How to manage your mental health

By Ron van Helvoirt on Mar 04, 2021

Running up

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Do you often wonder what a strange world we have entered? And are you also so surprised by the way people react?

Yet this reaction is not so strange and is not surprising from an evolutionary point of view. Our behavioral patterns are nothing new. Not even now today. Fight, flight or freeze are the primary survival strategies.

On 16 March 2020, panic ensued. Terrible images from Italy came over us. Fear and panic is then a very logical reaction. Stress signals caused by your brain. This is laid down in your biology. Your body immediately produces adrenaline as a result of the stress reaction. You need this to be able to fight or run away; two out of the three primary reactions. This is perfectly logical. If you cannot fight or flight, you will freeze; the third primary reaction.

Because of the adrenaline that is produced in your body, you do not feel the fear. That is what adrenaline does; it numbs the pain and the feeling. You are super-focused. As far as I am concerned, call it a survival tactic of nature. You have no control over it, it just happens. You are sharp and have tunnel vision. You can see better and your energy level is temporarily very high.

You will understand that you can only keep this up for a limited time. In the long run, excessive production of adrenaline destroys your whole system. The production of adrenaline always takes precedence. You use a lot of energy to do so. Breaking it down requires a lot from your body. You are feeling tired and the body has to recover. Therefore, many different behaviors can be explained by this. Stress will also make you hold on to your beliefs; you are no longer open to reason. Recognizable?

It is therefore important to avoid stress as much as possible, precisely because it turns on our mechanism for survival and, in the vast majority of cases, is completely unnecessary in our modern time.

So, it is important to revert to the other part of our brain as soon as possible. This requires thorough self-examination. It is about opening up to what is happening within you and by consciously observing it. In order to live your own life, you will have to be at your own command. This will not be pleasant, but it is important to keep this up. Just when you think you're done; an unexpected insight can present itself. In the end, this leads to an enormous expansion of consciousness, especially because you will come to realize that there is no fixed form of what you could call 'I'.

Until now, your survival patterns were your insight. Transcending these patterns connects you to your real self. The anchor in yourself. As a result, you will develop more self-control and make choices that really suit you. That will cause substantially less stress.

I have had quite a battle with myself as well.

Do I act from analysis or intuition? I have found out that wisdom is not in analysis but in intuition. Doing what your mind tells you. What stopped me was the conviction that intuition does not belong in business. I told myself to leave my feelings at home. This is not the same as asking how the other person is doing, since this is also part of analysis. No, I mean 'saying what you are feeling.'

Now I realize that I actually always did that. It certainly didn't always help me and it regularly caused me a lot of misunderstanding and stress. However, it also earned me the appreciation of the people who needed it. I just didn't see it enough at the time.

Letting go was difficult.

It has nothing to do with materialistic things, only with beliefs. This means that I had to let go of old thinking patterns and old behavior. Imagination has taken its place. Typically, when I look at my bookcase, there is a clear parallel with my personal life. On the right are the management books full of models and theory and on the left is the philosophical literature. Fortunately, the latter is taking over more and more.

Five tips

  1. From There-and-Then to Here-and-Now
  2. From Identification to Identity
  3. This is me (identity), this what I want (autonomy)
  4. Separating thinking, feeling & behavior from THEN from NOW
  5. Developing potential, developing capacity, developing talent AND developing relationships...that's what transformation is all about!

I’m curious to know what my writing evokes in you. What’s your view on this subject, and what possibilities do you observe? Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!

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