"Grow or Go" - Laurel's "Fight or Flight" System

Your fight or flight instinct keeps you safe. It's one of the inherent inner mechanisms of human intelligence. It works like this. If you perceive you are in danger, either fight or flee the situation to survive. It' a basic inner mechanism to promote life. Living in America and growing up in a nonviolent household, I didn't much need my fight or flight. Unfortunately though, it still kicked in. As a child when I wasn't getting the attention I needed or wanted, I often made myself and my needs invisible (took flight so to speak) so that I didn't feel like I was contributing any further stress or burden to our home. That instinct can still kick in today given the right set of circumstance.

Knowing your versions and patterns of how fight or flight shows up for you begins the change process. These patterns can do you disservice as well as to those we live in relationship with if you are not aware of them. Fighting and fleeing keeps unhealthy patterns entrenched, perpetuating more unhappiness and stress.This is where my more evolved system comes in!

When I am in a situation where I am repeating any behavior that I don't feel good about, I now call on my more evolved fight or flight mechanism - I call it my "grow or go" system. With this self-created system, I call myself to rise to the occasion and determine  how I need to grow in the current situation in my life.


Whatever stress is occurring, I consider the stress to be for my benefit rather than for my demise. I see it as my need to grow in ways I have not yet stretched and evolved, or to consciously and gracefully move along my path and leave the situation - to go. If I am not contributing positively, then my presence is not needed. It's a choice I hold myself accountable to on a daily basis. When I don't live up to contributing positively or moving on, I feel disappointed in me.

So how would you institute they "grow or go" system in your life? Try these steps.

1. Decide you will see stress as an indicator of growth and opportunity rather than a problem.

2. Ask yourself what behavior or attitude you are contributing that keeps the stress or tension a part of the circumstances.

3. Take a time out and determine how you want the situation to be, what changes you want.

4. Contribute in a new way, in line with what you want and your values.

5. Move on from the situation when you believe you have contributed all that you can in a positive way.

This system helps you improve your skills in beginnings and endings. It allows you to own your truth and your wants. It teaches you how to be responsible of your life and how you are contributing to the world around you. It promotes growth instead of stagnancy.

The next time you sense yourself in "fight or flight", see if you can institute the new "grow or go" system and alleviate the chronic stress patterns in your life.