Momentum Podcast: 423
Don't Let Fight Or Flight Stop You
by Alex Charfen
Fight or flight mode is a natural response to stressful or challenging situations. You can stay in it and try and push through your days, but you will pay the consequences. My advice is to not get stuck. Break out of fight or flight mode as soon as possible. So how do you get back on track?
There are three strategies that I use every single day to put gas back in the tank. One – Hydrate like you never have before. Water is a gateway drug to success. Two – Move your body. Take a primal walk every morning and calm your body. Three – Meditate. Learn how to be present and aware. As entrepreneurs, we're not going to stop or slow down. So, we need to learn some tactics to make sure that we can operate at full capacity. I want you to accomplish everything you've ever wanted, but I also want you to take care of yourself along the way.
Full Audio Transcript
You are an evolutionary hunter, a physiologically sensitive, momentum based being that is highly reactive to constraint. If you get into fight or flight as an evolutionary hunter, you can get stuck there. It is important that you don't, because when we are in fight or flight, our peripheral vision narrows, our hearing diminishes, our ability to see the future gets cut short, and that is what we, as entrepreneurs, are all about. You have to get out of fight or flight.
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, 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, 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 there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of 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.
The fight or flight response in human beings is absolutely amazing. Here's how it works. Let's just say you're walking along, nothing's happening one day and all the sudden there's a wooly mammoth behind you. Well the fight or flight response goes into action without you having to consciously do anything. It actually changes the circulation of your body, slows down digestion, stops you being thirsty or hungry, releases adrenaline and thyroid, increases your metabolism and your immune system for a short boost, and makes it so that you can get away from that wooly mammoth and survive another day as the evolutionary hunter that you are.
It is one of the most dynamic responses in human behavior, because it happens automatically without us trying to do anything about it, and it's something that we really can't stop. This is who we are, and this is how we are wired. And now here's the challenge with the fight or flight response, for you and me, we are evolutionary hunters. It's much more pronounced in us than it is in the average person. We will go into fight or flight easier, and we will stay there longer. In fact, I was recently talking to a friend of mine and I'll share his story with you because I think it's important for us to understand as entrepreneurs that we can burn the candle at both ends, we can push ourselves, we can stay in fight or flight, but we will pay the consequences.
So I was talking to a friend of mine this week, and I'm not going to share his name, because this is a really personal issue that he had, but he is a hard charging entrepreneur, like a lot of us, and he runs a business that has ups and downs, and has massive successes, and it's full of adrenaline, and dopamine, and serotonin and everything else. And when he's not running his businesses, he's racing cars, and doing really well racing cars, and a few weeks ago, he's not just running business and racing cars, but he also plays some first person shooter video games just to relax and blow off steam. Well, a few weeks ago he was exhausted, had worked a long time, had been racing the cars, body was full of adrenaline, started playing a first person shooter game, which these days are incredibly realistic. And what they in fact do, is they put you into a fight or flight response, but rather than actually being in combat, or moving around and burning off the fight or flight chemicals that are in your body, they put you into a fight or flight response and you just sit there, stewing in fight or flight.
And he told me that he was playing this video game, and about 30 or 40 minutes into it he felt like a click in his brain, like literally he felt a switch flip in his brain, and knew something was wrong. And from that day forward, he didn't sleep for four or five days, and he almost died. He had to go into a medically induced sleep to get his brain to calm down. He went into some hyper activation mode that really doctors and physicians weren't able to explain. And after trying every modality, chiropractic, and acupuncture, and ketamine treatments, and all type ... and Ambien, and Xanax, and all kinds of stuff, he finally found some relief by using CBD and THC lozenges to go to sleep at night just to get his brain to shut off.
This has been going on for months. He hasn't been able to work, he hasn't been able to focus, he hasn't been able to race his cars, he hasn't been able to do the things that he loves to do. And it's from a protracted period of staying in fight or flight, not knocking himself out of it, staying in that physiological place of being over clocked, over revved, and over engaged.
Now, here's the challenge for people like you and I. That's where we want to be. I can tell you it's where I want to be. I mean, when I describe him I could describe myself. I run an adrenaline filled business with a team around the world, we help entrepreneurs scale massive businesses and grow empires. When I've got time off I like to race cars, go to the go cart track, I do stuff that gives me adrenaline because if it doesn't, it doesn't feel like I'm doing anything. And I don't play first person shooter games, but I have a driving simulator, and I'm always doing something that feels like momentum, and feels engaging.
