Momentum Podcast: 52
Immediately Lower Overwhelm, Acceleration And Fight Or Flight
by Alex Charfen
This is episode 52 of The Momentum Podcast, how to immediately lower overwhelm, acceleration or fight or flight in the moment. Now, there are times where you're going to get overwhelmed, where you are in the moment where you just can't get out of it and there are times where we are just overwhelmed. You get into a car accident. Something happens to your child. Something happens around you. What's going on is that our evolutionary signal to get into fight or flight mode is being triggered. It's being triggered for us to react and what's happening is and when we get that evolutionary signal, our body says, “Accelerate.”
As Evolutionary Hunters we have preprogrammed to be more sensitive to the world around us. When there is low pressure annoys, our ability to see what other people don't see and this hypervigilance helps us create extraordinary outcomes in the world. When the pressure and noise in our lives goes up, our sensitivity becomes reactivity and the world can begin moving too fast. Some of us we feel overwhelmed, some feel a sense of acceleration and eventually all of us can transition into flight or flight mode. If we can change our state, we can very quickly work our way back to momentum. The problem for most of us is we do the opposite. Rather than actively changing our state, we push harder and unfortunately often make the situation worse. We can use our evolutionary instincts to quickly change our state and shift our perspective.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen and this is The Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules but only so that we can bend them, break them and then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how.
While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate that there could be a better future. And, instead of just daydreaming what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive, human evolution and we always will be.
This is episode 52 of The Momentum Podcast, how to immediately lower overwhelm, acceleration or fight or flight in the moment. Now, there are times where you're going to get overwhelmed, where you are in the moment where you just can't get out of it and there are times where we are just overwhelmed. You get into a car accident. Something happens to your child. Something happens around you. What's going on is that our evolutionary signal to get into fight or flight mode is being triggered. It's being triggered for us to react and what's happening is and when we get that evolutionary signal, our body says, "Accelerate."
Here's what happens for people like us. 100% of us have been in that place where we were overwhelmed, where we had to work far more than we thought we were going to have to, where we didn't know if everything was going to work out and then we put our shoulder down, we push through and we pulled it off. And that coupled with the evolutionary quality of fight or flight where that once you get in it, it's hard to get out of it works against us. I know it works against me.
I've had times where in the moment I get accelerated and my behaviors are not fantastic. I remember when I was a consultant. Early on, I was on a phone call with a client of Fuji so me, Fuji, the person I reported to there, I worked with there and one of our clients and the client was backing out of a deal and I got so frustrated that I was like accelerated. I was talking loud and I was not being incredibly respectful. As a consultant, that will kill you and it was just because I got over accelerated in the moment.
Now, you can see this in the people around us. I've traveled a lot. Anytime you go to an airport, you see people who ... When we have low pressure and noise, our sensitivity works for us. When we're in low pressure and noise, our hyper awareness, our ability to be hyper alert, allows us to see opportunities, to see new avenues of getting things done. When we have low pressure and noise, our tendency to feel everything, to see what's going on, that low pressure noise allows us to make our lives happen.
Now, the challenge is when we get high pressure and noise ... As a traveler, you go to the airport and almost every trip you can see an entrepreneur under high pressure and noise reacting because we get accelerated. We raise our voice. We start yelling. In 100% of airport verbal assaults from passengers, there has never been a solution by yelling at the person in front of you. You see people do this all the time.
Then when we're having just a general bad day, this is one of the most subtle ones. There's no triggering effect. You're just having a bad day and instead of getting out of it, instead of changing your state, instead of changing perspective, we will often double down. If things aren't going well, we'll push harder. If things aren't going well, we won't even take our lunch. If things aren't going well, well, we can hydrate later. We'll get up and take a walk later. We'll figure stuff out later. We're just going to keep pushing.
