When we experience something negative in life this can tip us over of our natural comfort levels, making the ‘teacup’ overflowing and we cannot see how to stop it pouring. We are merely, reacting to the unpleasant bodily sensations we encounter for example, physical sensations like increased heart rate, the chemical changes making us feel angry or the psychological influences that manifest as a headache.
Unfortunately, with modern life we have many stressful encounters, our problem is that we do not know how to process them effectively which then can lead our bodies into a chronic ‘fight and flight’ mode. If we ignore what our stressors are this could influence our behaviours and likely lead to mental health problems like, anxiety or feeling loss of control. Most of us have programmed ourselves to actively ignore these signals because we are too busy or are not ready to deal with the cause of the stress. This can cause more tension in the body than the original stressful event.
A great analogy is, ‘like a child, they stop acting out when we give them attention they crave’.
Therefore, these 5 steps to feel stress free could prevent your body going into a chronic state of ‘fight and flight’
- Take a minute to breathe, sounds simple but when we are stressed, we can breathe too quickly. So, breathe in through your nose for 7 seconds, hold for 7 seconds before breathing out through your nose.
- If you can, then come up with your solution. Let your brain have time to process it, think about it and then put something into action.
- Be proud of yourself that you didn’t needlessly ‘react’ to the situation and reinforce this with doing something that makes you happy, exercising, singing, reading, colouring, meditating, take a hot bath, baking. These will all help your vagal tone (a nerve in the brain that helps control signals to your organs).
- Ask yourself if the stress solution within your control or you may need to ask for help, this could be from a professional health care (Gp, support group) or discussing it with a friend or family member. Talking the problem through can be very useful and you may get that ‘light bulb’ moment you’ve been wanting.
- Take breaks during the day, if you’re working step away from your computer during your lunch break. Reduce your screen time in the evenings, especially work emails and phones. This could help you be calmer when you go to bed, this way you’ll aim to get a good night sleep. Tomorrow’s another day.