We all know by now that stress is bad for us. Doctors are calling it the Black Plague of this century. But knowing that something is bad for you doesn't necessarily help you avoid it. Just like medicine is getting really personalized, it is important to understand what your personal reaction to stress is so you can more effectively deal when high demand situations arise.
The term "fight or flight" refers to how humans were designed to deal with stress. Back in the day we either needed to fight a predator we thought we could beat, or flee one that would dominate us.
Here's the trick: 99.9% of the time, our modern demands do not call for either fighting OR fleeing. And yet the body hasn't yet let go of this defense mechanism that took hundreds of thousands of years to develop. Now the fight or flight stress reaction is actually keeping us from performing at the top of our game.
But which one are you? When you are faced with a first date, or an interview or a sticky conversation you would rather not have, what do YOU do?
Take the quiz below to find out if you are a FIGHTer or a FLIGHTer. There is no judgement here, just think about what your knee-jerk response would be to the situations below.
If you want to learn how to flip this on its head, you are invited to join a free Master Class called "Stress Less, Accomplish More," which starts on Sept 15th.
1. You were supposed to have a date tonight, but after waiting at the restaurant for an hour you realize you've been stood up- and the person isn't picking up their phone. You:
A.Go home, cry, and curl up in front of some reality TV
B.Are bummed at first, but then quickly make plans to meet up with friends instead
C.Leave the person several angry voicemails, including a list of all the reasons you're too good for them
2. You put in a request for a raise at work, and you receive an email saying that it's been denied. You:
A.Slink down in your chair and decide to never bring it up again
B.Storm into your boss' office and argue that you deserve more
C.Write a response to contest the decision, even though you're feeling angry and frustrated
3. You're faced with a big decision. What do you do?
A.Write out a long "pros and cons" list
B.Decide that you'll sleep on it tonight...and then again tomorrow night...and the night after
C.Make your choice on the spot, without taking any time to process
4. Your significant other brings up a topic that you disagree on. You:
A.Lash out at them
B.Make up an excuse to leave the room
C.Bite your tongue and tell them that you're not willing to engage if it isn't going to be a productive conversation
5. You have a big trip coming up and are feeling overwhelmed. You:
A.Plan out every detail so you feel like you have control over the situation
B.Create a basic itinerary and try to sit with the discomfort of not knowing how things will end up
C.Find yourself dragging your heels to even book your flight
Get Your Score:
1.A=1, B=2, C=3
2.A=1, B=3, C=2
3.A=2, B=1, C=3
4.A=3, B=1, C=2
5.A=3, B=2, C=1
If you scored between 5-8: You tend to exhibit "Flighter" behavior. You don't love conflict and would rather avoid an uncomfortable situation than speak your mind. You sometimes feel indecisive and unable to act when faced with a big decision. You take comfort in keeping the peace and feeling safe, but it's sometimes at the expense of what you really want. If you had to choose getting what you want and people liking you, you are more likely to choose people liking you.
If you scored between 9-11: You're somewhere between a "Fighter" and "Flighter." You try to respond to high-demand situations with logic, but sometimes your emotions take over. Other times, you end up overthinking the situation and shoving down your intuition about it. Your reaction often depends on how stressed you feel in the moment.
If you scored between 12-15: You fall into the "Fighter" category. You prefer to face challenges head-on and get impatient at the notion of waiting for a situation to resolve itself. You savor feeling "in control" and striving for your goals, but you sometimes can't see the forest for the trees. You tend to be a great leader, but may spend more time asking for forgiveness from losing your temper than you would like.
Now that you know what your default reaction is to stress, you can address how to handle demanding situations more elegantly. If your tendency is to Fight, what if you simply count to 10 next time you want to lash out? If you tend to curl up and hide when it is go time, remind yourself that unpleasant feelings like fear usually only last for 90 seconds. You can do anything for 90 seconds.
If you want to get out of fight-or-flight and into stay-and-play, join me for a free online Master Class called "Stress Less, Accomplish More" to learn how to flip your default reaction to stress on its head. This will allow you to perform at the top of your game in any situation. Even when it is go time.
Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva Meditation and the creator of zivaMIND, the world's first online meditation training. Ziva's mission is to make meditation attractive and accessible to people who are ready to up-level their performance and their lives. Recently featured in The New York Times, named top 100 women in wellness to watch and regarded as one of the leading experts in Vedic meditation, Emily has been invited by companies like Google, Barclays Bank, sweetgreen, & Viacom to help improve company performance through meditation. She began her ten years of training in Rishikesh, India and was inspired to teach after experiencing the profound physical and mental benefits meditation provided her during her 10-year career on Broadway, which included roles in Chicago, The Producers & A Chorus Line.
Emily has been invited to speak at Harvard Business School, Bulletproof Biohacking Conference, Summit Series, A-Fest and The Omega Center. So far, she has taught over 2,800 people to become self-sufficient meditators with this game changing practice to take with them for life.