Here's the challenge. The fight or flight syndrome, the over acceleration we get, that hyper awareness that we get, first works for you and then works against you because when you get into that hyper acceleration, you get alertness and awareness. You feel a little rush of adrenaline but the problem is the more we stay in it, the more focused our mindset becomes, we narrow our options. We put forward our timeframe for solutions. We have a hard time seeing all of the options that are available. When we're having a general bad day, imagine ... You probably can now recognize this. Think of the last generally bad day you have where things just weren't going your way. Didn't it get regressive? Didn't it feel like it was working against you? I know that happens to me and I train this stuff. I coach people. That definitely happens to me. I think it happens to all of us.
But what I do is I make sure that when I feel that acceleration, when I feel that fight or flight, I use three things to change my state. I've talked about them before but I want to talk about them in a different context here in the context of fight or flight because here is what will help you when you feel accelerated. Here's what will back you out of it.
First, breathing, deep breathing in and out through the nose. If you can get to seven seconds in, seven seconds out, that's where we're going to achieve ideal carbon dioxide. That's where we're going to achieve ideal oxygen levels. When you breathe in and out through your nose, that is the fastest way to calm the nervous system. Seven seconds in, seven seconds out, about four to six breaths a minute because we're not always going to hit seven seconds, but around four to six breaths a minute is where we calm the nervous system the most. If you're having generally a bad day, take a few minutes and just breathe and increase your awareness. Get out of that fight or flight mode because here's what happens. You can see it at the airport. Once we're in fight or flight, man, is it hard for us to walk out.
I remember that conversation I had with the client where I got accelerated. But for an hour, my heart was still beating a little faster. I was still accelerated. I was frustrated. I couldn't believe he wasn't holding up his end of the deal. Breathing changes everything. That one I've been using forever and it's amazing how it works near 100% of the time. However, when I've crossed over into fight or flight, here's what I know, that is a physiological syndrome that is triggered by our observations, our awarenesses, our situation and where we are right now. Once I'm there, once I'm feeling it, I know that I'm far past where I want to be so I don't just stop with breathing.
The second thing I do is I make sure I'm hydrated. Now, why is breathing, hydration, why are these two so important? And the third one, what I'm going to share with you, is getting up and going for a walk but in a specific way. All three of them, here's what will happen. When you flip into fight or flight, your body will tell you to do the opposite of these. It won't tell you to breathe deep. It actually tells you to breathe shallow. You're preparing for a fight, it's accelerated. It won't tell you to go hydrated. It will actually tell you to stop drinking water. When you're having a generally bad day, those are the days you look up and you realize you haven't had a glass of water since ... It's 4 o'clock and you haven't had a glass of water since the morning. Your body doesn't say, "Get up and go take a leisurely walk." It says, "Act with intensity. Have tense muscles. Be frustrated."
Hyper hydration will change everything. If you get up and drink 16 ounces of water or more, you have to calm down to the point where you can take on the water. It will relax the torso. It will physiologically send a signal to your evolutionary brain that you are not in fight or flight because if you are in a fight or running, you wouldn't be able to take on the water so this is an evolutionary trigger we can use to flip off fight or flight.
Once you've breathe and hyper hydrated, then get up and go move because when we are in fight or flight, that is a physiological syndrome. That is a physiological condition in the body. It's triggered by our awareness. It's triggered by our consciousness but it becomes physiological. I want to do everything I can to physiologically knock it out. First, breathing, second, hydrating and then third, get up and go for a walk outside if you can unless the conditions just don't allow it but get outside and expose yourself to the natural sunlight. Breathe. Walk on some grass. Walk in some gravel. It can be as little as three or four minutes.
But the second you walk outside, the second you start walking, the second you start breathing slowly while you're walking, you are walking your body, no pun intended, literally out of fight or flight syndrome because, first, by breathing slowly and deeply, we tell the body, "Hey, there is no fight here." Second, by taking on water, we reinforce that signal to our evolutionary consciousness. Then, third, when we get up and walk and we breathe slowly, we continue the slow breathing when we're walking, we go out and we take that walk, we show the body there's no fight or flight or we wouldn't be walking and that can pull us out of that condition because here's what's so crucial for people like us.
