Are You Stressed Out? Start Shifting Your Sympathetic Dominant State.
Did you know that the majority of the population is currently running in what is called sympathetic dominance, which means that their sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight/freeze) is running on overdrive while the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and repair) has no energy left to do its job?
If you wonder whether you might be a part of that majority, you probably are. If you feel certain that you aren’t, you probably are too.
The reason I do a reactivity blueprint with my clients as one of the first stages of our work together is because knowing what your various types of reactive behaviors look like is one of the best ways to start shifting the sympathetic dominant states in your body so that the energy consumed there can be repurposed to more useful (and resilience/growth-building) functions.
Most people stay this way (stressed) because they a) are unaware that it’s happening, and b) don’t know another way of being is actually possible.
Especially those of us who are really intelligent, we get super sophisticated about staying in a sympathetic dominant state. We take on reactive behavior that society celebrates, so then we get validated for being that way even though it is literally destroying us on the inside because our autonomic nervous system is in extreme levels of dissonance.
I find the easiest way to hack this is to get aware as soon as possible of what your unique default button is, and then get clear on what to do instead.
So I’m gonna give you a freebie. Below is a list of common reactive behavior of Western-educated humans who might never consider themselves reactive or stressed, but that are overt indications of both and of sympathetic dominance.
Having these experiences from time to time is okay — it happens to all of us that we get activated and feel threatened occasionally — but if you need to exert significant levels of control in order to not feel any of these things, or you are otherwise feeling any of these things often, it might be time to do some deeper inner work to get some tools to function more energetically efficient:
Irritation, Aggression, Righteousness, Invalidating, Feeling attacked, Jealousy, Competitiveness, Blame, Defensive, Superiority, Avoidance, Busy, Overwhelm, Anxious, Neglect, Feeling trapped, Restless, Denial, Intellectualization, Rationalization, Feeling stuck, Judgment, Justification, Apologetic, Validating, Abstraction, Controlling.
Some of these are ways we fight, others are ways we flee, and yet others are powerful forms of self-preservation when we don’t feel empowered to fight back or escape.
Do you recognize yourself in any of these? What’s it like to know they are reactive behaviors? Do you feel like you have the tools to transmute these energies into something else (without avoidance or distraction or rationalization)?
Antesa Jensen is an emotional intelligence and human-centric innovation expert who has dedicated herself to coaching her clients on how to evoke the genius in themselves and in others through 1:1 coaching, workshops, and transformational expeditions through her company, Adventure Awake. Read more about her and her services on her website or follow her on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.