Stress is not what happened to you, but how you perceived it. These words belong to the famous Canadian physiologist Hans Selye, who introduced the very definition of stress, defining it as emotional stress caused by external influences.
There are positive and negative stress, short-term and long-term. The most dangerous is long-term negative stress. For comparison, the stress that you received from a brick flying past is not as destructive for the psyche as the stress that you experience every time you go to a hated job or return home in the evening to your unloved husband. Some develop distress – a condition accompanied by an unwillingness to get up in the morning, irritability, malaise, weakness, inability to rest.
In this article, we will not delve into the discussion of distress, since it is better to work on this issue with a psychologist. You can even find a suitable specialist online.
Let’s talk about five easy ways to quickly come to your senses and take control of your emotions in a stressful situation.
What if you are stressed?
We are all individuals and the manifestations of stress can be different, but there are common symptoms: muscle tension, rapid heart rate and shortness of breath, sweaty palms, dry mouth. The reason for this condition is that during stress, the body produces certain hormones that help to act quickly and at the limit of its capabilities. When people lived in caves and ran away from mammoths, this feature of the body could literally save lives. If, after the stress experienced, certain actions are not followed for the “splash” of hormones, the person experiences a state similar to a hangover.
How to prevent such consequences? The easiest way is to lower the degree of emotions:
Say to yourself out loud: “Stop”, “Stop”, “Stop”. You can find any other word, but it is important to say it in a confident voice and in the form of an order. This method is also called Self-order. The sound of your own voice is known to reduce stress.
Describe, and preferably aloud, what you are feeling right now. Example: “I am angry / I am scared / I am offended.”
Concentrate on your breathing. Start breathing in your belly – this reduces the excitability of the nerve centers. If possible, sit down and inhale with your stomach in four counts, then hold your breath for four counts, then, for a count of six, slowly exhale. Repeat the exercise for a few minutes.
Shift your attention from the situation or object that provokes stress to any object. For example, a notebook, a flower on a windowsill, a vase, a pen. Describe the features of this item in great detail, color, shape, texture, smell, defects, purpose. Switching to cognitive function helps to reduce the degree of emotion.
Listen to your body. Relax tense muscles of the body and face, breathe (we discussed how to breathe correctly above). Concentrate on your sensations – how your heart beats, what sensations are in your arms and legs, gradually relax each muscle with an effort of will.
In conclusion, we recall that stress itself can even be beneficial, for example, it helps to group, collect thoughts and take active action. Long-term stress is dangerous, which is exhausting and depriving.
Every day we have to deal with situations that provoke stress, so it is important to learn how to properly respond to them. It must be said that the response to stress is laid in early childhood, so the best thing we can do for our children is to show by our example how to properly respond to stress, live life ecologically, taking care of ourselves and others.