Showing posts with label fight or flight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fight or flight. Show all posts

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fight or flight -- we can do better

By: Marisa Geitner, president & C.E.O. of Heritage Christian Services

I take my health very seriously. I try to listen to the signals my body gives me. I work to understand how to interpret those signals and adjust to ensure the best outcome to my physical and emotional wellbeing. Perhaps that’s why I am so fascinated by the response we have to confrontation. Like animals, we too are hardwired for swift response to confrontation: fight or flight.

Supporting individuals in achieving their outcomes in a system in chronic flux is riddled with daily confrontation. We can spend hours commiserating about the uncertainties and the insufficiencies – and waging war against “the system” and those responsible for the decisions that impact it.

When faced with these daily confrontations, my brain (and my heart) quickly rule out running away, so I prepare to fight. My heart rate quickens, my breathing deepens and my senses are in high alert. I am prepared to stand strong, defend and fight. I close myself off to anything that might influence or distract me. I am battling. It’s only in hindsight that I see the shortcoming of my response.

Too often we surrender to a primitive response in the face of adversity. Adversity is a gift if we accept it. Not a passive acceptance – that to me is the same as fleeing. I’m talking about active acceptance with open arms, open ears and an open mind. Embrace it so that we can guide our actions beyond a chemical response.

If we remain only battle ready we miss the opportunity to collaborate and innovate. To create possibilities not yet imagined. To solve age-old problems with new and sustainable solutions. Let’s harness the energy our body gives us not to fight but to imagine and be active in the change.

That is the kind of response this important work deserves.