How to manage our response to stress
What is Stress?
Stress is a physiological response to the environment, mental and/or emotional experience that is usually expressed in fight or flight and induces the hormone cortisol and adrenaline which are produced from the adrenal glands. While these are good and normal in a life and death situation or a traumatic event. When the body is in the prolonged state of fight or flight, these very hormones begin to work against the body. Cortisol slows the digestive system as well as depresses our immune system and adrenaline gets our heart rate and blood pressure elevated. If you find yourself being sick more often than usual or having hypertension, it is very possible that you have been in a stressed state of being for an extended period.
How does the body and mind get stuck in a prolonged state of stress? What do you think?
When worry becomes a habit and thoughts are formed in an obsessive pattern of fear, worry, distress. This occurs when something was said or happened, and the situation was not resolved within self. It also happens by way of friends, family, media – societal conversation about how hard, stressful, painful life is. Stress is the thing to be avoided at all costs. People become fixated on it and get anxious about it. The inner dialogue changes from that is not so bad, to how am I ever going to get through this, finish this, its so painful, look what he or she did.
Does your mind fixate this way?
What is something that causes you stress or that you are stressed out about all the time?
What are your thoughts around that?
How does it feel in your body? Where does it live in your body?
Take a moment and 2 or 3 nice deep breathes and listen to your thoughts and feel into your body – where does it feel tight, where is there pain? Do you possibly feel any rigidity?
I know I can easily get caught up in the heaviness of stress. When I do, I have constant headaches, I am exhausted, I feel constantly behind the ball and like I am drowning – there is no way out!
Do you have an idea where I am going with this yet? It is my belief through working with hundreds of people that stress is not about our normal physiological response to a danger as it once was and how our mind and body is design. It is an internal conversation, a mindset, a belief. It has become a societal thing as our advancements that are to make life easier seem to make it harder. Stress has become a multi-million-dollar industry! What are we taught or told about stress? Listen to how people speak & listen to how you speak.
For instance, I still have an internal conversation around time and it is one of the two statements: “I have no relationship with time” or “I don’t have enough time” both cause me to get tense inside and my mind either freezes or I go into hyper speed and make mistakes that I should not have. Each time, I catch myself, I can make a shift and become more relaxed and focus. A simple shift in my conversation makes BIG changes!
I have an amazing relationship with time, or I am impeccable with time. I have plenty of time to accomplish this task, by setting a timeline, I can complete the task with ease.
BOOM! Instant shift, breathing easy, feeling confident! It really is that easy to shift perception to shift a reaction, to shift attitude, beliefs. Re-framing is so incredibly simple yet, it is so often ignored! Getting so caught up in the silly story in the mind and having big reactions to that story. It is so beautiful to me that in an instant – literally, mood, thoughts, ideas can be shifted with a simple reframe.
My challenge to you is:
Do you dare spend a week being consciously aware?
Each time, a “stressful thought” creeps across the mind – will you reframe it?
Each time, stopping taking in a deep breath with a full exhale – shift from freak out to I got this?
Are you down for the dare? If so, post in the comments below “dare accepted” and keep a journal of each time, stress monster came in to steel your joy and you squashed it with a reframe. Journal what was the stress monster and what was the reframe. How you felt before and after?
Together lets transform stress from being a terrifying monster to a generous gift of opportunity!