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Fight or Flight … The Mind-Body Connection

Photo by Chris Sabor on Unsplash

“The mind and body are not separate units, but one integrated system.” — Bernie Segal

I loved my chat with the hilarious and wise Chana Studley on this week’s rerun of Insightful Conversations. Chana is an Author, Speaker, and 3 Principles practitioner. She is also a World Health Organization Psychological First Responder and Academy Award Winner. Chana has been in the coaching and helping profession for over thirty years. Her specialty is working with people who suffer from chronic pain.

At the time of our conversation, I had just finished reading Chana’s highly entertaining semi-autobiographical novel, The Myth of Low Self-Esteem. The book starts by taking us back to 1984 when Chana was a college student in Manchester. That’s when Chana suffered the first of three violent muggings, leaving her with some herniated discs and a broken neck. That was the beginning of her twenty-year search to overcome her chronic pain and PTSD. Fortunately for Chana, her search led her to the 3 Principles. Once she discovered the Principles, she said, her life changed beyond anything she could have imagined. Without even realizing it, her pain and suffering began to melt away.

Many people reading this may be skeptical. You might be asking yourself how the 3 Principles understanding impacts us on a physical level. I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the mind/body connection; I’ll defer to Chana for that. But I know that since coming across the Principles, I have seen a significant improvement in my PTSD and my physical health, and that of my clients.

As a 3 Principles practitioner specializing in Codependency and Narcissistic Abuse, many of my clients suffer from PTSD and chronic physical ailments. In addition to the emotional and psychological effects of being in a toxic relationship, my clients also complain of various symptoms such as migraines, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety & depression, insomnia, loss of sexual desire, a weakened immune system, and Fibromyalgia to name but a few.

These physical ailments are a direct result of living with constant stress. Stress creates a fight or flight response within us. This response is designed to keep us alive in a dangerous or threatening situation. When we are in a fight or flight response, our breathing quickens, our heart rate increases, muscles tighten, and our blood pressure goes through the roof. Our body’s response is helpful when facing imminent danger, but it wasn’t designed to pump copious amounts of adrenaline and cortisol into our bodies 24/7.

And this is where the 3 Principles understanding is so helpful in matters like this. The Principles remind us that regardless of our circumstances or the people in our life, our feelings come to us via our thinking. That’s not to say that living in a stressful environment can’t have a negative impact on us. It can. But it’s our thinking about our circumstances that causes our bodies to release stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, not the events themselves. It’s also important to remember that we can’t control the thoughts that pop into our heads, but we have free will over what thoughts we choose to indulge.

Lastly, given the mind-body connection, we must recognize that the body cannot differentiate between real or perceived threats. So, to experience less of the harmful effects of stress, we should first pay attention to the quality of our thinking, states of mind, and levels of consciousness. Secondly, whenever possible, we might want to avoid toxic environments and unhealthy relationships.

With love and appreciation, Del 💕

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