It is a new day and all you think of is doing what you can to just get by. As you told yourself before now, after this last project, after saving enough money or having a better relationship, things will become easier and you won’t feel this way anymore.
But you’ve been through the same routines for months or even years with no end in sight. You are afraid that your world would come crashing down if you dare take a step back.
If this sounds familiar to you, then you may be living in survival mode. In this state, you are trapped in a repeated cycle of doing the minimal or absolute to survive to the next day or week while assuring yourself that the arrangement is temporary.
Before you realize what is happening, you’ve quit spending quality time with your family and abandoned your cherished goals. You don’t feel happy in the moments that you should, and you’re in a constant state of panic.
Emotional Addictions Control You
Dr. Candace Pert Ph.D., author of Molecules of Emotion, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d and biologist/contributor on What the Bleep Do We Know, discovered that thoughts transform into molecules the moment you think them.
Pert explains that emotions are not merely chemicals in the brain. They are electrochemical signals that affect the chemistry and electricity of every single cell in the body. The body’s electrical state is modulated by emotions, changing the world within the body, which confirms that emotional states affect the world outside of the body.
Your Body Craves Your Predominate Emotions
Her research shows that thinking activates the hypothalamus (a “control center” near the base of the brain) that transforms thought into millions of neuropeptides (amino acids) which represent the dominant emotion associated with that thought. The thought becomes a molecular messenger of emotion then floods the bloodstream with these neuropeptides.
The neuropeptides insert themselves into the cells and interlock with a particular receptacle (custom made for it) on the cell’s membrane. The amino acids are absorbed by the cells and the more times this pathway is created, the more the cells crave the neuropeptides, and instruct the hypothalamus to produce them.
It’s the same as a drug addict; the more these receptacles are used, the less effective they become. The body then produces more “survival mode” receptacles for the damaged and worn-out ones. It then requires more neuropeptides to be produced for the “survival mode” receptacles.
Like drugs, it becomes a vicious cycle getting off the merry-go-round to stop the addiction. Your body is craving the feelings of your past experiences.
Quotes from Dr. Pert
“I’ve always kind of known that the energy you emanate from within attracts the situations and people that you need.”
“As our feelings change, this mixture of peptides travels throughout your body and your brain. And they’re changing the chemistry of every cell in your body.”
Because of the decades of being in, you have spent feeling and thinking negatively about money (scarcity, lack, etc.), your brain has become addicted to that feeling. Therefore, your mind creates the circumstances to attract scarcity and lack, to feed its addiction.
5 Causes of Survival Mode
Stress triggers survival mode. In response to stress, parts of your brain become hyperactive and memories are created to perpetuate the need for survival.
Regardless of the cause, depression fuels survival mode. It makes justifying harmful behaviours such as anti-social and melancholy easier.
With depression, it is much easier to accept living in survival mode as the new norm. Whenever you avoid an important engagement, you may see it as a necessary sacrifice for a better future.
Traumatic events such as the loss of a loved one, abuse, poverty, war and chaos, can perpetuate survival mode.
Reacting to trauma is a normal process, however, the real problem occurs when you continually live survival mode. You may even think you have moved on, but your brain hasn’t.
Trauma survivors are often wary of uncertainties and unpredictable events. People with PTSD, for example, are prone to living in survival mode as the memories have been frozen inside and become a way of life.
Environmental pressures can trigger survival mode as a coping mechanism. In an unstable environment, you may exert control to the extreme just to avoid the risk of temporary failure or disappointment. War and terrorism is an environment that triggers survival mode.
5. Life Changes
Health crises, job loss, a new baby, or divorce can readjust your life in unpredictable ways. These changes may force you to cater for more responsibilities than you can currently handle, or deplete your resources quickly. To recover, it is common to stay in the survival mode with little prospect of growth.
PTSD to PEACE
The following video shows a brief story of Yubert who was born in Iraq and almost died five times. He was captured and tortured but somehow escaped. You would think he would suffer from PTSD or be living in survival mode. Yubert used his experience to transform into the most amazing kind man you will meet.
5 Signs of Being in Survival Mode
Below, are some of the signs of being in the survival mode
1. Sense of Urgency
If you can’t afford reflecting or putting things in perspective, check your daily activities, you are likely in survival mode. All deadlines are now and you fear missing out or failing.
2. Overwhelming stress
Poor sleeping habits, irregular breathing, and inability to think clearly that results from stress are signs of living in survival mode.
3. Content with Average
If all you want to do is avoid a troubling day rather than strive for a great one, then you need time for some self-reflection.
Always reacting to issues is another telltale sign. You may be too busy to plan beforehand and hence, forced to react to clients, projects, and changing processes.
5. Chronic Fatigue
When all your working hours are filled with disorganized tasks, you become too tired to even care for yourself. This feeling is well known to moms with newborns or a new business person with no help.
Effects of Living in Survival Mode
Living in survival mode negatively impacts you and everyone around you in various ways including:
- It can make you ungrateful.
- You develop tunnel vision and only focus on bad outcomes.
- Inadequate time and money override everything. You take your relationship and privileges for granted.
- It promotes unintended selfishness. You may feel you are doing your best to cope but this causes a lack of awareness and inability to validate other people’s needs or feelings.
- Creates being self-absorbed without realizing it.
- Degrades your health and emotional wellbeing due to the lack of “me” time.
- Creates chronic fatigue as you exist in fight or flight mode.
- You make the poor decisions as you make them out of fear instead of empowerment.
9 Methods to Get Out of Survival Mode
1. Acknowledge it
The first step towards escaping survival mode is to acknowledge that you are currently in it. Understand that it is not normal or sustainable.
2. Don’t wait for things to get easier
Many people are enticed by the hope that things will get better if they hurriedly push through difficult times and ignore long-term implications. Planning and acting on what is important to you right now is the right approach to take.
3. Reconcile beliefs with actions
If you believe friendship is important to you, then you should act to nurture existing relationships and build new ones.
4. Make a new plan
Create an action plan based on your unique situation to help break your survival mode cycle. This must be different from the previous ones you had.
5. Stop Complaining
A common way of dealing with survival mode is to complain. But this doesn’t solve your problem, it only allows you to engage in self-pity and avoid necessary changes.
6. Forgive Yourself
Survival mode can result from personal and system failure, your plans may have been inadequate or unpredictable changes derailed them. Accept your mistake and forgive yourself. Understand that your current condition provides a rich learning experience.
7. Start Communicating
Going silent is not a good idea when in survival mode. Call up your friends and clients. Speak to those impacted by your absence to resolve issues. Let other’s know you are dealing with personal issues.
8. Heal Your Childhood
Most survival programs are programmed in childhood and unless you address them, they will continue throughout your life. Your childhood experiences become your blueprint so this is an essential part of getting out of survival mode.
9. Ask for Help
When you are in survival mode, you need all the personal and professional help you can get to heal and make progress. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It means you have recognized what needs to be done and are willing to go through with it.
By recognizing survival mode, its effect on your life, and taking relevant actions to move forward, it will soon be in your past. It is all up to you. It’s time to get busy in more productive ways.
Disclaimer: Forensic Healing, Marisa Russo and Spiritual Development for women are not a professional medical body. Any information contained in any videos/publications/comments/blog posts etc are for entertainment purposes only. All information is intended for general guidance and must not be considered a substitute for advice provided by a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. Marisa Russo or Forensic Healing makes no warranties or representation of any kind concerning the accuracy or suitability of the information contained on this channel, websites, videos, social media pages, blog posts etc.”