Staying positive and happy is my moral duty to myself, my loved ones, and my community, especially during uncertain and tumultuous times.
Negative thoughts, feelings, and actions trigger the human sympathetic nervous system activating our hard-wired, fight or flee reactions which restrict our breathing, tighten our muscles, and increase our blood pressure. Our body becomes flooded with health-damaging stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which clouds our reasoning and judgment.
With this rush of survival, chemicals coursing through our bodies comes a feeling of power, focus, and sometimes invisibility. Magnify this powerful experience if you are among a crowd sharing the same heightened alert mode. In this heightened alert chemical state, we are more prone to impulsive words or actions that can have lasting, unintended, damaging consequences that directly impact us or others. We have all experienced this biological reality throughout our lives.
It can show up with fighting, arguing, fits of rage, and rioting. It can also show up by us shutting down, disconnecting, or feeling numb.
The majority of us are addicted, even enslaved by our internal biological reality and the habits we have created in response to our sympathetic nervous system firing off.
Over millions of years, evolution has brilliantly wired this predictable, biological, and chemical response into our brains as a survival mechanism.
Our media and tech-driven society have trained our brain and sympathetic nervous system to always be on high ALERT, ready and waiting to be triggered by anything we perceive to be a threat or what they want us to perceive as a threat. A word, a look, our projected thoughts about others’ thoughts about ourselves can trigger us into a “locked and loaded” reality.
I won’t get into the instant gratifications we derive from tech and media.
Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent.
Humans are very capable of retraining our ancient brains. The sympathetic nervous system responds by activating our parasympathetic nervous system with intentional deep breathing heightened awareness of our pre-programmed reactions to our environment and our thoughts with deliberate, conscious, positive thoughts, words, and actions. Lasting change requires behavior modification work like setting goals, implementing strategies, and getting support, so the behaviors we desire can become our new reality.
All battles are either won or lost within ourselves.
Each human can either be ruled by their ancient biological wiring and internal chemical reactions or learn how to reprogram their brain and body. We can master our actions by implementing positive thoughts and words and creating habits that can rewire our brain and our biology resulting in more joy, contentment, and peace in our lives regardless of internal or external influences.
As long as you have breath, suffering is inescapable, but how we handle suffering is a breath to breathe choice with a lifetime of opportunities.
Each day, each week, each year are our opportunities to reshape ourselves within the body we were born into and the very same body we will take our last breath in.
This is each human’s ongoing life work, and I know we can reshape ourselves to experience a better life and be better beings.
Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson is an enlightening book that may deepen your insight or stimulate your curiosity.