Stress was develop to save our lives, to help us in dealing with threatening situations by activating our flight/fight response. We all know that most likely we won’t need to run away from a tiger nowadays, and yet we are constantly telling our bodies we are in danger.
In normal circumstances, when we feel stressed we start what is called the “stress response cycle”. (1) Our body is triggered, then we (2) send a signal to our brain that something is not right. After that, (3) our brain tells our body we need to fight or escape this dangerous situation, which in our modern lifestyle can be from folding the laundry to be stuck in traffic.
Our heart rate starts to increase, our stomach becomes upset, and we start to feel anxious (4). The last stage of the stress response cycle would be to release that stress after the threat has passed (5). BUT WE DON’T DO that. We start trying to cope with stress consuming psychoactive drugs, alcohol, constantly checking our phones, mindless media, and throwing ourselves into work. These coping mechanisms actually further activate the physiological stress responses in your body, causing us to stay in a hyper-aroused state, thus leading to more stress.
So, how can we break down the stress cycle (according to scientific research done by Drs. Emily & Amelia Nagoski)
1- Physical exercise. Every day exercise, from 30 min, can help you to break down the stress response cycle.
2- Crying, laughing, hugging for at least 20 seconds. I invite you from now on to stop saying sorry when you cry. You can thank your body instead for being so wise. And please hug your dog for me.
3- Self-expression. This can be dance, painting, making music. Art can help us to express big feelings, so what is YOUR way of expressing it?
Which of those 3 tools do you use in your daily life?