I have had a good friend since high school who once called me his wing woman. We have laughed over this time for many years now and how I actually failed him on this specific mission of finding love for him in a bar.
However, since that day, I have studied the mind and body through yoga, meditation, and yoga therapy and how they are NOT separate. What goes on in one, shows up in the other. So what that means is chronic stress and day-to-day activities deeply impact us. This started me down the path of figuring out how we can heal ourselves from trauma, reduce stress and anxiety, and regulate our own minds and bodies to function in our lives out of a yoga class and off the meditation cushion.
I most recently saw the remake of the 80’s hit, “Top Gun.” Having grown up in the ’80s the characters of Maverick and Goose along with the songs from this movie came alive again. I love the movie so much that I named my Black Lab Maverick!
Whenever I hear the song Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. Top Gun immediately comes to mind. I immediately begin to envision the fighter jets taking off and zig-zagging at lightning speed through the air.
This relates well to the state of hyperarousal in our nervous systems.
As I watched the Top Gun sequel, the infamous words “talk to me goose,” reminded me of that “anchor” to not get swallowed up by that red zone of hyperarousal.
All of us have experienced the red zone (or danger zone) in our bodies. We can begin to build awareness through practice and in the moment recognize it so our thoughts and emotions don’t flood us with those strong reactions. In yoga therapy and meditation sessions, we bring mindfulness and a present-centered focus to our minds and bodies so we begin to tune into that felt sense or internal GPS.
What is the red zone? It’s when our nervous system activates into fight or flight.
We can move into the red zone rapidly or it can sneak up on us. Those who have stress, which we all do in some regard. Some of us work in high-stress jobs, perhaps full-time parents, or act as caregivers; we often end up experiencing our lives in what I will reference as the red zone. Maybe call it light red. The impact of chronic stress builds up over time and floods our system with cortisol. We often feel like we can manage it but it’s almost like we’re walking around like a “ticking” time bomb. Eventually, our bodies can’t handle it and we feel may begin to feel the consequences in our bodies. The smallest thing can spin us out into that high-intensity level of the red zone. That could be anything from traffic or a conflict with a colleague that just sets us off. Sound familiar? Our minds become so reactive that everything becomes a big deal.
The red zone thoughts, feelings, and reactions can stay with us for long periods of time after the situation has passed. It can take some time to come back into the green zone.
The “black zone” is waiting for us after we spend time in the red zone. It’s normal. It’s how we get back into the green zone.
Liz Gow, lizgow.co.nz
It would be great to self-mentor and with self-talk express, “I’m in the red zone. I’m going to head back to the green zone.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
What can we do to regulate ourselves? I have two simple practices that can help!
Before the day starts:
Start your day with mindfulness meditation. Sit for 5-10 minutes. Next, reflect and integrate.
When done ask yourself:
• How do I want to show up for myself today?
• What are the steps to lead with that intention right now?
• Repeat to yourself out loud or silently what you need. (Maybe not it down)
• Let it go and start your day!
Get to know you and your nervous system. In the different moments:
• If you notice you’re activated; clasp your hands.
• Take three slow, deep, belly breaths.
• On the inhale tighten the grip, on the exhale loosen the grip.
• This will bring you back to your body and help regulate you.
Being in the red or black zones too much can hurt our minds and bodies. It can be challenging to regulate.
Sometimes we can’t do it on our own. Yoga therapy and life mentoring can support you in creating more calm and ease.
Do you want a wing woman? I have one and am so grateful for the support.
I’d be honored to support you on your path to health, wellness, nervous system support, and establishing the connection back to your high self. If you’re interested in working with me or need a mind-body wing woman, send me a message HERE.
Love your wing woman,