in that state. There’s only a sense of danger and your thoughts focus only on how you can immediately escape. Nothing else. That state prevents you from tapping into a higher awareness that’ll give you the next step which will lead to the future you really want.

Survival mode is useful, because it can help you survive a particular set of circumstances, but it sucks as a lifestyle. What survival mode can’t do is help prevent you from having to experience the same circumstances again in the future. That’s not to say that tough times won’t happen again, they are part of life, but you don’t have to remain stuck repeating the exact scenario over and over. That’s what I was doing—for a very long time.

You want answers. Not knowing what to do leads you to stress and worry. The more desperately you seek, the more you stress and worry about it. It it so much to ask? You just want some idea of what your next step should be. You know it exists, but you can’t see it because it’s not in your awareness.

Your connection to what you need to know, or the next step you need to take, exists. Your connection to your truth, and the people who will help expand your life exists. That bears repeating: Your connection to what and who you need already exists, but the reason it isn’t in your awareness is because stress and worry keeps you stuck in “fight-or-flight” mode. 

 

It’s Time to Let Go

Survival mode becomes a habit. The feelings of stress, worry, and anxiety, become familiar. The human brain loves things that are familiar, even if they cause you misery. The fight-or-flight function of your brain would rather keep you in familiar misery than step into the unknown, but that’s exactly what you must do. It’s not as scary as it seems. Think about it, if you never ventured into the unknown, you’d never do anything new or different. What would your life be like if you had never tried something new? You’d have never driven a car, fell in love, got a job, started a business, or went on an adventure. Sounds pretty awful right?

It’s time to let go of the familiar patterns of your past, and forge into new territory. It often takes more strength and determination to let go, than it does to hold on. Whoever you’ve been in the past, whatever you’ve done or haven’t done, cannot hold you back. You have to break the cycle. It’s old ways of thinking, believing, and behaving—will you allow those things to hold you down? It may just be the hardest work you’ve ever done, but the results will be the best you’ve ever experienced.

In order to break the cycle, you have to get out of fight-or-flight. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through meditation and visualization. Your panicked brain has no answers for you. You’ve been mentally rehearsing every possible way things can go bad. Every possible way you’ll be negatively affected. It isn’t working is it? All of that rehearsing has programmed your subconscious in such a way that it sabotages your every move.  Maybe it’s time to reprogram your subconscious mind.

 Mentally Rehearse the Life You Want

It goes without saying that the human brain is complex, and a little mysterious. However, you might be surprised at how much control you have over its programming.

Your subconscious is a virtually unlimited storehouse of information, where everything that’s ever happened to you is recorded. By the time your twenty-one years old, it’s already recorded at least one-hundred times the amount of content in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Your subconscious doesn’t think or reason independently, it obeys commands that are sent from your conscious mind. It’s job is to make sure you behave according to your programming, making everything you say and do fit within the parameters of your program. Here’s where the good news comes in. You can change the programming, and you can do so through a technique called autosuggestion. 

Autosuggestion is a process by which you are able to train your subconscious mind to believe something. You can do this by using written or memorized affirmations you repeat over and over. Repetition is the key, and the more you add emotion and visualization to the process the more effective it will be. Please don’t write this off as some mindless “woo-woo” exercise that requires no effort. This is an intentional psychological technique that has been around for centuries. You’ve already been using it even if you were unaware of doing so.

Several studies have shown that the human brain cannot differentiate between a real memory and a visualized one. There was another study published in Social Cognitive and Effective Neuroscience that used an MRI to investigate the effects of affirmations. Researchers discovered that self-affirmations activated parts of the brain associated with processing and reward. The participants who demonstrated greater activity exhibited less sedentary behavior than those who didn’t use positive affirmations.

Affirmations and visualization work. That’s why it’s so often used by professional athletes at the top of their game. That’s the reason Denis Waitley, American author, motivational speaker and consultant, used these techniques to help train astronauts, as well as Super Bowl and Olympic champions. 

 

In Summary

  • Step one is always a deeper self-awareness.
  • Survival mode/Fight-or-flight blocks you from higher awareness.
  • Letting go of old ways of thinking and behaving is a must.
  • Mentally rehearse the future you want using visualization and imagination.

 

Until next time, keep dreaming.

I believe in you!

~Keith