How can I change my 'gut reaction'?

This is an idea I've been struggling with.  How can I change the way my body and my mind 'naturally' react to a moment?  I'm acutely aware of my physiology in the moment, but still feel helpless when it comes to changing how I react.

I know this isn't rare.  I had heard of others expressing this before, but it wasn't real to me until now.

So of course, I brought this up with my therapist.

Not surprisingly, I found myself immediately annoyed with her simple and familiar suggestion.  "You have to change the narrative."  She explained to me how I needed to change the story as it plays out in my head. How I need to really understand, challenge and change the core belief that's driving my fearful, vulnerable, victimized response.   And that I need to be kind and patient with myself, stop personalizing and continue working on understanding the chemistry of it all.

Hmmmmmm.... Easier said than done, right?  Right.

Well, it's kinda funny, I noticed that while I might feel some ingrained stubborn egoic opposition to her suggestions at first, I do truly want to take her advice, and the lessons have had a way of settling in throughout the day.  By the end of the day, those idealistic goals don't seem so unattainable. 

So, that narrative... At some point, my brain 'learned' that when people talk about me, they're making fun of me.  When they ask me questions, they're preparing to prove me wrong.  When someone comments about my appearance, they're insulting me.  

Fuck bullies.  

But wait - there aren't bullies here now.  Even if there were serious bullies in my life, who really cares?  My brain however, still likes to reacting in hyperdrive to certain situations as if I were under attack.  But these are emotions.  I'm not my emotions.  Emotions are chemistry.  Chemistry can be understood and affected. 

Anyways, I'm writing this in some way to help me make sense of my thoughts, and hopefully share some insight.  I don't know what specific narrative or mantra type self talk I might adopt, but hey, I'm making progress :)  

New year, new ink

New year, new ink

Work & Ego