Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Did you know that we can experience 3 types of stress?
Acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress.
Maybe you now think... 🤔 Isn't there also something like positive stress?
Yes, there is! and that is actually called "excitement".
Stress is a response to (perceived) danger and is activating the sympathetic nerve to take action.
You could say stress is the response to the pressure we experience.
The most toxic one is chronic stress and by the way, episodic acute stress can become chronic if not treated properly.
Pitifully, chronic stress has become the norm in today's society, and it's not a small issue, to say the least.
Chronic stress causes a dysfunctioning neo-cortex (our logical thinking brain in control about what we think) as our Gut Brain is feeling endangered 24/7 and is therefore mobilizing the amygdala and the hippocampus.
What happens then, is that our Sympathetic Nerve is constantly sending signals to the body to be alert and our hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, our central stress response system, becomes imbalanced.
Result: All of a sudden, minor things feel stressful. Our “nerves have worn thin”.
We’re impatient, frazzled and easily agitated, and our mind is running in overdrive to find solutions.
When it comes to enjoy life or having performance, there are really only two states that you ever want to be in:
Calm and alert.
It is also called "the flow state" or nowadays wrongfully a "mindfulness state".
The difference is that when we are in flow we are simultaneously calm and hyper-focused, and when we are in "mindfulness state" we are just calm.
So, how do we stay in these calm and focused states in this hyperactive and fearful world we live in?
Well, there are different techniques to deal with stress, also depending on what kind of stress you are experiencing. We categorize them in 4 groups:
Techniques that reduce the stress response once it’s been activated.
Techniques that raise your ceiling on what we perceive as stress.
Techniques that bring your energy up, when we feel down.
And there are long lasting solutions to enhance your resilience.
Let's have a look to three of them.
From group 1 (technique 1 & 2) and group 2 (technique 3)
Technique 1 - create stress to reduce stress!
I hear you thinking: - "what 😳 🤔?"
To stop the chronic stress we endeavor ourselves in a sharp intense stress.
By doing so, the body thinks that the chronic stress is the same as the sharp intense stress, and when we stop the latter, the former also stops.
It is essential that the sharp intense stress we apply, is the one that works.
In order to do so, there are 3 extremely successful techniques:
An intense workout. 5-15 min max and your heart beat above 80%. As an example: Do 50 lunches, 50 pushups, 50 crunches without rest inbetween or 10 of each - if that is your number - and than redo the cycle for 3-5 times.
Dance and sing for 5-10 minutes (happy and really dance song)
An ice bath or cold shower for 2 minutes.
To soothe your chronic stress, make sure to engage in these intense acute stress regularly.
On warning: If you’re tired as result of a terrible night of sleep(s) or have a lower immune system as having a cold, be careful.
Then putting your body in more stress can tip your immune system over the edge and you could become sick.
Technique 2 - Let's breath the full lung exposure
Our lungs are directly connected to our Autonomic Nerve System and every inhale activates our Sympathetic Nerve System (stress) and the exhale activates the Dorsal Vagal Nerve (immobilization and relaxation).
Using our breath it’s something we use to mitigate the stress response after it’s already been activated.
You’ll want to use this right after you feel a surge of stress, such. as when you need to do an important presentation, you have to tell bad news, you are nervous because of ...
Here’s how it works:
Take a long, deep breath in through your nose. When it feels like you can’t breath any more air in, swallow and exhale without force, and do this 5 - 10 times.
Just give it a go right now.
What will happen is that by the swallowing you active a part of parasympathetic branch of the nervous system and the 100% full inhale and relaxed exhale overwrites the sympathetic fight and flight response.
Technique 3 - Reframe stress to excitement (from Gut to Heart Brain)
A context reframe is a change in the perspective on how we look to a situation, when we consider the same behaviour in a different context or situation. By doing so, we change the interpretation into a more useful one.
How does it work?
Ask yourself: “What is the benefit of this pressure ? , What could I learn from this?, How would I benefit from this? How could I get exited about this? "
Research shows that when people told themselves they liked the feeling of stress, they were alleviated from the physical symptoms of stress.
Even more unbelievable results of reframing! 😃: People who experienced a high level of stress throughout their life, and had a view on life that stress is a sign of growth and expansion, had lower mortality rates than people who experienced less overall stress, but viewed it as a bad thing!
The takeaway is that the “reframe” helps you to color your experience, the meaning of the situation (pressure) and by doing so, you reduce the impact of the activating factor (stress).
As an example we have the popular saying: "this is not stress but a challenge".
View the stress you’re dealing with as something that’s helping you grow, and it will!
It may sound a little self-helpy but it works.
I know there is more to the story and that is for another time.
All super easy to do and very helpful and successful.
Just do it when you feel an uptick in stress.
That’s it for now! And please feel free to share this with your friends and on your social media.
PS - Say you like to know more: just connect with me, I love to help you.
PPS - I am working on a program about stress and resilience, so if you are interested there is more to come.