There's always that one person; a coworker, friend or maybe even a relative that is what I like to say "at the ready". These people tend to have an immediate response to situations that trigger their fight or flight response; often stirring the trouble pot, They instigate situations which can affect those around them, both positively and negatively. If you are having a hard time thinking of who that person is, it maybe you. Are you always on guard?
It never fails. Picture this:
I’m at home, chillin' out, watching TV, grabbing a bite to eat or taking a nap. You know, chill out at home stuff. Then out of nowhere, the peacefulness is broken by the almost deafening bark of Kaya, the small in stature but big at heart Pomeranian that allows us to reside in the house with her (like she pays rent or something). Then like clockwork, Sampson (the resident Boxador) will chime in. Now, with him being a Boxador, Sampson has a deep more prominent bark than Kaya. Of course, vigilance kicks in and my immediate response is to find out what alerted them.
I go to investigate, and more often than not, IT'S NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING! Ok, maybe she heard someone's cries for help a mile away; maybe it's a leaf tumbling across the patio; who knows? In all fairness, my hearing is not as sensitive as a dog, so my frame of reference and abilities to hear even the slightest sounds do not compare to hers. However, to Kaya, whatever it is that alerted her is important and her need to let EVERYBODY in the neighborhood know, takes precedence over my pleas of cessation.
Sampson is usually a quiet dog and will only make a low growl if he hears or senses a threat. But for whatever reason, Kaya's bark seems to push him to the barking brink. The difference between the two of them is that Sampson has the ability to quickly assess that what they are barking at is not a threat or something he feels he shouldn't waste his energy on. Kaya will eventually settle down but ever ready to sound the alarm again, at any time. It's clear that in these situations Kaya instigates the alarm.
Fear, the desire to be in control or the lack of feeling in control can provoke our natural response to "fight or flee" (I prefer to use “react or relax" as the former phrase gives a negative connotation to something that is a natural, human response). Our position in a situation can determine if or how quickly we react. In the case of Kaya, her breed is intrinsically smaller than Sampson, so maybe her awareness of her size pushes her to instigate alarm. She may recall a past experience that when confronted with a similar situation in the present, causes her to instigate alarm.
Kaya and Sampson's responses are likened to how some of their human counterparts respond. Like Kaya, some people are always on edge, at the ready no matter what the situation is. There is something to be said of being vigilant in times when it's necessary, but being in a constant state of hypervigilance can create an imbalance between a true need to be alert and knowing when to let your guard down. These people instigate (insert type) situations, affecting those around them. I'm a big believer in the fact that people's actions done around you are not your own, but how you react to their actions are. This fact may not be true for everyone and in many cases, the immediate response of alert is a basic human reaction to outside stimuli (especially ones that are of a threatening nature; you can thank your amygdala for that). In Sampson's case, he may respond with the same alarm as Kaya initially, but quickly finds a balance between the need to react or relax.
Ask yourself "Am I like Kaya? Do I instigate situations?” Find out if you are always ready to rouse yourself and others up and why you feel the need to do so. Once identified, you can start to practice the art of balance between reacting and relaxing instead of being in a constant state of alarm. There is no doubt that when you seek and find the answer to these question, you will be more deliberate and precise in your movements. With that, the next time you find yourself ready to raise the alarm, you will be better equipped to handle "react or relax" situations more effectively.