by Nick Bishop
How do you react to situations? It seems there will always be something to grind our gears.
The fight or flight mechanism exists in all creatures, as it does in humans, and is a natural way our body reacts to danger. It is a mechanism as old as man’s dominion on the earth!
One can assume that life was brutish and short, and a survival of the fittest, to coin a Darwinian term. Whether it was hunting for game, rivalry with other tribes, surviving the winter, ensuring the next generation survived, gathering materials for warmth and shelter, or indeed, facing the dangerous animals that existed back then like mammoths or saber-tooth tigers, such was the life of our ancestors. Of course, disease has always played a role in thinning out the human population. Even today there are tribes that still live in the stone age, cut off from so-called civilization. Their day-to-day life is something akin to what our ancient ancestors faced every day.
Humans in the modern world face a different set of problems than the ones faced by our ancestors. However, the fight or flight mechanism is still very much, alive. So what problems do we face today? Well, our worries stem from family problems, financial challenges, health concerns, climate change, Artificial Intelligence, and robots and technology, which are just some of the things that face us today. Other worries and concerns involve the threat of viruses, more recently, Sars 2 and the resulting Covid-19 infection. Technology and change have always been a constant in the history of humans, but more so now, as automation takes place in the 21st Century.
So what is the flight and fight mechanism? If we don’t recognize the term, we will be familiar with the symptoms of it, such as a faster heart rate, high blood pressure, muscle tension, perspiration, the narrow focus of attention, and food-seeking behaviour (for energy).
Let’s look at anger. What makes us angry? What makes one person mad may be different for another. But it’s certainly easy to become angry in today’s noisy and ‘in your face’, world.
In a fast-paced world like today, many folks seldom have little time for themselves, and there are more people with short fuses. There are certainly people who spend so much time running around for other folks, that they forget themselves. Then our bodies can become exhausted, which can lead to a weaker immune system and a greater chance of us becoming sick. There is also a knock-on-affect of blood pressure, gastritus, and migraines, not to mention mental illnesses that are associated with anger, arguments, and aggressive behaviour in general.
So when we feel like this, the ‘Psychology Today’ website recommends that we:
1) Sit quietly, in a quiet and safe place.
2) Take a comfortably deep breath and slowly, release it.
3) Notice what is happening in your body and mind. See if you can notice, to soften it.
4) Take another comfortable deep breath and feel your body begin to relax.
So when things happen, what can a calm mind do for us? Staying calm allows you to think logically and make decisions about problems. If your mind is calm and free, your clarity of thoughts should hopefully provide a solution for you. Staying calm allows you to discuss things without resorting to violence, be it physical or verbal.
Some have this image of Jesus as a very calm, sedate, and mindful person. In most cases, he was, however, the anger and frustrations that all humans feel, was part of Christ’s life too. Though Jesus was God in human form, Jesus had two hallmarks of his personality – his divine and human nature. Jesus would sometimes get frustrated with his followers when they failed to recognize something so obvious to him, (be it spiritual or physical). We have the example, where Jesus cursed the fig tree or threw the money lenders out of the temple. Even though we have discussed in this article, the medical dangers of anger there is something called ‘righteous anger’ and this is what Jesus is expressing. Righteous anger could be described as seeing injustice, as we do in the world today, and expressing that feeling through the emotion of righteous anger, as opposed to a destructive, harmful and sinful reaction.
So as Christians, we are still human and we cannot always be in a perfect state of mind. Some of us, unlike Christian monks in a monastery, do not have the time to train our minds in such ways. Nevertheless, if as Christians, we can attain some peace of mind, then the following scriptures are a good guide to such a healthy mindset:
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law”.
“Know this, my beloved brothers; let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”.
“Whoever is slow to anger, has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly”.
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”.
Finally, as a footnote, check out ‘God’s Promises/Bible Verses Set to Binaural Music on ‘You Tube’. This is a beautiful, Christian, meditation, with encouraging Biblical verses set to calming piano music.
God bless you x
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