What Getting Rear-Ended Taught Me
I was rear-ended last week while driving up to San Clemente for a leisurely afternoon of self care. Yes, I’m ok, aside from a little whiplash everyone involved in the accident is just fine 🙂
It’s been years since I’ve been in any kind of fender-bender. The last accident I can recall was a little bump while parallel parking about 3 years ago and the time before that was way back in my college days.
Getting in any kind of car accident can be nerve wracking though- you get that surge of adrenaline that rushes through, propelling you into a “flight or fight” response.
Even with the minor bump a few years back I remember my flight or fight response so vividly…
The rush of tingling all throughout my body
The immediate sweaty palms and pits
Feeling flushed in the face
And my heart pounding almost out of my chest
It’s our body’s natural and intelligent reaction to keep us safe by heightening our brain function for quick thinking, and putting our body on edge for quick moving to escape whatever the danger might be.
Surprisingly most people are in a state of flight or fight all the time due to low grade chronic stress from all kinds of outlets; inflammatory foods, environmental chemicals, lack of sleep, work and relationship stress.
We may not “feel” stressed but that doesn’t mean our body isn’t under stress.
Back in the day, I used to actually feel stressed a lot more. I “worked better under pressure” and was always moving a million miles a minute from one task to another like a busy bee.
I used to think this was me just being “productive,” until I realized I was actually in a state of fight or flight all the time because of hidden stressors, which kept pumping cortisol through my body giving me superhero strength to check everything off my to-do list (and twice!).
Back then when I was hit with something unexpected such as a car accident, a bad news phone call, or change of direction at work, it would send me into a tailspin. I thought I simply didn’t deal with change very well- I liked routine.
This recent rear-ending has made me reflect on how much I’ve changed. I’ve removed so many hidden stressors from my life and I no longer live in a constant state of fight or flight. I still love checking things off my to-do list but it’s not a big deal if something doesn’t get done.
In this week’s video I talk more about how I got out of a constant state of fight or flight and what getting rear-ended has taught me about maintaining my health.
What getting rear-ended has taught me about maintaining my health.…
1- Meditation Works!
Old Jenn would have been flustered, angry and mad after a situation like this, letting it get me down for the rest of the day, playing the “why me” story in my head over and over, beating myself up for not being more attentive while driving. BUT the new meditation practicing Jenn was able to easily brush it off.
When I got out of the car to exchange insurance info, the lady who hit me was so apologetic and I was able to just shrug my shoulders and say “sh*t happens, it’s ok” instead of playing the blame game. I know she didn’t hit me intentionally.
Practicing meditation daily, even if it’s for only 5 minutes sometimes, has really altered my mindset. My mind is more quiet all the time, I don’t feel a sense of urgency for things like I used to and I can deal with “stressful situations” with a calm composure.
2- Be Proactive vs. Reactive.
I literally had a massage the day before the accident. I do yoga once a week and get regular acupuncture or see the chiropractor about every 6-8 weeks. Often we wait until something is wrong to take care of our body. This is how I used to be- reactive versus proactive, waiting until something was in pain to seek treatment. In the past few years I’ve become more proactive about maintaining my body structurally to maintain my health.
As a result, the side effects and recovery from the whiplash have been pretty minimal. Being aligned, more flexible and loose helps to prevent injury, reduces the overall stress load on the body, lowers cortisol and hormone disruption, and keeps the organs working optimally. It’s important to give your body a tune up regularly just like you would a car to keep it functioning properly and to avoid any breakdowns.
Sometimes it seems like squeezing these appointments in is a hassle but this has reminded me just how important it is because you never know when something like a car accident is going to happen.
3- Practice Presence.
The lady rear-ended me in stop and go traffic. We were only going about 10 mph so I’m pretty sure she was on her phone when she hit me, simply not paying attention. I’m guilty of this too sometimes at a red light or when traffic is slow. Not anymore. Remember when we didn’t have cell phones in our cars? We waited through red lights without entertainment all the time.
Our phones and devices have created a whole new level of hidden stress in our lives. The pressure to respond to emails ASAP, to reply to messages right away, to know what the latest post on social media is about- the ultimate time sucking activity. No wonder why we can’t find time to take care of ourselves! Using devices after dark also inhibits your ability to fall asleep.
Taking a break from devices daily or creating healthy boundaries helps to minimize stress and allows us to re-focus on the really important things in life. When we practice presence, we are plugged into life/ We’re able to tune into our body for any healing that needs to happen and we can cultivate gratitude.
Ultimately, my message here is that healthy is a state of being, not doing.
Sure there are a LOT of healthy things we can do (eat healthy foods, exercise, take supplements etc.), that was me before, but this leaves room for a lot of not doing also.
Once you embrace healthy as a state of being only then will you fully realize the healthiest version of you that you want to be.
Are you ready ditch the part-time healthy lifestyle and embrace healthy as a state of being? Schedule a complimentary Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me here.