When we lower the pressure and noise by breathing, hydrating and walking, regardless of what situation originally put us in the overwhelm, we will knock ourselves out of that place. We will get rid of the acceleration. We will get out of fight or flight. Here's the magic of doing that is that your perception immediately shifts because in fight or flight, or panic mode, or you're literally going to be in a fight, of course your choices are going to narrow because it's fight with the person in front of you or run away. Of course your timeline will be shortened because we're not thinking, "Hey, what's going to happen in three weeks?" We're thinking, "What's going to happen right now when I'm in this fight?" Our consciousness shrinks in fight or flight. Our ability to see options shrinks in fight or flight, and the longer we stay in it, the longer we try and push through, the more that effect occurs and the harder it is to see the path forward.
Candidly, I understand this because I use it myself. I'm just like you. I'm an entrepreneurial personality type, probably a 10 out of 10 on every one of the attributes. I feel the sensations of the evolutionary hunter. I know that I need to be making progress, moving forward, making things happen and I also know that once I get into that overwhelm, acceleration or fight or flight, it's really hard for me to get out of it to a place where I'm back to neutral, to a place where I'm back seeing all the options, understanding everything that's available, having the unique perceptions, getting my innate motivation to focus around where I'm trying to go, not around whatever was overwhelming me and so I do all three of these often.
I think the reason that I can share them with you is because I'm just as sensitive as any other entrepreneur I've ever worked with and I can get here quickly. But here's what I found is by using these three tactics, I get out faster than I ever have before. In all candor, in my 20s, I think I used to spend weeks here where I wasn't sleeping well, where I felt accelerated, where I was exhausted most of the time, where I was pressing through, where I was just doing what I had to do and that's what I used to tell myself.
Now, that I have the perspective of being 44, I can look back at those times and I think to myself I wonder how much more I would have gotten out of my business, out of my life, out of everything I was doing if I had learned to back away a little bit and get better perspective, if I had learned not to stay in those moments of acceleration or periods of acceleration and I had better judgment?
For you, moving forward, try these three tactics. Breathing in a very specific way, in and out through the nose. That way you're getting the nitric oxide. We're calming the nervous system. Your CO2 levels are balancing. We're enriching the body with oxygen. Two, hydrate. We boost the metabolism. We increase awareness. We increase mind-body connection. We relax the torso. We cause a full circulatory flush. And then, three, get out for a walk. We stimulate the feet. Science has shown it's better than an antidepressant for the people who are clinically depressed. What's it going to do for you? Get up and move and you will see your entire perspective change.
Do me a favor, if you do that and you make this difference or make this change in your lives, let me know if it works for you because when we are not in fight or flight and when you can lower the pressure and noise, immediately in a moment like this, everything changes for people like us. I want you to get right back in the momentum.
I just want to quick take a second and also thank you. I'm going to transition here to sharing with you what's going on with The Momentum Podcast. We launched this earlier this year. We've released 52 episodes now. I just want to share with you we're up to 39,000 episodes. I think sometime tonight or tomorrow morning, we're going to cross the 40,000, not episodes, sorry, download mark so 47,000 downloads and then I'm excited to tell you that we just had our biggest download week we've ever had at 5,814 downloads. To give you perspective, the week before was 4,600 downloads.
Here's why I'm sharing these numbers with you. One, I want you to understand how successful this podcast has become because we're not doing this. This is from you sharing it, from you telling your friends about it, commenting on social media, sending people to episodes. I've talked about it and I've done the live recordings but we haven't paid anything for this and we have just almost 40,000 downloads. I want to thank you for it.
Also, as a listener, I don't think you're just a listener. I think you're part of this Momentum Podcast club and this is our podcast. I want you to know how it's doing and I want you to know the effect that it's having because there's no way we could do this without amazing listeners and without you. Thank you for sharing it. Thank you for telling people about it. Thank you for subscribing on iTunes so we get the credit for it and leaving us a review because those are the things that are helping this podcast push forward and reach even more people just like you and I. Thank you and about once a week, I'm going to go ahead and share the metrics. Let me know what you think. I think you're helping do this so you should know exactly how it's working for us.