Now that you’ve researched and downloaded the tools you need to help reduce stress in your life, like the tools in my Lunchtime Reboot, you’re all set to let go of all that stress. You’ve read about the methods to see how they work and you’ve listened to the audios (promising to actually practice them when you really need them) and now you just wait for a stressful situation and pull them out of the toolbox, right? This is going to be great!
Um…well, that’s not the best way to be successful in relieving stress. Here’ the first thing you need to know about relieving stress in your life: you actually need to commit to practice these methods at least once each day, before a crisis, so that you become an overall calmer person who no longer reacts in the same old ways when the proverbial $&@% hits the fan.
Let’s talk about what happens when stress strikes. Maybe the boss walks to our desk and tosses a folder down, saying “We need to talk.” Or asks if a project is on schedule and within budget and we already know it’s neither. Our heart rate increases, digestion slows, our immune system is weakened, and our thinking creative brain goes offline. We go into a fight, flight, or freeze reaction to the stress. Our body releases stress hormones to deal with the perceived threat, which is normal and simply meant to protect us.
But while we’re in that state, our responses and answers are not their best. Our ability to think and make a quick decision is hampered, adding further stress. This is hardly the time to pull out a new tool to try to relieve stress, even if we could remember those tools at that stressful moment! And when stressful situations happen daily, we are awash in the stress hormones and that takes its toll on our physical and emotional selves. So, what can we do???
We can commit to learn and practice our tools early and often, at least once each day, starting today. We can get so good at practicing these tools that they soon become second nature to us. With regular practice, some of these tools, such as breathing techniques to bring calm, may even start automatically in a stressful situation. We’ve given our body a new tool to help us self-regulate our reactions. Other tools, when practiced regularly, help make us more resilient and less reactive to stressful situations overall, so the fight, flight or freeze reaction doesn’t kick in. We stay calm, confident and in control of the situation, no matter what the boss throws at us. We replace our typical reactions with better ones, which takes rehearsal!
Don’t wait until you’re facing the boss to practice stress relief techniques. Be prepared in advance so that when the time comes, you’re ready! Questions? I’m here.
Keep Calm and Tap On!