I like to think that I am centered and calm most days. I believe I can handle anything thrown my way. But it is not true. Certain situations, certain combinations of events, certain individuals still trigger me. I call it my “spaz point.”
On most days I am clear. I love life. I am a pool of calm in chaos. And then I hit my personal spaz point and the cloud of stress envelopes me.
My spaz point revolves around time. Specifically being a hostage of time. Is there a deadline looming for which I feel responsible? Is there a schedule someone or something else set for me? Are scheduled times in opposition of my body clock? When these time-related issues appear, my stress brain is triggered. My mind goes to mush. I am unclear. I am agitated.
And I am not alone. Right now I am working with many individuals who have expectantly lost employment. For many of them, losing the job they have had for decades is their spaz point. In speaking with them I can hear their stress brain in charge. Here are highly intelligent, highly professional individuals who are reacting like frightened five-year-olds. Their mind is muddled. They can’t think. Their fear is in charge. They are unable to reason. They do not know how to move forward.
It happens to all of us. When we are stressed, our unconscious mind takes over to protect us. It turns off our logical thinking mind so we can react to physical danger. In this day and age however, the danger we are usually reacting to is mental. So our bodies take over to fight a non-existent tiger while we need our logical mind to help us problem solve. What are we to do?
The answer is to disengage our stress mind. Stop. Breath. Release. These simple actions can free us from our stress mind and put our conscious mind back to work. The challenge is being to recognize when our stress minds have taken over. Two things can help us. First, we need to identify our spaz point so we can be more conscious of potential triggers. Second, have a buddy. That trusted friend who knows you and knows your normal state. Give them permission to call you on your spaz point and to send you on a time out.
What is your spaz point? What is the situation, the issue, the overload which finally takes you over the brink? What is the trigger that makes your brain turn to mush sending you into a self-replenishing stressed state? Uncover it and share it with a friend.
When you are triggered by your spaz point, take that time out. Stop your fear from continuing to feed the stress. Slow your breathing to release the physiological stress response. And then, and this is important, work through your trigger. Just turning off the reaction to your spaz point helps for the moment, but not for the long run. Express your fears, no matter how illogical. Actually most of the time they are illogical, but they are your illogic. Honestly share with a friend or a piece of paper what made you spaz and what on the deepest level you fear about the situation. This will not only help you to bring your conscious mind back to the forefront, but will help you understand yourself better for the future.
Take a little time to identify your spaz point. Or next time you are triggered, take a few moments to determine what about the situation caused your stress. This will empower you to disengage triggers faster and will provide you with the insight to do the deep work necessary to minimize future stress.