• Kerry Emerson Namaste

Needing To Get Brainy About Change

Updated: Jun 4

Some folks may thrive in our current environment. The challenges of change can be a great motivator! But, as well as any possible fear some may have about COVID as we come out of lockdown, some may also be fearful of change; of actually re-emerging; . A double challenge!

The amygdala, at the base of our brain, identifies a threat. It sends a message to our endocrine system to release fear hormones. Great - if we truly are in clear and present danger, not so great if this response happens because we are merely changing our routine. Great - when we need to stay wary of a pandemic, not so great if our fear becomes disproportionate to the threat and becomes debilitating.

And here we are. Not only are we in a "change to our routine '' , we've been in a "change to our routine '' at least three times this year! Not only are we dealing with changes to our routine, we are still dealing with a pandemic!

Our habits (the norm) have been disrupted a number of times and we've been told to, simultaneously, take on new, unfamiliar behaviour. Frankly, we've all done a sterling job of adapting, but we don't like it!

As a means of self protection we may drag our feet, complain at the unjustness of it all, opt out, allow inertia to take over and, basically self sabotage.

It can feel comforting to go this route but it's a short term comfort.

So, what to do, how to cope and, frankly, why bother...again!

I'm struggling a little, to be honest, and so I decided to take a long hard look at the situation. I identified 6 biggies I'll share with you incase they resonate:

  1. Loss of control Self-determination is threatened: I'm not in charge of my time or choices anymore. There is a jolt from automatic, which is comfortable, into conscious which isn't.

  2. Uncertainty Better the devil you know than the devil you don't! And going back out into the world...........'it's life Jim, but not as we know it”.

  3. Suprises There may be consequences that I haven't considered!

  4. More Work Feels like starting over. Lots of learning curves. Oh no....stress: energy levels!

  5. Change Creates Ripples My life/work balance is going to be challenged and it will impact others. I won't have enough time and energy for family and friends now that the world has opened up again. My relationships will be affected.....or.....I won't have enough time for my work and so my colleges/business/students will be affected.

  6. Ghosts of the Past Hmmm, what if I repeat old errors! Now that it's back to work I've got to go back to doing some stuff I didn't like doing, for example, admin! What if...what if....what if!

Of course, the list above is totally negative....the amygdala is in charge!

Question: So, what to do, how to cope and, frankly, why bother!

Answer: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

  1. Harness; to take control. On my mat I learn to own my Space, Mind, Body and how to reduce the impact of whatever is going on around me. I know it works but it's easy to forget! Reminder: Of the eleven identified systems of our body, only one functions both automatically and consciously and that's the breath. Consciously slowing down the breath changes both the rhythm and the depth of the breath; that's harnessing. The amygdala signals an increase in the rate we breath under stress but we can consciously reduce our breathing rate and so reduce our stress reaction and calm that amygdala. It's a two way street! This helps calm the mind chatter and helps us detach to find perspective. Feel and respect the fear and allow it to move through you then let it go rather than allow it to take over. 'Feel the fear and do it anyway'.

  2. Be Open to what lies ahead and trust Look at my current situation with interest (a way of detaching). Any experience is valuable and enables our growth and understanding of our Self. Some of my toughest times, with hindsight, have lead to some of my greatest learning experiences which, in time, I've become grateful for. 'Rest assured, the world is unfolding as it should.'

  3. View every situation as a gift Live in the present moment. Trust in my growth; my knowledge gained from past experiences. We will be presented with the same challenge, in various guises, until we learn from it so......if past errors are repeated or new challenges presented, smile a wry smile and 'chalk it down to experience' with experience being a positive for the future .

  4. Have a little faith I firmly believe in the array of benefits yoga brings. One of it's benefits for me is that it gives me the energy to cope. It's great to live in your comfort zone but growth doesn't happen there.

  5. Life Balance 'Slow and steady wins the race'. Everyone around me is adjusting and friends and family are understanding. I do have this incredible ability to run around in circles in a panic so tell myself to breathe, calm down and take it one step at a time.

  6. Ghosts of the past Trust in the learning curves of the past. More work brings more joy and that's a wonderful energy! I do love teaching yoga and, actually, is the admin that bad really!!!!

Abhinivesa, translated, that which carries it's own essence and subtle memories. Essentially fear of death.....survival instinct: a deeply rooted clinging to life. Yoga and Buddhist philosophies help clam abhinivesa.

Calm your amygdala: YOGA.

Did I mention that I LOVE YOGA!!!

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