How to switch from Survival Mode to Living in the moment & Problem Solving Mode


How Do I Make Real Changes?

Do you want to lose weight permanently without restrictive diets or medications?

Do you want to quit smoking, drinking or gambling?

Do you want to quit fighting, escaping, freezing or people-pleasing in your relationships?

Do you want to quit ‘living’ in the past or the future?

Do you want to quit a boring, stale work environment or job?

Whatever habit or cycle it is – have you had enough and just want to quit already!

The Problem:

Survival Mode & Reactions

We unconsciously and consciously live a lot of the time in survival mode. Like animals do so often, we view the world or a specific situation, person or challenge as a ‘threat’. This manifests in two ways. Either because we are trying to resist discomfort or we attach to constant happiness. The potential loss of happiness or preventing discomfort is seen psychologically as a ‘threat’.

As you feel triggered, you argue, take space, feel stuck or beg to get what you believe you need. This is known as the fight, flight, freeze or fawn animal survival reactions.

These survival reactions manifest in many different forms. This can be through overeating, alcohol, smoking, transient or rollercoaster relationships and years of therapy. How do any of these reactions work for you? Well, not very well. You cannot focus on what you actually ‘want’ because you are hyperfocused on the ‘pain’ you don’t want or what you believe you ‘need’ to survive or be happy.

4 Cycles


  • The Thinking Cycle
  • The Emotional Cycle
  • The Nervous System Cycle
  • The Demanding Paradigm Cycle

More important than the actual thoughts and feelings is the ongoing CYCLE in these 4 mind-body reactions that keeps us stuck and hooked. This strong cycle overwhelms our system and hooks us in survival mode.

Even the scariest thought or feeling would pass relatively quickly (about 90 seconds), but a chain of constant thoughts and feelings creates a roller-coaster effect, making us feel like we are drowning.

The Solution:

Living & Problem Solving Mode

As humans, we have the ability to switch from survival and hustling mode to actually living in the moment and problem-solving when necessary.

However, we cannot do this without having the tools to self-regulate emotionally. This means having the power to switch modes without the help of a friend, professional or any distraction.

The only way to do this is to ‘interrupt’ the thinking-emotional-nervous system-paradigm cycle. Only at this point of ‘living in the moment’ can you determine what you actually ‘want’. Otherwise, you always defend or protect yourself by fighting, escaping, freezing or people-pleasing.

The first step is to enter ‘living mode’. ‘Living in the moment’ does not require focusing or giving attention to the moment. This does not work so long as you are in survival mode. But as you ‘interrupt’ the thinking-feeling-nervous system-demanding paradigm cycle, you are automatically ‘living’ in the present moment.

From this state, the second step is possible. You can apply problem-solving mode: analyze and get what you really WANT – what you enjoy and what brings value to your life.

Problem-solving mode includes assertive communication, acceptance and setting boundaries. It also allows you to set SMART goals to live your values – healthy lifestyle, meaningful relationships, hobbies, and launch creativity in your job.

I strongly recommend David and his various courses for any individual or company

As an experienced executive with over 25 years in the financial services industry both globally and in South Africa, I initially approached David’s course with a fair degree of skepticism. Having now spent a considerable amount of time with David in his various workshops, I have realized that… 

Rob Katz, CEO, Peregrine Holdings (Pty) Ltd (formerly listed on the JSE)