Choices + Control

“With choices, we feel more in control. Without them, we can feel threatened.”

– Scott Halford

At some point during this global pandemic of COVID-19, we all have likely felt that we don’t have much choice or control in our civil liberties. Personally, I like to have choices. It helps me be creative, take chances, and keep my options open. I like to feel in control. It helps me take charge, be clear, and work towards completion.

With these stay-at-home orders, I can see how people don’t feel as if they have choices or control, and they feel threatened. As I observe the protests against the stay-at-home orders, I’m seeing it’s not even about COVID-19. It’s about personal freedoms being threatened. And everyone protesting, whichever side, is doing what they believe is adding to their life experience for the positive. We all desire to thrive.

As clients and friends, you’ve likely heard me talk about surviving versus thriving. This may look different to different people, but I challenge you to self-check your perspective. 

How we respond to our current situation is the only thing we can truly choose and control. Developing self-awareness is the starting point to gain control of your life, but you have to choose to take the first step. We may not have a lot of control over some of the personal freedoms we are used to, but it’s all a matter of perspective.

Whether you like it or not, your response to this pandemic will test and reveal your resiliency and hardiness. How do you embrace the chaos and make it work to your advantage right now?

“Hardiness is a mindset that helps you manage your way through stress.”

-Steven Stein

Get your head in the game! Cortisol is the adrenaline we need to keep us in the game, but too much of it can lead to negative results mentally, physically, and put us in the “surviving” zone. Too little and you may not get off the couch or out of the house these days. Most of the clients I work with are swimming in a pool of cortisol. To move from surviving (negative intensities) to thriving (positive intensities), we literally need the appropriate levels of neurochemicals in our brain. These positive intensity producing catecholamines are norepineprine, dopamine, and oxytocin and we get them through purposeful activities that bring focus, joy, thrill, contentment, and trust. For me, “becoming unbusy” has helped create space in my mind for more of these activities that increase positive intensities*:

Focus and excitement (Norepinephrine):

  • Engagement
  • Interest
  • Novelty

Completion (Dopamine):

  • Goal achievement
  • Mastery
  • Winning

Bonding (Oxytocin):

  • Laughter
  • Love/liking/trust
  • Collaboration
  • Generosity

*From Activate Your Brain by Scott Halford, pages 33-34.

Are you feeling in control or threatened during this global pandemic of COVID-19? 

What activities elevate your cortisol and negative intensities? What activities contribute balancing your adrenaline levels and increasing positive intensities?

How are you choosing to respond to this new way of life for yourself, your family, your workplace, your county, state, and the federal government? 

It’s all a matter of perspective.
What will you choose?

Let me know, I would love to hear your perspective!
Be inspired. Be well. Be you.

Claudine Norden


One thought on “Choices + Control

  1. Hi Claudine!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and information on choosing perspective! I appreciate how you broke down the neurochemicals and provided examples of activities for ehancing each type, and I find this extremely helpful and practical. I have found it a blessing during this time to be able to slow down, think and spend time with my children at home. It has given us opportunity to try some new things and just be together more. Not every day has been inspiring, however, and then I feel guilty for wasting time. I will look forward to picking an activity from your list on the days when I need to revitalize positive energy and/or inspire my kiddos! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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