So I too could get exposed to that prolonged fight or flight, I too could flip that switch in my brain that turns off and doesn't turn off like he did, and these things are scary. This isn't an isolated incident, by the way, I have enough exposure to entrepreneurs that I hear about this happening to five, six, 10 people a year. Where they can't sleep, where they just have massive anxiety, where they can't focus, or their eyes go blurry, or they get a twitch in their eye, or they get double vision, or they get brain fog, or headaches, or something that is a response to being in that prolonged fight or flight.
So I want you to understand how to get out of it, how to knock yourself out of it. There's three strategies I use every single day. And there's three strategies I've recommended to hundreds of entrepreneurs I work with, and if you want to know exactly how I coach the entrepreneurs that pay us tens of thousands of dollars a year for access to our coaching programs, these three strategies are literally exactly what we start with.
See, we teach people the systems, and the structure, and the planning systems, and how to hire, and how to bring people in, and all of those things. However, if I don't teach an entrepreneur how to knock themselves out of fight or flight, how to physiologically get out of fight or flight, here's what will happen. We will help them grow their business to the point where the adrenaline overloads them and something happens. I don't want that to happen. See, the way I look at it every single day, is we have to put gas back in the tank, we have to move ourselves out of fight or flight, we have to move away from the threshold of overload, and we have to do that proactively by taking care of ourselves.
So here are the three steps. Step on, hydrate like you never have before. Hydrating the body and taking on water actually lets your body know you are out of fight or flight. Let me give you the logic behind this. When you go into a fight or flight response, your body actually stalls and turns off the thirst mechanism in your body, it actually says, "Hey, you're not thirsty anymore." Because logically, if you're going to fight, or have to run away, you don't need to be taking on a bunch of water right before you do that. So your body says, if you're in fight or flight, you don't need any water. Let's stay lightweight, let's stay un-encumbered, let's just be able to move around fast.
So the opposite of that is also true, if you hyper hydrate, which is drinking 16 ounces or more of water at the same time, you can knock your body out of a fight or flight response. In fact, I have entrepreneurs do this in my courses all the time. We have them stand up, drink water until they really ... like drink as much as you can, you're going to like chug water until you stop. Usually they drink somewhere between 16 and 30 ounces of water, and then we have them just observe quietly what's happening in their bodies, and here's what we find. They feel calmer, their shoulders release, they breath deeper, their lung capacity feels like it increased, they feel more present, more aware, all just from having a glass of water.
So if you want to keep yourself out of fight or flight and put more gas in the tank, and keep yourself away from that threshold where things go bad, drink water all day long. Go to GetThirstyNow.com and join our 10 day natural thirst challenge. Hundreds of people have used it to drink more water than they every thought they could, and in a way that is natural, and logical, and it's not a contest, you'll actually follow your own body's thirst instincts to get exactly what you want. GetThirstyNow.com. And it will show you how to hydrate in a way that will change everything.
Now the second step, and I do this every morning, first thing I get up in the morning I hyper hydrate, it's part of my morning routine. Then I go through my planning, I go through the other things I do, all that are designed to help me increase presence, increase awareness, my whole morning routine is. Then I get my daughters up, and we go on our primal walk. Every single morning, whether we're home or on vacation, or somewhere else in the world, we get up and we go on a 20 minute or more walk in functional shoes, where I'm working on multi planed surface, so I'm getting the stimulation in my feet, breathing in and out through our nose, connecting with my daughters, and that walk, where you breathe deeply and walk briskly, but you're in a calm mental state works to kick your body out of fight or flight.
Here's why. If you're walking and you're breathing calmly, and you're breathing deep in through your nose, you're calming the nervous system as you're in physiological activity. What that literally does is it tells your body, "Hey, we're moving but there's not a panic here. We can remove the fight or flight, we can get out of fight or flight." That walk every morning will change your entire life.
One of my favorite stories is Ryan Lee. Ryan Lee owns a company called Cash Flow Tactics, he was in an event here in Austin a few months ago, and he was talking about how he suffered from really just ridiculous shoulder pain and mid-back pain, and he said it's just there all the time, he had been to chiropractors, and acupuncturists, and muscle therapists and all kinds of other things. And I said, "Ryan, get up and do a walk every morning." He looked at me funny. He looked at me like, "Can it really be that simple?"
