Choice: Victim or Hero
We are our choices - Sartre
Are you proud of your choices ? Do you find balance in your professional life so that you enjoy who you have created, ie you ? It's okay if the answer is No. That "No" is so common these days.
Do you enjoy you ? As you move through the day, do you make choices that fulfill you? Maybe some yes, maybe some no. There is a way to make better choices, so you can feel strong, confident, magnanimous - that ineffable glow.
The science of desire and wish fulfillment includes not only reaching that glow state, but also the hard work of facing your addictions. Yes, addictions. Addictions to Netflix. Negative thoughts. Criticism. Work. Sugar. To the obstacles that hold you back from joy.
Every moment you have a choice.
How do you want to make that choice to adapt to the challenges that the day presents?
For my busy folks, here is a summary. More details below.
To make great decisions for a Potent Magnetic Life:
- press "pause" before you choose an action by taking 3 deep breaths and reset to neutral
- notice where you feel in control and where you feel out of control
- choose to take control: accept what is, look for at least five different options or choices
- notice any "craving" or urgency: this is from your OFC orbital frontal cortex
- notice any clinging to a value: this is coming from your DLPFC dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
- notice any intensity, this is dopamine (drive) and norepinephrine (turning on your fight anf flight nerves) and maybe amygdala (strong emotional thinking)
- turn the volume down and find strength and centre: you are actively changing your hormones and neurochemicals when you do this
- set your DLPFC to neutral: think of a lake, a mountain top, being on a plane looking down at clouds or the earth, looking up at a clear blue sky with your problem simply a cloud in the sky
- remind yourself of your core values + goals
- align with your dream for your potent life
- imagine this dream has already come true and feel this in your body
- from this place, look at your choices
- make the choice aligned with your values, your dream life, your potent magnetic life, your goals
VICTIM VERSUS HERO
You've heard of being in a victim frame of mind before. And how to switch out of this into a place of agency and self determination. The Hero place.
You can rationalize this. But, do you feel it? Do you know it so deeply, in every cell of your body, that you daily refuse to be a victim and instead carve a pathway of self-determination through your glorious opportunities in life? So, a challenge presents at work. You meet it with optimism and the success of overcoming it becomes a rush of reward and pleasure, your nucleus accumbens lights up, and you arrive home triumphant, generous magnanimous.
Or . . .
You face the challenge. It doesn't resolve. Slowly the energy drains from you. You arrive home depleted, irritable, or cancel on friends, or a date. You want to finish the day with a workout, a healthy meal, a yoga class, a visit with someone you care for, who excites you. But you have nothing left.
It's work, or that stress, or that person, or that systems issue, or that client, that is doing this to you. But that, is the victim stance. No matter what you do in life, the mind will always find places where you are challenged by feeling helpless, at the mercy of, or beyond what you feel you can handle. And it will tempt you into the victim place, that you are at the mercy of these outside things, that you can not surmount. When this happens the body sets off a cascade of hormones and events that ages you, depletes you, fatigues you. So, refuse this. Instead, find the hero option.
How do you decide?
Choose the thing that makes you better?
Surprisingly, it's actually a trick of the mind. Put simply, it's physics - it's an electromagnetic trick. Science in addiction studies show that those with addictions have a lower threshold to feel negative stress. Negative stress is when you feel that you can't handle something. When this happens, cortisol increases, the brain acts differently, the body acts up. Digestion might shot off leading to irritable bowel. Weight loss becomes difficult due to increased cortisol. Words get said, actions chosen, because the amygdala - the emotional centre - is firing too much.
Whether you have an addiction to alcohol or cigarettes or netflix, you find that you reach for this thing to soothe you and calm you and reset you, when the pressure of stress builds too much. But then, you end up regretting how you have spent your time, energy, and the results of your give in to your addiction. How do you shift your decision? Choose the noble path? To act in ways that create the you that you most want to be - your ideal self, your highest self, your high health self . . whatever that may be?
In the science of addiction, it is taking a moment, a pause, to re-assign value to what you want, when a craving hits. This involves changing an area of the brain, the DLPFC, which assigns value, when the cravings from the OFC hit. If you had an electromagnetic field to apply, as in rTMS, then you would apply this to the DLPFC to reduce activity in that region. But you don't, so how do you respond?
You can put the breaks on any action by first finding neutral. When you stop assigning value, thinking wrong versus right, then potentially you can stop the DLPFC for a moment. So instead of it thinking, I must have, I must have, I must have . . . it thinks, well maybe this idea would be good, maybe not. Then, you can take a moment to consider the outcomes of your actions, and choose between which of several actions to take, based on aligning with the values of what you want to create moving forwards.
Even more, boost your ability to handle stress. Get your wellness practices in place. Boost your resilience so that, when stress comes knocking at your door, your body mind is on optimal to meet, with then greater chance of success.
THE ULTIMATE REWARD
The ultimate reward is feeling a life fully lived, and lived in alignment with your values, where you meets the world as an agent of change, as a potent human with energy, determination, joy, and dynamic interaction.
Start your day with a reward.
End your day with a reward.
Find the reward within your day.
More on this next week.
Wishing you the best, always,
Dr. M. ~