How much pressure are you feeling right now?
In a world that’s topsy turvy, you might be feeling the squeeze from all sides.
Deadlines at work.
Demands at home.
It can all add up.
We know that when we’re feeling the strain, we can go into ‘fight or flight’, the body’s natural response to feeling unsafe. Our ability to think straight goes off-line – essentially, because our brain is designed to make quick decisions, not good ones. So we say things we don’t mean. Or avoid things we wish we hadn’t.
We know ‘fight or flight’ has a purpose though. It’s there to keep us safe and help us burn off the adrenaline and cortisol that floods our body when we feel under threat. But because it’s not always possible – or appropriate – to run away or fight, the stress stays in the body; that can take its toll, especially when challenges are constant. Thankfully, we can do something about it. In their book Burnout, Emily and Amelia Nagoski explain why it’s so important we find ways to discharge it.
This week, maybe set the intention to Complete the Cycle. The stress response has a trigger at one end, and resolution at the other – it’s essential we find ways to reach the end of the cycle, so that we don’t get stuck. Here are some simple steps you can try, adapted from the Nagoski’s and this video by James Victore:
1) Breathe. We know when we are stressed our breathing becomes dysregulated, so focusing on the breath can help it feel more under our control. Extending the exhale (breathing out for longer) can also activate the relaxation response. 2) Practice to Respond. Build your awareness of your go-to coping strategies and then plan for a better response for next time you feel the overwhelm (see next point) 3) Move. Hug. Cry. Rest. We know that movement can help complete the stress cycle – even a dance around your kitchen – but where that’s not possible a good cry or seeking safety in the form of a long hug (about 20 seconds) can also help. Sleep is also essential – it really can be the best medicine. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, a technique like mindfulness might help.
For an expanded version of Monday Mojo™ straight to your inbox, which includes access to free resources, click here
Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021