Well, a few weeks later he got to me and he said he had started doing the walk, and within just a couple of days the pain in his shoulders had completely released. The tightness in his low back and mid back had completely gone away. See, this movement, this evolutionary movement of walking where you can feel the ground, breathing in and out through your nose, will not only kick you out of fight or flight mentally by physiologically will release the muscles that are tensed right now. Here's what I know about Ryan's muscle tension that you can just assume, is that where he was feeling tension is where we're going to feel tension when we get into a fight. In fact, the low back, the mid back, the upper shoulder muscles all tense up when we're going to get into a fight, so you're walking around in some state of fight or flight. And so getting up and going on that walk knocks you out of that fight or flight like crazy. It's a physiological action that lets your body know it's not in a panic.
And then then third thing, every morning, whether I feel like I need it or not, I miss a morning occasionally, but man do I pay for it, is I meditate. And I meditate with a Muse headset. If you want to take a look at it you can go to Charfen, my last name, Charfen.com/Muse, M-U-S-E, and I've used it every day this year, I haven't missed a day yet, my goal is to use it every day this year, I've been using one for a couple of years. And what the Muse headset is, is it's essentially it's an electrocardiogram. It would've cost you thousands of dollars just a few years ago to get something like this that you could carry around with you, but when you put it on it actually reads your brain waves and as you meditate it gives you biofeedback. So if you lose awareness and you're wearing headphones, the noise that the app makes up, the background noise goes up. As you create presence and awareness, the background noise goes down. That conscious feedback on meditation actually helps you create presence, create awareness, and get out of a fight or flight.
And so, I use the Muse headband, or headset, we also have a number of meditations that we share with people. If you don't want to make that investment right now. You can go to Charfen.com/meditation and there's three two minute meditations that I've recorded, because here's what I've found. One of the reasons people don't meditate is they don't want to take 20 or 30 minutes to do it. Well here's what I know. We've worked with entrepreneurs and tactical medication, I actually have a podcast called Tactical Meditation if you want to go back and listen to it in the archive, tactical meditation of two to three minutes right when you need it is incredibly effective. It's night and day before and after, and you don't have to take 20 or 30 minutes. Just meditating for a few minutes, I do three minutes with the Muse, sometimes I do longer, but every day I do at least three minutes and I feel massive momentum when I'm done. And I create presence, I create awareness, I get myself out of that fight or flight.
Here's the issue for us an entrepreneurs. We're not going to stop. You know you can't turn it off. And you're going to want to continue to do, and to be more, and to put more out there. And it's common for entrepreneurs to be doing something like hiring two people on their team, launching a new product, running a marathon, oh and by the way, we're having a baby. So this is who we are, this is how we do things, we want to get as we can out of life at any moment. But here's how we can create the presence, the awareness, and the capability of doing that, this is how we push ourselves harder without creating damage. When we put gas back in the tank through hydration, through a morning walk, and through meditation we knock our body out of fight or flight, and we buy ourselves more time, more effort, more energy, more presence, more awareness, and we push that threshold, that breaking point, off into the future so that we can continue to do more.
I want you to accomplish everything you've ever wanted to as an entrepreneur. But I also want you to take care of yourself. Self care is a gateway drug to success. And part of the reason that it's a gateway to success is that when you take care of yourself, you will tolerate less. When you take care of yourself, you will only bring people into your life that take care of you, and that respect you, and that move you forward, and that do not create a fight or flight syndrome. And when you take care of yourself, it will create contrast to when you're not taking care of yourself, and you'll see how much more you're able to do. And when you take care of yourself, you'll show up, not just as an entrepreneur, but as the leader you know your company needs.
Don't let yourself get into fight or flight and stay there. Don't let yourself approach that threshold where challenging things happen. Put more gas in the tank. Drink, walk, meditate every morning. You will hydrate, move, and breath in the way that's going to move you forward. And it will change everything for you.
If you want to revamp your life, and put together the right keystone habits along with a planning process that will help you get to where you want to go, go to MomentumMasterClass.com. Not only do we teach proper breathing, and movement, and meditation, but we also talk about nutrition, and how to eat the right foods for an evolutionary hunter. We'll show you a planning process that will get you absolutely clear on where you want to go in your life, and we'll show you the way to get things done without being overwhelmed, feeling like you're going to let the people around you down, or feeling like you're letting yourself down. MomentumMasterClass.com will give you the peace of mind to know that you're creating momentum, it will give you the keystone habits and tactics you can put in place right now and feel more momentum by tomorrow, and it will help you get out of and stay out of fight or flight so you have the presence and awareness to go make your greatest contribution. MomentumMasterClass.com.