Easily frustrated with others or yourself? Signs you're in survival mode and how to get out.
If you tend to get easily frustrated by others or yourself and if things like someone cutting you off in traffic feels like a personal insult that’s hard to let go, this may surprise you…
That’s a sign of the “fight” trauma response (aka you’re stuck in survival mode)!
A trauma response happens any time you encounter more stress than you can process in the moment. Soooo, everyone can relate to at least one - check out my last post for signs of the others: flight, fawn, and freeze.
Basically, your brain has decided that the fight response is the best way to keep you safe. Since it's super devoted to you and its ONE mission in life is to keep you safe and loved (), it has chosen “fight” as its default setting. And it has gotten a little bit too protective (it’s interpreting things that aren’t actually threatening - like someone cutting you off in traffic - as threatening and responding as if it’s a lion about to attack).
But here’s the thing about trauma responses that’s making your life more uncomfortable than it has to be…
When you’re stuck in survival mode, the thing you need the most when things are feeling hard is the opposite of what your brain automatically does. 🤦🏼♀️
In hindsight, you may sometimes be embarrassed by how you overreacted to something that wasn’t actually that big of a deal. That’s because your nervous system automatically reacted before your conscious brain could think about what was happening.
When something feels hard or you’re stressed, your default is to probably harden and push people away. You also may be really hard on yourself. You probably tend to wish people were more competent and helpful so you didn’t have to do everything on your own.
But what you really need when you’re in “fight” mode is going to feel most unnatural:
What you really need is to be gentle and to have empathy - starting with yourself and then for others. While your default is to be tough and to push people away, this pattern started as a way to feel safe and loved.
A hug from someone safe may be what you really need. Or self-compassion and a willingness to be gentle with yourself and to face the parts of you that you’ve been judging or trying to hide.
Here’s how this pattern may be impacting your health....
You’re living in a state of stress and it’s taking a toll. Feeling exhausted? You’re probably judging yourself and your body and when you try to make healthy changes, you get frustrated and overwhelmed when things feel hard or when you go off track.
And since your default is to push people away when you’re stressed, you probably turn to things like alcohol, food, excess screen time, or pills for comfort. And that probably makes you further judge yourself because why can’t you just stick to healthy habits? You also may feel lonely, but it’s hard to find others who don’t irritate you.
Staying in a trauma response makes your life harder than it has to be and negatively impacts all aspects of your life, but since it’s automatic it’s not going to change unless you decide to change it.
Both staying in a trauma response and overcoming it feels hard. You can’t avoid that.
However, the RESULT of doing the hard thing feels very different between the two:
- Staying in a trauma response will further drain your energy and continue to feel disappointing and uncomfortable
- Working to overcome a trauma response will ultimately give you MORE energy and help you to get closer to what you truly want (and need) every step of the way🙌🏻
How to start breaking the cycle...
Overcoming a trauma response and the automatic patterns that have been draining your energy and keeping you stuck doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process.
But every process involves just one small step at a time! And each small step that frees you from the patterns that have been draining your energy and making like harder than it has to be will give you more energy and motivation for the next smallest step.💪🏻
The problem with most approaches is that they do the opposite of what you need: they add stress to your life which just keeps you even more stuck in the trauma response you need to escape.
That’s why my approach is designed to decrease your stress not add more to your plate...
My programs are designed to feel like a breath of fresh air.😮💨✨
My LBC (Life Boosting Change) Approach changes the way you experience life. It gets you out of survival mode, off the hamster wheel (of working hard, yet exhausted and not where you want to be), and on a path that adds pleasure, energy, and fulfillment every doable step of the way.
We look at all aspects of your life and get to the root of why things haven’t been working and what has been feeling hard so you can create the change you’ve been wanting - no willpower or discipline required. And you most definitely don’t need to be on your best behavior (that’s actually not helpful).
My goal it to help you to feel better today instead of living in the “things will be better once...” mindset.
Here are ways to get started:
- Use my favorite 1 minute anti-anxiety tool. It’s an amazing way to shift out of “fight” mode and into a calmer state so you can actually think about how you want to react (or just release and let that shit go). You can also try putting your hand on your heart the next time you're starting to feel frustrated. That simple gesture is a way to practice softening, reconnecting with yourself, and to self-sooth in a way that helps you to pause and gives your heart what it really needs: to feel safe and loved.
- Send me an email at email@example.com saying "curious" and share what part of this email resonated and to learn more about my programs or schedule a complimentary 30 min “curiosity and connections call” to see if we’re a good fit and to chat about what program sounds most exciting and doable to you.
- Visit my website (www.lifeboost.today) to learn more about my LBC approach and the programs available!
P.s. When we work together, there is no failing or “bandwagon” to fall off of:
"Everything else I have tried only lasted a few months/weeks. I would hop off the “bandwagon” and be back where I started. I know these changes are permanent and I am never going to go back to where I was 6 months ago because that is not the life I want to live. I am much happier and healthier with my life now!" - Katie (veterinarian)
"I overcame the mindset that I had tried everything, nothing worked, and nothing will — with Amelia’s help, I have named my inner critic, helped compassionately tame her, learned to partner with my body and mind, and love myself so much better. And I have lost weight, which I never thought would be possible for me at this point in my life." - Sara (veterinarian