Stress knows no boundaries – it robs us of sleep, our health and happiness and drives us to make choices we often regret. The only way to defend our self against stress is to become smarter than stress.
Understanding how the stress response works gives us an advantage by allowing us to take proactive steps. The following three facts will help you think differently about stress and provide some direction for positive action
Your body doesn’t care if it’s a big stress or a little one.
The human body doesn’t discriminate between our frustrated response to a bad cell phone signal or the surge of fear triggered from a near miss on the freeway. Stress affects the body in very predictable ways. The fight or flight stress response begins with a cascade of 1,400 biochemical events in your body.
The best strategy for stress is to address it the moment it triggers.
Stress accumulates so addressing it in the moment helps to minimize the strain we put on our body, especially with the smaller irritations that are more manageable. The binge-and-purge approach, like waiting to decompress with an evening workout, extended weekend or vacation, may be too late. While these are great activities for overall life balance, learning to shift a stress reaction in the moment can significantly reduce the cumulative time our body spends in a state of fight or flight.
We can learn to retrain how we respond to stress.
We can learn to intercept our reactive responses to life challenges with emotion-refocusing techniques. They’re easy to learn and when practiced often, they can help us to re-pattern the older emotional habits and create a new baseline reference and response. They also help us increase our flexibility so we can remain resilient in the face of challenge. Start re-training your stress response with these simple strategies: Use the Notice and Ease™ tool from HeartMath. Practice being an observer of your inner responses. These simple steps help us become more attentive to the moment, and can also help us take the intensity out of emotions like worry or frustration.
- Notice and admit what you’re feeling.
- Try to name the feeling.
- Tell yourself to E-A-S-E as you gently focus in the heart, relax as you breath and e-a-s-e the stress out.
Reset with the Quick Coherence® Technique.
This simple technique can help you reset if you do lose your cool. As
you follow the steps you learn to create what is called heart-coherence,
a psychophysiological state where your mind, emotions and body become
more balanced. It’s an excellent tool to use when you begin feeling
frustration, irritation, anxiety or even anger. When we are more
balanced we’re also less likely to react in the first place.
Get a mobile trainer for your purse or pocket.
There are personal technologies that are highly effective for
retraining your response to stress. They work by providing personalized
visual feedback combined with the coherence-building techniques. This
method of retraining your stress reactions works to create a new
baseline allowing us to see, feel and confirm when an emotional shift
happens. Two of the more widely used of these technologies are the
emWave2® and the Inner Balance™ transformation systems.
We really can influence how much we allow stressful circumstances to
affect us – and with a little direction and personal commitment we can
change our response to stress.
Your Friends at HeartMath