How many times have you made a decision and then a regretted it a short time later? This could be during a meeting, writing an email or a heated debate with a colleague.
Why does this happen? How can your brain go from being in high performance to shut down within a blink of an eye? The reason is stress, but don’t worry it's not your fault, blame your cave man brain.
YOU ARE RUNNING ON AN ANCIENT OPERATING SYSTEM:
Modern day life creates moments of acute stress. This can be anything from being late for work, running for a bus, missing the train, arguing with your loved one or even opening an email from your boss. Although these things seem part of life and we just except them, our ancient part of our brain from our ancestors can’t differentiate these small brief stress encounters with life-threatening ones.
So why is this important to making bad decisions?
When you start to think, you turn to a part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex. This is what enables us to solve problems and come up with rational solutions to problems we face on a daily basis.
When we have moments of acute stress another part of our brain the Limbic Amygdala (the ancient part designed to save us and keep us alive) kicks into action. It doesn’t know the difference between you arguing with your loved one or your boss saying “I need that proposal within the hour” and simply throws you into survival mode. It's DOING ITS JOB.
Your Amygdala does only what it thinks is best for you and puts you into “Fight or Flight” kicking in a whole load of hormones designed to make you run faster, attack or flee. It also shuts down other parts of the brain that won't be effective right now while you are dealing with this threat. And guess what..this includes your prefrontal cortex. Your Amygdala tells that part of your brain to keep quite while it runs the show……YOUR DECISIONS MAKING SKILLS HAVE JUST BEEN SHUT DOWN.
….in that moment you have sent the email, said yes to that deadline, shouted at your colleague, stated the wrong point during the meeting, called your partner an idiot or put your middle finger up at the driver that cut you up. This is all down to something that if we don’t get a handle on controls us physically and emotionally.
YOU HAVE TO UPGRADE YOUR NETWORK:
Imagine you have a road network in your brain that connects the different areas. Now, imagine that when you have a stressful moment your brain takes the same road over and over again that end up at the same place –stress. What if we could change those roads? What if we could send our thoughts down a different road different direction to one that ends up bypassing our ancient brain, and focuses on targeting the thinking part?
For this blog, we are going to focus on an easy technique that you can do anywhere and anytime. I use this technique when:
I am about to deliver a presentation
Had a stressful day at work and want to walk in my house with a calm mind
Whenever I feel overrun and overworked.
When I am about to start writing an important email
When I am in a meeting and want to remain focused
BOX BREATH – when you feel stressed reset your system by using the box breath. Easy to do and you can do it anywhere.
Sitting upright, slowly exhale, getting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Focus on this intention and be conscious of what you’re doing.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. In this step, count to four very slowly in your head. Feel the air fill your lungs, one section at a time until your lungs are full and the air moves into your abdomen.
Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen. Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs.
Hold your breath for the same slow count of four before repeating this process.
You will notice after doing this you feel instantly calmer and settled. You will feel lighter and that the energy has shifted from that
Give this technique a go for at least 5 days and try to be open minded .If you know someone that suffers from stress please share this with them so that they can understand why it happens.I find the main part of getting to grips with stress is understanding why happens and that we can control how our body reacts to it.People except being stressed out as a way of life, but trust me, as someone who used to get stressed out about everything simply not the case. You can change this pattern if you have the mindset and dedication to change it.
If you would like help managing your stress and getting out of the repetitive cycle of stress from a holistic perspective PM me and get involved with one of my 12-week programmes.
Holistic Health Coach and Bulletproof Performance Coach
LIFE DOESN’T GET EASIER OR MORE FORGIVING – WE GET STRONGER AND MORE RESILIENT