Our stress level is a gauge, an indicator that pressure is building, boiling over in our life. This could be a deadline at work, something that can’t be controlled such as road rage, or a high credit card bill. Stress begins in the brain and signals the body, to ready itself for the classic “fight-or-flight” reaction.
What results is sweating of the brow, fuming, as the heart begins to pound, the breathing becomes shallow and rapid, as the muscles in the body begin to tense up.
This is a natural chain reaction to stress. The stress response is instinctive and quick to elevate, so what’s needed is using mindful stress relieving strategies.
Once stress begins to rise, it becomes difficult to calm yourself down, and health suffers as a result.
What’s clinically proven however, is there are ways to quickly reduce the stress response once it kicks in.
This can be activated by our various brain networks, which can calm things down from its source.
Pinpoint When The Stress Begins
Once stress begins, what the amygdala does is takes over the brain, to prepare it for the fight-or-flight response.
This is a primitive impulse, where our ancestors were faced with real life or death situations, such as fighting a bear.
What then happens is the breathing becomes shallow and rapid, as the body clams up.
This response is an instant instinctive reaction, that’s caused by cortisol and adrenaline shooting through the body.
So the key becomes to practice monitoring the initial signs of the stress response, such as the shoulders tensing up, and realizing this before the brain becomes hijacked.
Deep Rhythmic Breathing Using 5-2-6
What slow mindful rhythmic breathing does is activates the vagus nerve, which travels through the body, linking the brain to all the major organs such as the heart, lungs, and gut.
What the vagus nerve does, is slows down the activated fight-or-flight response, reversing the body back into its previous relaxed state, which is often referred to as “rest and digest.”
The way to activate this, is by performing the 5-2-6 breathing method.
This by breathing deeply for a count of 5 seconds, holding your breath for 2 seconds, then breathing out through the mouth or nostrils for 6 seconds.
To Reduce Stress Describe What You See
Describe 3 things you immediately see in front of you. Describe its size, color, shape, and texture. For instance, “a small fluffy brown puppy jumping.”
This can be done wherever you are, indoors or outdoors. What doing so does is mindfully snaps your attention back to the present moment.
What it does is eliminates the worry and fear, that’s associated with what might happen in the immediate future.
Describing what you mindfully see, does is disengages the setting in the brain, which gets activated once you begin to feel stress, or daydream. It allows the brain to ruminate.
Look At Nature Images
What looking at images of nature, such as a calm serene forest or animals, does is helps the brain and the heart recover quicker, when experiencing stress.
This is based on a study of college students, who were all stressed because of an extremely difficult exam they just finished.
They were all told immediately after the exam, they all performed poorly. What the researchers then did was divide the participants into two separate groups.
The first group was shown images of a forest with a creek running through it, this in a park like setting.
The other group was shown a busy urban scene with congested chaotic traffic, where a crowd of people were shoving and pushing.
Those who were exposed to the serene image, had a quicker cardiovascular recovery, which resulted in a lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Those shown the image of the congested city street, all reacted slower to relieve their stress.
The key becomes once beginning to feel stressed, intercept the response by viewing a serene image on your computer.
Once stress elevates, look out the window provided there’s a peaceful forest like setting, to calm yourself down.
Learn To Channel Stress Into Excitement
Instead of attempting to control the raging impulse that is stress, and trying to calm it down, attempt to harness that built up energy.
Stress is caused by the various stress chemicals in the brain, so funnel it towards helping you stay focused, motivated, or remaining to working harder.
Think about the passion you have for the task at hand, or the ideas you’re attempting to convey, without becoming overwhelmed or flustered.
The key becomes to reinterpreting the stress or anxious feeling, by channeling it as excitement and a challenge.
For instance if making a speech, generate positive feelings about communicating well, rather than attempting to calm the nerves down.
Mindfully Stand Erect
What standing erect upright does is naturally makes you feel more confident, while physiologically, what it’s doing is decreasing the levels of stress hormones in the body.
What’s known for certain, is those who are in a constant slouch posture while performing some type of high-pressure task, reports having more negative based feelings.
What studies show is standing erect in an upright posture, does is increases testosterone, while simultaneously decreasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
What this combination does is forces you to feel less anxious, while being more assertive and confident.
Clench Then Release Your Right Fist Several Times
What clenching your right hand does, is activates motion in the left side of the brain, which is known to be more verbal and logical thinking.
The right side of the brain, is more emotional and executive.
So when beginning to feel stress, fear, or anxiety, which are right brain functions, activate your left brain by clenching your right fist, which forces you to calm down.