September 13, 2021
PAY ATTENTION! - It's as Easy as Riding a Bike.
By: Ian Matthews, AS, YMCA-CPR, REPS, NASC, MinderPRO Health Coach
The dark of night slowly dissipates and you feel the gentle sunlight touching your eyelids. The soft silence is gradually replaced by subtle sounds and voices outside your bedroom window. Parents are taking their kids to school and the sound of cars can be heard as they begin to trundle by.
Another day has arrived, and the birds begin to chirp. You pull the blankets around you and lay there for a few more moments, stretching from your toes to your fingertips. You’re ready to seize the day, because you never know what opportunities are about to come your way. Before you head off to work, you look forward to your usual quiet, relaxing breakfast. You walk into the kitchen ready to prepare it, and then suddenly BANG, SOMEONE’S SHOUTING and A DOG STARTS BARKING!
Your new neighbors next door are slamming their doors and cupboards, and through the walls you hear an argument begin to erupt. You can’t hear exactly what is being said, but tensions are rising and their little dog seems distressed.
Your bright and sunny daily forecast suddenly has dark clouds rolling in. You feel some physical tension creeping into your jaw and neck. Your breathing becomes a bit faster and shallower. Your mind begins to wonder; “Is this just a one-off? Will this be the new daily norm with these newcomers next door? Have my peaceful mornings been forever shattered? “ Your heart sinks.
What's Going On?
You are experiencing the automatic activation of your sympathetic nervous system, which is the body's way of taking you out of rest and digest (relaxation mode), and into fight or flight. It happens automatically and works as an evolutionary survival mechanism against perceived or real threats. It triggers the same way for a large majority of earthly creatures. Fight-or-flight response - Wikipedia
When it is activated, we feel left at the mercy of our external environment (including the neighbors). In our modern lifestyle, we tend to react to triggers in different ways. What I react to, may be significant to me, but it may seem harmless to others. For many people, it is their own partners, or their boss/work colleagues, who seem to know exactly how to trigger them. This can send them on an instant ride down an emotional roller coaster, and put them in an agitated or angry mood, for minutes, hours, or sometimes days. Stress levels remain high and the immune system plummets.
It Doesn't Have to Be This Way
We can learn the skill of controlling our fight or flight response, and in doing so, we gain new skills to help self-regulate our mind, body, and emotions. For example, by simply paying attention or redirecting our focus onto an object of our choice (such as our breath), we can literally flip our mind out of fight or flight, and back to rest and digest, restoring balance to our entire nervous system. There are many techniques and tools we can use to do this, including meditation, postural correction and breathwork. These are just three effective examples to try.
In the minder App there are science-backed, ME/mo activities that will balance your nervous system out in a jiffy, such as:
- In the Mindfulness pillar - HRV test
- In the Movement pillar - Practice Yoga
- In the Sleep pillar - K'lala
How to Get Started
With a simple morning routine created and practiced via the minder App, you can begin to tune up your nervous system to respond, rather than react to daily triggers. Practiced regularly, this can positively stimulate your Vagus Nerve (which is the “wandering” nerve that runs through your entire body) to not only regularly and healthily activate your relaxation response, but to improve Vagal Tone and Heart Rate Variability (HRV). You can practice HRV in the minder App. Click here from your iPhone to try it. To learn more check out Heart Rate Variability and the Vagus Nerve (vagushub.com)
If you wish to use the minder App in conjunction with a minderPRO, such as myself, together we can build an even more advanced personal wellness and self-care plan for you, using my Inner Evolution program at my Zenbok website. With commitment over time, you can gain complete and lifelong mastery over your nervous system, the Vagus Nerve, and by extension over what you think, the way you move and how you feel. You will no longer be at the mercy of the increasingly chaotic environment of the external world, or the unpredictability of others.
When we allow our thoughts and moods to be negatively controlled by external events, our mental, physical, and emotional health changes with it. But we have a choice. ME/mos are your stepping stones on a lifelong adventure of wellness. They offer a whole compendium of techniques, tools and activities that are ready to help you pay attention to the present moment, and in doing so, to balance out your nervous system, and to keep you awake and energized - so you can seize the day!
If you wish to be the real master of your mind, body, and emotions, just download the minder app here and immediately start to practice paying attention to the present moment, and mindful well-being. It’s a fun, interactive, learnable process that’s as easy as riding a bike. Hop on and enjoy the ride!