In Survival Mode we see ourselves as victims of life. If we have a flat tire on the way to an important appointment, we get angry because of what is happening to us. We are wired to see life as happening TO us, and it prompts us to take action through our fight/flight/freeze reactions. For example, if your house is broken into, you are likely to take action and call the police.
Most of life’s challenges are not life threatening, but we still have a lot of reactivity in the form of anger, anxiety, and fear of everyday events such as a car not working or a neighbor being too noisy. These reactions activate stress hormones and over time put us at risk for a compromised immune system or cardio-vascular disease.
Thriving Mode is seeing life’s challenges as opportunities FOR us. So when the tire goes flat, that is a time to develop patience with what is and learn to leave more time before an important appointment. Or when the neighbor is noisy, we develop compassion for the stress they are experiencing raising 5 children, and we develop a relationship and then negotiate some compromises.
Think of a time when you felt something was happening TO you. Be curious and explore how it can be an opportunity to expand a quality such as compassion or flowing with life. A good practice to develop when stressed is to ask yourself, “What is the opportunity here?”.