I was at a conference and Mastin Kipp (https://mastinkipp.com/) revealed a stop-light analogy about Emotional Regulation, one’s ability to navigate the highs and lows of stressful situations:
- Freeze = Red Light
- Fight or Flight = Yellow Light
- Calm = Green Light
Mastin spoke about self-regulation and how one can learn to “engage with your states, don’t just be activated by them.”
According to Patti Elledge (https://www.somaticmentoring.com/), a specialist in the therapeutic application of neuroscience, “Regulation is the nervous system’s ability to navigate the highs and lows of activation and return to calm.”
Mastin went over a 7-step “notice and name” concept, as taught by Deb Dana (https://www.rhythmofregulation.com/), which prompted, in me, these questions/thoughts:
- “How am I feeling? Am I in Red, Yellow, or Green?”
- “I’m in the Green zone, calm, collected, and engaged.”
- “I’m in the Yellow zone, I’m ready to fight!” or “I’m ready to run away!”
- “I’m in the Red zone, DON’T LOOK AT ME!!!”
- “Hmm, this is interesting…I wonder what it’s all about.”
- “This reminds me of when…”
- “My fear is…”
- “I’m ‘x’ years old and…”
- “What does this reaction create?”
- “How does it feel?”
- “Can I come from a state of Green?”
Just thinking about these questions helped me to recognize old stories and see that I might be able to make a different decision. “Yeah, that worked when I was 4…but what will work now?” Or, “This happened when I was 14. Is the current situation the same? Do I really need to react the same way?”
Looking back on most any conflict situation, I recognized that I tend to jump right into RED (Freeze) and I totally skip:
- FIGHT – for fear that I will destroy (mental, emotional, physical)
- FLIGHT – since there is nowhere to run
This behavior served me as a child growing up in an alcoholic home. Become invisible…just stand in the corner and don’t move…they won’t see you. When it’s all over they will walk away and never acknowledge you…THEN you can go about your day…and NEVER mention it again!
As an adult, this behavior is not the most effective. As a business owner, I can’t FREEZE anytime there is a challenge! J Do you recognize when you are in a stressful situation? What do you think is your default state? What are some ways you can start to pivot your reactions?
Let’s go a little deeper…
To quote Dr. Stephen Porges (https://www.stephenporges.com/), “Trauma is a chronic disruption of connectedness.” I found this to be a very interesting statement that really hit the mark, as I tend to feel very disconnected in my day to day life. The life of an entrepreneur can be an isolated one. Where can you find the deeper connection?
I am now looking for ways to increase connection…at a deeper level. It may start with the uncertainty of “hello”. Then it grows into something deeper:
- A friendly acquaintance
- A helpful business relationship
- A great friendship
Mastin relayed that, “By healing emotional trauma you become a ‘Transitional Character’.” Which, simply put, means that you start to change the familial story of trauma (alcoholism, addiction, abuse, etc.). This not only works for family trauma, but business trauma too. How can you become the ‘Transitional Character’ in your business?
In review, we’ve touched on:
- recognizing our default state in stressful situations
- pivoting to a calm state
- increasing our connection
- becoming our own ‘Transitional Character’
I encourage you to maybe get out a little more, attend some local networking events, call good friends who have drifted away to have lunch/dinner, and reach out a friendly hand to those who come into your sphere of reality.
Check in with yourself as you move through the day:
- What state are you in?
- What you are doing to give yourself a Green Light?
- What are you doing to become more connected?
I’d love to hear your answers, thoughts, and ideas in the comments below.
If you’re still stuck, know that you are not alone. Let’s connect and move forward into this big beautiful adventurous life!
Have a great connected day!