When Life Feels More Like a Game of Survival
The zombie apocalypse is here and you’re almost of time. It’s getting dark and your ammo is low. You are separated from your group and you can hear the drone of undead. Oh no! They see you!
How do you feel? Probably frightened.
Your heart is racing as quickly as your thoughts may be. You have no idea what to do next. Your ability to think your way out is quickly diminishing. Feelings of dread and a lack of control take over.
This is typical of a subgenre of video games known as “survival games.”
The setting is usually a hostile environment where players must survive for as long as possible. These types of games, generally, have no set goals beyond surviving.
Unfortunately, this is also similar to how many people feel on a daily basis. The stresses of life can become so overwhelming that they are no longer proactive participants in their own life. Instead, they live each day in a state of reacting.
When we are reactive rather than proactive, external events can dictate our every move. There is a loss of control. We, essentially, become pawns of our environments.
Real Life Dangers of Survival Mode: Health, Fitness and Productivity
Zombies and stress have some interesting similarities.
Both can appear almost randomly and both attack the brain, which affects how we interact with our environments.
In other words, both can cause us to exhibit zombie-like behavior…walking around with no real destination, reacting to whatever pops up, and completely unaware of our surroundings.
Although, some of us may be aware, we may not have the mental and emotional strength to resist our stressors.
Life is obviously not a game and should not be lived in survival mode.
Without going off the scientific deep end, the result of living a stress-oriented life is a chronic release of neurochemicals and hormones that can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses that may be triggered or exacerbated by stress.
Our personal and professional lives will also bear the brunt.
Again, I won’t go “full metal science”; but, when we are faced with conditions that cause our bodies to react to stress, those biochemical responses also affect our ability to reason, to be logical and to be objective.
If you’ve ever interacted with an “irrational” person, then you will understand just how powerful stress fueled emotions can be. Perhaps you can recall a time that you were not so rational.
Reactivity vs Proactivity
Which one best describes you?
- Do you plan your days or are they a series of things that just happen?
- Do you see your circumstances as someone else’s fault?
- Does your power come from within or is it based on things outside of you (external conditions, such as social media engagement, other’s opinions/moods/behaviors, etc.)?
- Do you take the initiative?
- Are you driven by your values (internal)?
- Do you feel confident in your ability to choose your responses (despite the circumstances)?
These questions are not all-inclusive. They merely highlight some of the differences in the thought processes that underscore reactivity/proactivity.
These thoughts are important to distinguish, otherwise, we have the tendency to approach life subconsciously, without a plan.
We may be armed with positivity, excellent quotes and a motivational speech but without a goal and executable steps, we become wishful thinkers rather than active participants.
Life may then be experienced as a series of things that happen to us, instead as a series of opportunities that happen for us.
Identifying Your Zombies
We all have our own personal zombies (White Walkers for GOT fans). Instead of waiting for them to come for us, we can identify them and construct a plan. We can name them.
Two of my personal zombies are “emotions” and “procrastination.”
Understanding these tendencies allows me to take actionable steps to minimize the damage and havoc they can wreak.
My plan looks similar to this:
- What emotions or behaviors undermine/affect my proactivity?
- Where is it coming from?
- What am I feeling physically?
- Is it reality or just my perception (filter/bias)?
- How can I reframe my perspective?
By journaling these emotions, thoughts and behaviors, we are able to become a conscious observer and retain our power to choose.
What does your plan look like?
Originally published at charbdollfitness.com.