What is the one thing we need to do most but can’t?


When we are stressed and worried …

In order to resolve the problem to hand we need to think carefully, look at our options and see any opportunities for change and development.  But we just can’t!

Why not?

Because our unconscious brain distracts us – or rather doesn’t distract us – from focusing on ‘the problem’ i.e. the attacker we have encountered, be that a sabre tooth tiger or mammoth, or the bill we can’t pay, the workload we can’t manage, or the frustrations at home we cannot escape!

We are built as people – as animals – to focus on the problem and resolve it as quickly as possible because our built-in instincts and responses are meant to be short spurts of action and survival – not the ongoing pressures we encounter every day.  Or even perpetuate ourselves every day!

Stress is necessary in our lives – it’s a driving force for action and development, movement forward.   It is the motivation we have to do things and make things happen – happen better, more effectively, more efficiently.

But so far, survival of the fittest hasn’t found anything more effective for our survival than our fight or flight response – or we wouldn’t have it!   Still, millions of years after our development from apes.

Our consciousness and knowledge have grown exponentially from them – yet, we still ignore our instincts that save and protect us!    We ignore those warning signs within, for social expectations and norms without that are man-made and therefore not necessarily correct!

Our natural (i.e. nature created) reactions are there for a reason – solely, our individual defence and safety, and those we are responsible for (children, the vulnerable, loved ones – our tribe).

So what is the answer?

Well, it’s simple.   Listen to and learn again to recognise the signs from within – the messages your body sends to your mind to alert you to problems and positives (opportunities) and learn again to understand and trust them!


These aren’t behaviours we can choose to ignore or prevent – they are us, part of us, all of us, inherent within us and our make up!

So we need to honour them and acknowledge them – and ACT on them!

The fight or flight response gives you only two options – no third choice to freeze for years, no stopping it happening (until depression and the restrictions to living life that brings you).

You FIGHT – stand your ground, stand up for yourself, physically fight back or Psychologically!

Take FLIGHT – run away!  If that’s your best and safest option – to leave your pressured job, walk out on the family, leave the room or back down from challenging someone’s point of view.

It should be temporary and then life settles back to routine, safety and security again for a while.  But YOU and only you are responsible for creating that stability and security again.


Do Not:

  • repeat your mistakes with people, activities, beliefs and expectations
  • not trusting that person again when they keep letting you down or attacking you!
  • not pushing through the warning signs of stress to illness, organ damage and eventual death!
  • not doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome!


  • Move on and find people you can trust, work with, live with, love and care for you
  • Listen and recognise warnings from within you – thoughts, feelings, physical behaviours, illness
  • Change behaviours and attitudes, experiment with new ways of being you
  • Try new things – search them out, new people, places, activities, options
  • Be ready for new opportunities by knowing where you’re heading and why – what you want
  • Know your needs and how to meet them
  • Realise your expectations and hopes – are they realistic or not?
  • Recognise your body, your mind set, your emotional responses – and underlying reasons

Asserting v Accepting

We still need to assert our needs and have them met though.  We cannot be happy and fulfilled by giving ourselves away or neglecting our deepest needs and desires!

So we have to honour ourselves – values, beliefs, needs, expectations, hopes and dreams.   This is not fighting or flying but assessing and asserting our Self.

  • Being honest about who we are and working from there.
  • Being vulnerable and open to others we can trust to support us to get back on track
  • Being our real self, not being someone that the other person wants/needs to meet their needs!
  • Being YOU!  Your SELF!  And being proud and accepting of that – no matter where you are now, you can and will grow, learn, develop and find new options going forward in your life!

It’s never too late to keep trying new things, or new ways;

There may well be bigger mistakes you should learn from and not repeat;

There will be pain and problems along the way – to learn from and get better from!