Do you know how to make stress exciting?
Heard there’s a possibility you may be stressed…
Well I’m a positive psychology life coach and I’m here to help.
That ridiculous job title doesn’t mean I don’t have stress in my life.
I stress out every time I have to explain what a life coach is.
But less about me and more about how I can help you look at stress in a new way and learn to manage it better
WHAT IS STRESS REALLY?
Stress is just energy
On a physiological level stress is simply a hormonal reaction. A bit like digestion. We don’t need to fear it.
Stress has a sweet spot
In its sweet spot stress makes you alert, increases motivation, boosts memory, boosts concentration.
In its not so sweet spot, we all know what happens - headaches, chest pain, fatigue, sleep problems. You feel unmotivated, overwhelmed, irritable, or depressed. And the common effects of stress on your behavior are - overeating or under-eating, angry outbursts, social withdrawal, and exercising less often, which is obviously the opposite of what you need.
So where’s the sweet spot?
Well, I find this bit FASCINATING.
Stress, what we feel as stress, is adrenalin.
How is it released? How does it know when to flood our body- it doesn’t speak English, it can't see the ugliness of the commute.
Well, locus ceruleus is the part in our brain that releases it, and it has a remarkable quality.
It’s highly sensitive to the amount of carbon dioxide in our blood.
Since the way you breathe determines the carbon-dioxide levels in your blood, shallow breaths increase CO2.
And how aware are you of your breath? Not so much- it’s mostly on cruise control, right?
But we need to be aware of it because when we’ve suddenly been given lots of work, chased for a deadline, lost a presentation, you start to breath shallower and this triggers the adrenalin release.
You can reach that sweet spot by a well-proven low-cost method
Breathing. Super low-cost.
Simply by breathing you can decrease the adrenalin in your body to that sweet spot.
Stress is the same energy as excitement
The bodily symptoms of excitement and stress are identical.
The only way we know which emotion we are experiencing is by the context and the thought we have about this context.
So think to when you’re at a football game, or watching a thriller – these are highly ‘stressful’ situations. You’ve got exactly the same adrenalin pumping through your body, but your thoughts are on excitement not stress.
And this is the main thing to understand.
It’s how you code it that makes the difference
So when you’re at work and you get some new information, and start breathing shallower, releasing adrenalin, you’re reading that as stress.
How? What you’re doing now is bringing up the memory of how horrible it was last time this happened, and you’re not settling down your stress levels, you’re jacking them up.
“This means I have to work late. Work is going to be miserable for weeks. I probably won’t sleep. I need a drink asap.”
What you need to do is stop looking to your past to bring in the same negative emotions into the present.
Instead, think of possible benefits.
For example: “This is a great opportunity to work out new strategies/ to work with new people/ to learn something new. It’s just work, it’ll pass.”
There ARE benefits to every situation. So dig deep and find them.
What if I didn’t read any of this and just skipped to the bottom?
Then all you need to do next time you feel your adrenalin rise is:
- Breath in for 5 counts, and out for 5 counts
- Repeat 5 times
- Notice what thoughts you’re having about the perceived stressor
- Turn those negative into believable positives
- Practice because you’ve had a life-time of thinking negatively, and positive thinking is like riding a bike for the first time. It feels awkward, but you’ll get the hang of it.
As always, if you need help, in particular a positive psychology coach...ahem...you know where to find me.