Runaway Fear & Your ‘Big Deal’, Reactive Mind.

March 20, 2016

When your thoughts and daily reality consist of fear-based thoughts and reactions, you’ll find yourself disconnected from the actual flow of your experiences, from others, and from the flow of this moment.

We’ve all developed very effective strategies and techniques that promote mindlessness and allow us suffer. We just aren’t aware we’re doing this. By understanding the roots of your own disconnection and mindlessness, you can start to recognize when you’re falling into these patterns.

This will also give you a clearer idea of how to achieve and maintain spacious, mindful presence in all areas of your life. The first step is to become aware of your fear-based reactions to threats that are both actual and perceived – so we must begin by looking at fear.

Fear will influence you to resist your efforts to create spacious, mindful presence. Some fear is inevitable and it’s very powerful. It can become such a natural part of your everyday experience that it’s like breathing – something you do without being conscious or aware of it.

If you don’t begin to recognize how your fears lead to mindlessness, you’ll tend to look to events, others, your past and future for explanations of your emotional pain and suffering – which can lead to blaming, compensating, controlling, manipulating and avoiding.

To develop mindful awareness, you must begin to recognize your fear and any other feelings that interfere with mindful living. You can’t impose a mindful mindset on top of a mindless mindset.

Developing mindful living skills involve learning to be in the present moment and notice all the emotions that are driving you from not being in this present moment.

There’s an inflexibility in mindless living that arises from trying to force your fear-based coping strategies on your life, regardless of the outcome. You may have experienced anger, anxiety, divorce  or relationship struggles or experience a long list of physical symptoms. You may have tried diets, medications, shopping and reading books, and wondered why you feel the same, and nothing is changing.

It’s important to know that as long as your reactions are based in fear, very little will change for you.

Mindlessness isn’t merely a concept – it has very real psychophysiological consequences that affect every aspect of your quality of life. Any time an individual perceives danger or a threat to them in their environment, the fight-or-flight response happens within the body – which prepares the mind-body system to protect itself from the perceived threat.

The fight-or-flight response is a hardwired response of the autonomic nervous system. The moment you perceive something you may interpret as a threat, your nervous system registers that information and sends a flood of stress hormones into your body – directing your sympathetic nervous system to prepare to fight, flight, or freeze.

One effect of this response is to narrow your cognitive and behavioural responses. Your focus becomes narrowed so that you can see only information related to the perceived threat. As a result, your subsequent behaviours are limited by your perception and beliefs.

Our fight or flight response can become activated even if we are not immediately threatened or stressed. We can be activated by our thoughts and memories. The body responds to perceived psychological threats, just as it would if the threats were present in this moment.

What happens when our nervous system becomes activated is that our entire psychophysiology closes down in a protective mode where there is no room for spaciousness and mindful responses. You begin to feel separate from yourself and the thoughts that you are having.

You may even feel numb.

Your muscles tighten, your thoughts race, your heart rate increases, and your breathing becomes rapid and shallow. This process allows you to protect the sense of identity that you’ve become attached to, rather than responding to events around you as they are happening, flexibly and mindfully.

When your nervous system functions in a balanced way – your immune function improves, interactions between your heart and brain improve, brain wave activity relaxes, learning and memory are enhanced, and digestion improves. This is a state that allows for open, patient and compassionate – and mindful responses – to emerge.

When your fight or flight response is activated, the ‘Big Deal’, fear mind or reactive mind arises. This ‘Big Deal’ mind is the process that you use to resist the unpredictable or scary things in your life. ‘Big Deal’ mind draws your energy into a stream of minor details and reacts quite strongly to these details as though they are very important.

The ‘Big Deal’ mind draws your attention away from a meaningful connection with the open and spacious quality of your life and narrows your focus to whatever you fear in any moment.

Practice – Watch your ‘Big Deal’ mind – sit comfortably and watch as the stream of thoughts flows past, and notice which thoughts which pull your attention and emotions. When you become lost in particular thoughts or drawn into mental drama, means you’ve fallen under the influence of the ‘Big Deal’ mind.

What was it like to simply watch the succession of thoughts, emotions, and sensations that routinely clutter your awareness and experience?

Which thoughts, feelings, and sensations created the most emotional reaction?

What physical reactions did you notice? (pain, pounding heart, muscle tension, nausea or headache)

Which thoughts and emotions created the greatest physical reaction?

As you watched how your ‘Big Deal’ mind works, what was it like not to be drawn into it?

Shifts happen every day.

Sessions for individuals and couples are available in-person or by Skype – and can be very helpful for allowing you to practice mindful awareness, let go, open your heart, access freedom, and live as love in this moment. Everything you need is already within you. Let’s open the door.

love Kim, xo.
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One-on-One and Community Offerings Just for You:

One-on-One Embodied Mindfulness Sessions – Heal chronic pain, sleeplessness, release chronic stress patterns, eating disorders, anxiety & depression.

You’re Invited…
6-Week SPRING Embodied Mindful Awareness Group
Monday evenings beginning April 25th, 2016 – 7pm to 8:30pm

When you feel disconnected from your body, emotions and within your life – you may be ready to make changes to allow more ease into your life. Take time to connect to yourself and regain clarity within your mind, heart and spirit.

During this practice you will take time to: rest in the stillness of the present moment, reunite mind-body connection, release mental and emotional tension, connect to your inner wisdom to make decisions that align with your authentic truth, release attachments to stories that limit your growth, cultivate patience, presence and ease in your work and relationships.

Create new beliefs about yourself. When you are with what’s happening now, you aren’t thinking about the past or future, worrying, feeling stressed or in pain. You can expect simple, effective mind-body practices and movement to free yourself of feelings of anxiousness, chronic pain, worry, stress, and depression.

I’ll save a space for you.
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When I came to you I felt confused, disconnected and broken. Now, I'm on my way to feeling whole. Thank you.
Kim Cochrane
When I came to you I felt confused, disconnected and broken. Now, I'm on my way to feeling whole. Thank you.

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Kim Cochrane
I've wanted to do this for a while and I'm so glad I did - I trust myself more now, I feel more calm and open - working together has changed the course of my life.
Kim Cochrane