Talk to me Goose!

The red zone.

Whenever I think of the red zone, I hear the song Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. Yes, I’m a child of the 80’s. Top Gun immediately comes to mind. I see the fighter jets taking off from aircraft carriers, ducking and weaving in the air, tension building… “Talk to me Goose!”

Oh yes, when I’m in the red zone, I’m headed for the Danger Zone.

Top Gun. 1986

We all find ourselves in the red zone. The trick is being able to recognize it so thoughts and emotions don’t take over. When that happens, we can only react, not respond.

What is the red zone? It’s when our nervous system activates into fight for flight.

We can move into the red zone suddenly or it can sneak up on us.

For those of us who work in high-stress jobs, we spend a lot of time in the red zone. Maybe call it pink. The impact of chronic stress builds over time. We feel like we can manage but it’s almost like we’re a ticking time bomb. Eventually, our bodies can’t handle it and we feel the consequences. I talk about this in my blog I Knocked Myself Out...Not in a Good Way.

Or something that would seem minor in everyday life can catapult us into the red zone. It could be a slow driver in front of us. It could be a conflict with friends or colleagues. It could be the computer not working when you really need it to. Or how about this one? The weather wasn’t what you had hoped for on that special day.

Before you know it, no joke, your mind is racing and emotions are flying.

“Talk to me Goose!”

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a wing man like Maverick did.

The red zone feelings and reactions can stick with us for long periods of time. It takes time to come back into the green zone.

Here’s the kicker – the black zone is waiting for us after we spend time in the red zone. It’s normal. It’s how we get back into the green zone.

Liz Gow,

For me it looked like this: When I was raising my son, working full time in a stressful job, I was in the red zone most of the week. Not dark red but just enough to be activated. On the weekends I literally couldn’t get off the couch and my 2-year-old and I watched Pixar movies all weekend.

Wouldn’t it be nice to say to ourselves, “Hey, I’m in the red zone. I’m going to head back to the green zone.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

What can we do? I have two simple practices that can make a big difference.

Before the day starts

Start your day with a short mindfulness practice.

  • Ask yourself how you want to show up for yourself and others.

  • What do you need to live into that intention?

  • Repeat to yourself out loud or silently in your mind what you need.

  • Let it go and move into your day.

In the moment

  • When you notice you’re activated clasp your hands.

  • Take three slow, deep, belly breaths.

  • On the inhale tighten the grip, on the exhale loosen the grip.

  • This will bring you back to your body and help regulate you.

Being in the red or black zones too much can hurt us. And it can be challenging to regulate.

Sometimes we just can’t do it on our own. Yoga therapy and life coaching can help.

Do you want a wing-woman? I have one and I’m so grateful for the support.

I’d be honored to support you on your path to health and wellness. If you’re interested in working with me send me a message HERE.

In health and wellness,


P.S. Join me for yoga every Wednesday evening. Reduce stress. Alleviate anxiety. Join online or in person. Sign up HERE. I’d love to see you!

P.S.S. I’m holding a free yoga class July 16 at Lindley Park at 9am. Start your day outside with gentle yoga to get into your Saturday. Contact me if you are interested at

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