“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
– Man’s Search For Meaning, By Viktor E. Frankl
Nowadays I hear many stories of people getting thrown a curve ball, when plans are changed without their permission. Like the flight that’s too late and causes you to miss an important business engagement, or when you wanted to spend time relaxing and rejuvenating and instead you need to clean up a mess from a flooded basement.
We know there’s nothing we can do to stop the winds of change, however, we can use those turbulent times to grow. We can retrain ourselves to see unexpected change and loss as an opportunity study ourselves and move ourselves closer to freedom.
We really never know what will happen next and we don’t always know if we’re making the right decision, but we do know that with attention and steadiness, we can help make the situation turn out alright.
We have a chance to reconsider, re-group, or re-appraise the situation and develop a plan B. Here’s how our brain anatomy helps us with this transformational task:
The prefrontal cortex is our brain’s CEO. It allows us to make choices when presented with two different perspectives.
The amygdala is our vigilant center, helping us decide when something could be harmful and therefore needs attention or if something is rather neutral and doesn’t need our immediate response.
Through continued practice of paying attention to our breath or mantra, we enhance the connection between these more discerning powers. Overtime lessening the grip of our necessary, but fear based, amygdala.