“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”
~ Bryant Gill
Challenging day? Just relax. I know it’s the last thing you want to hear when you’re stressed to the max, but hear me out. Stress increases heart rate and blood pressure, and causes agitation and loss of focus, so you won’t get through it if you keep fighting it.
The good news is, you have access to a simple stress management hack that only takes moments to implement, but can reap worthwhile benefits. Want to know what it is?
I share it in the 2-minute video below, so give it a watch or read the transcript that follows, then pause … and plan for less stress and more success.
Hey, Michelle Cederberg here sharing a simple approach for these crazy times that will help you override stress and do the freakin’ work.
When you’re stressed, your sympathetic nervous system triggers the release of adrenalin and cortisol, which causes increased heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. Your pupils dilate, blood rushes from your gut to the working muscles, and blood sugar levels rise. This is the fight-or-flight response and it can save your life in a dangerous situation, but it’s not helpful if you’re just navigating a stressful day. Stress triggers impulsive reactions to everyday conditions, so, in effect, it destroys willpower, and impacts your ability to conquer those goals.
According to Kelly McGonigal, author of The Willpower Instinct, when stress is high, you can cultivate more self-control through a pause-and-plan response, noticing your usual reactions and intentionally choosing a more empowered one. McGonigal notes that to incite willpower, your brain needs to bring your body on board with your goals and halt the impulses that typically drag you off track.
One of the most powerful ways to do this is to meditate. Meditation activates and thickens your prefrontal cortex, boosting brain power.
Even short bouts of meditation are beneficial. Simply sit quietly with your eyes closed for a few minutes and breathe naturally. If you want the help of a meditation app, a few of my favourites are Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer.
No time to meditate? Just breathe slowly wherever you are. Consciously slow your breath to four counts in and four counts out. Increase the count to six if you can. Doing so boosts your sense of calm and self-control and allows you to respond more mindfully to difficult situations.
Exercise also boosts self-control, and your brain doesn’t really care what type you do, as long as you’re moving. If you simply begin with a short walk three times per week, you’ll reap the benefits. Get present to your goal, then pause and plan your way to success.
Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you, you’ve got one chance to do this life, I say Dare to Live It Big, and when you’re stressed, dare to try this simple tip backed by science and common sense.
Hey… if you’d like to bring me in to your organization to talk about this topic or any others related to stress management, resilience and post-pandemic success, pop me an email at email@example.com. I’d love to chat.
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Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc