Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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Get out of your survival mode

For a variety of reasons, you can get stressed every now and then. That is a natural reaction to a situation that you experience as unpleasant or unsafe. But if you feel powerless to change this situation, this stress can start to control your life and lead to complaints.

survival mode

I regularly meet people who are in “survival mode”. It is precisely in this survival mode that people do not listen to the signals that your body gives off. The survival mode is characterized by rigidity and contraction. Because of your fears you withdraw into your head, as it were.

In your head is the illusion that you can exercise control. This is what you’re going to cling to. That’s why you ignore the signals your body gives off; they ask you to let go of the security you have created in your head. You can keep this up for a while, but at some point the body will let you hear it louder and louder. You notice this in complaints that increasingly hinder you to remain in survival mode.

Complaints arise such as headache, insomnia, stomach complaints, heart complaints, eczema, fatigue, concentration problems. Your body will exhaust your system so that eventually your head can no longer function properly. And so there comes a time when you get such a strong reaction from your body that you have to listen because your body wants to restore the natural and healthy balance in your body and mind.

What is the cause?

The sooner you recognize a situation of long-term stress in yourself, preferably before you go into survival mode, the better. That sounds very simple, but given the amount of people who have stress-related complaints, that is apparently not the case.

An important reason is that in our society, such as school and work, we have to meet all kinds of imposed requirements and standards. And these demands are getting higher and higher. In addition, we mainly pay attention to what is not going well. So the message you keep getting to hear is, no matter how hard you try, ‘you’re not good enough’. And whatever you give your attention grows. In this way, your self-confidence drops to zero and you look for your self-esteem in compliments and expectations of others.

What can you do!

The challenge is to reverse this pattern, from adapting to the expectations and demands of the outside world to living from your own desire. Getting back in touch with who you really are, doing what you are good at and what makes you happy. This creates a healthy energy balance between giving and receiving.

It is important that you always try to tune in to “knowing your heart”. This works very effectively and clearly. Before you can think about something, your body often gives off an impulse. Something feels right or wrong. If you learn to recognize and use this again, you will do much more things that suit you. This is how you start living from your own strength and source.


The following step-by-step plan can help you turn a pattern that no longer suits you into a desired pattern. In three or more weeks you will start to change a pattern.

Week 1: Gaining Insight

In the first week you will write down every day what causes you stress. If necessary, keep a small writing pad with you to take notes. Take some time every day at the end of the day/evening to write down your stressful moments. And for every moment you have written down also make a drawing/symbol/imagination.

Don’t start thinking about solutions yet, just focus on identifying and recognizing. By doing this you become aware of moments of stress throughout your system. And instead of “shooting into the stress”, as a reflex, you will experience them more consciously and take some distance from them.

Week 2: coming up with solutions

In the second week you do the same as in week 1, you write down all the stressful moments that you remember at the end of the day. What you are adding now is what solutions might be that suit you. Let your imagination run wild here. Do not apply censorship. Everything is possible. And also make an imagination/drawing/symbol of all the solutions you have come up with.

In this second week you will explore what you could do to quickly release or prevent the stress. So you’re going to explore new behaviors and expand the arsenal of possible responses.

Week 3: action plan

What you will do first is write down what your desired situation is, what is the end goal you want to work towards. Then divide this end goal into smaller steps. And then focus on what you will concretely do as the first feasible step. During the process you can always make adjustments based on the experience you have gained.

Now you will practice for a week with the first step. In situations where you estimate that you will experience stress, determine in advance what you will do differently, how you will act. Decide again what suits you. And give yourself the space that things can go ‘wrong’, because you are learning.

At the beginning of the day, you can survey the day and look for possible moments of stress. You can also do this during the day. If possible, also visualize your new behavior. At the end of the day you look back on how it went. Are you satisfied, do you want to try something different next time? And add another scribble to this. Make sure you stay in a positive experience. The steps should give you the energy and confidence to keep going.


At the end of the week you can determine whether something in your thinking and acting has changed. And whether you feel good about this and are proud of it! If this is not the case yet, you will formulate a new step/action for the following week.

In the first week you worked on becoming aware of situations in which you experience stress. In the second week you gave your imagination free rein to come up with all kinds of alternatives how you could react differently. Now you come to the step to choose a response that suits you. How do you regain control of your own life and do what makes you feel good?

The touchstone you use here is that it should give you a good feeling!!! Showing new behavior is always exciting, but take care of yourself, don’t force anything. If you notice that you are being forced to do it (and therefore also experience stress), then the step you are taking is too big. Then determine how you can divide this step into smaller steps.


Making an imagination into a drawing or symbol is very important. What you set in motion with this is your creative brain . If you want to develop a new pattern, you start thinking and acting outside your existing patterns. By activating your creativity you will find new solutions more easily.

As your body relaxes, stored toxins are released. Drink plenty of water to flush out these toxins.

Good luck!!


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