Empowering your body and mind

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Empowering yourself involves acknowledging the legacy of your biology and upbringing, but learning to master and balance your adult life. Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

One thing I can tell you for sure: your plans will change today.  Whether it’s a small thing or a big thing, something will happen to disrupt your best-laid plans, and force you to reconsider the order of events.

Your flexibility to handle that change will depend, in part, on the biological nature you have been given, together with the social environment you have been brought up in.  But a significant part of your response will also be dependent on your personal ability to master your reaction to change.

YOUR BIOLOGY

Your reactions to changing events depends, in part, on chains of physiological triggers.  Examples affecting your threat response include:

  • faced with a demanding situation, your body can produce adrenaline and cortisol, which essentially prepare you for action, the opposite of relaxation
  • on the other side of the coin, both testosterone and estrogen, which vary depending on sexual development and cycle, can reduce fear and anxiety
  • oxytocin, which tends to increase when you’re in contact with a loved person, reduces anxiety
AFFECTING YOUR OWN BIOLOGY

Fortunately, there are things you can do to affect your hormone balance naturally.  Examples include:

  • Exercise (which increases testosterone and reduces cortisol)
  • Cuddling, empathy and compassionate acts (which increase oxytocin)
  • A balanced diet and good sleep (reducing your body’s need to stress itself compensating for deficiencies)
YOUR SOCIAL UPBRINGING

Your reactions to changing events also depends, in part, on how your mind has learned (i.e. taught by your parents or guardians) to respond.  Examples of learned response patterns include:

  • PASSIVE VICTIM (LOW-POWER, LOW-ACTION): If your childhood environment (a) taught you to regard yourself as powerless, and (b) encouraged you to keep yourself to yourself… then you may tend to take the emotional hit of change internally, and feel powerless to affect what happens next
  • ACTIVE VICTIM (LOW-POWER, HIGH-ACTION): If your childhood environment (a) taught you to regard yourself as a victim, but (b) taught you to externalise your response… then you may tend to become a bit of a rescuer or resistance worker, not directly challenging authority, but instead rushing around trying to make it OK for your peers
  • PASSIVE CONTROLLER (HIGH-POWER, LOW-ACTION): If your childhood (a) taught you to regard yourself as powerful, but (b) did not encourage you to take action… then you may tend to use any obvious power you have, but feel inflexible to adapt after that
  • ACTIVE CONTROLLER (HIGH-POWER, HIGH ACTION): If your childhood (a) taught you to regard yourself as powerful, and (b) encouraged you to act.. then you may well be a bundle of positive energy, but equally may need in adulthood to learn to rest, and know where your limitations are
There is no right upbringing, but perhaps balance is important.

USING YOUR UPBRINGING CREATIVELY

Fortunately, there are things you can do to compensate for your childhood biases.  Examples include:

  • LOW-POWER CHILDHOOD: You can learn, in stages, to empower yourself, and discover that you are more powerful than you thought
  • HIGH-POWER CHILDHOOD: You can learn, in stages, the limits of your own control over life
  • LOW-ACTION CHILDHOOD: You can learn, in stages, to become more active and busy
  • HIGH-ACTION CHILDHOOD: You can learn, in stages, the art of rest and self-care
A MEDITATION

Where am I right now?  How am I reacting to a changing world?

Am I taking care of my body?

  • Am I taking healthy exercise?
  • Am I giving cuddles, empathy and compassion to those I love?
  • Am I giving myself a balanced diet and good sleep?
Am I taking care of my self-development?

  • How am I empowering myself?
  • How am I teaching myself the limits of my control?
  • How am I keeping myself active and busy?
  • How am I teaching myself the art of rest and self-care?
I have the hormones I have, but I can keep my body healthy.

I have the responses I have, but I can learn more balanced ones.

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