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Fight + Flight (and our every day habits to exasperate it)


Fight or Flight and how our every day habits exasperate this

This term was first coined in 1915 by Walter Bradford Cannon (an American Physiologist, professor and chairman of the Department of Physiology at Harvard Medical School). It is a stress response we are all born with, it is helpful in situations of danger or being threatened. The trouble is, in today's modern world, we are constantly bombarded with high stimulation which keeps us in a heightened state of fight or flight. Media and Fear are at the top of the awareness for some people but there are others that we don't often think about. An example of this is coffee (a stimulant). I used to drink coffee regularly. I remember the first few sips - it reminded me of feeling invincible and beautiful and light as a feather - I always got this image in my mind when I had those first 3 sips. After awhile though, I felt very ill, aggressive, short tempered and jittery and this awful sensation of always feeling hollow or hungry. I started cutting down, going from 3 cups, to 2, to 1, then half strength, even then I reacted badly to it. It was my body shouting at me to stop. Since then, I have learned how it interferes with iron absorption ( I am anemic) , among other imbalances in the body which cause a domino effect on your health. It is the biggest unregulated drug on the market and makes the industry billions per year! Coffee is so accepted because it is a stimulant - it keeps us going. We work faster, we are more attentive and we work longer with more stamina. This of course is the perfect recipe for the corporations who want workers who keep going! What we don't realize is that it has a half life of 3 to 5 hours. The half-life is the time it takes for your body to eliminate half of the drug. The remaining caffeine can stay in your body for a long time. So if you are questioning if you should have a coffee at 3pm, there is science behind this 'gut feeling'. If you drink coffee, your sleep will be affected, then you need more coffee the next day, see where I am going with this? Sleep is so important to emotional and spiritual wellbeing, as well as our physical wellbeing. So, coffee is a stimulant. This exasperates the fight response in modern society - think about how many people drink coffee, how reliant we are on it and the collective effect it has on society as a whole. Enter alcohol. Now this 'drug' is regulated to some degree, but you can still access it in copious amounts and it is up to you to practice moderation, with so many people being either diagnosed addicts or unconscious of their alcoholism in their life. Alcohol is a depressant, the flight response. We use alcohol to 'unwind, relax, escape or numb out'. So we have coffee to keep us going with daily stressors, and then alcohol to escape our realities of these stressors. Messed up, huh? I used to drink alcohol, I'd say in excess. It wasn't everyday, but it was 'go time!' on weekends, parties, gatherings, etc. We would drink to excess. It is widely accepted in many parts of western culture, so it is hard to determine what is considered moderation. The issue I had with alcohol is the after effects, not just my physical wellbeing, but emotional (I would get high anxiety for days after, I would feel shame and guilt about some of my behaviors while under the influence -- that term itself is interest sting, under the influence, you aren't even yourself!) and you can guarantee I wasn't fulfilling my spiritual needs. So I came to the conclusion that alcohol is yet another distraction tool available to the masses. The irony of this is I am a Wine Sommelier - I went to wine school and have a diploma in Oenology and Viticulture. I still do wine masterclasses to clients who want this, but I am definitely not in alignment with it anymore. Now, some may argue that both are of the earth so therefore natural and ok and if we drink these substances in moderation we aren't harming anyone. But, What is considered moderation? You will have a different idea of what moderate consumption is to your neighbor down the road who may drink a case a wine a week on 'a good week' and 3 cases during depressive episodes. When it comes to inner healing, through emotional, physical and spiritual, no healing can take place, for any person on any level, while they are in the fight-or-flight response. When we realize that most people are in the fight-or-flight response most of the time, we understand how vital this subject is. I often ponder what the world would be like if even 10% of the population stopped drinking coffee as a stimulant and alcohol as a depressant - what would the ripple effect of consciousness be? In conclusion, next time you reach for a cup of coffee or a glass of alcohol, think about the greater picture of it and ask yourself, do I really need this? Can I have something else instead? Some tips I have picked up since quitting caffeine and alcohol is to enjoy good quality, filtered water. Luxury herbal tea is another favorite from artisan brands or herbalists (you can afford this if you give up your daily $5.50 mochachino or weekly wine bottle). I have also recently discovered alcohol free wine (not the sweet grape juice style), this wine is actually made as wine, then alcohol is removed through distillation or filtration - it tastes the same as your fave Pinot Noir except it lacks body. So if you are ready to take the leap into alcohol free living (or at least very small quantities) then this is a good option to still feel festive. There are also heaps of boutique brands creating fun herbal tonics that can be mixed with soda water and citrus for a festive non-alcoholic treat when you are out socializing.


If you would like support with creating healthier life habits through lifestyle changes, book in for an initial session. With love and kindness, x Ashley

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