It is natural to feel more stressed when our day-to-day lives are disrupted. And feeling stressed can lead us to do things that can ultimately move us farther from our goals.
Thousands of years ago, when humans encountered dangers – like a bear chasing them in the woods – our bodies would release hormones that sent us into a “fight or flight” response. This quickens our heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing to help us run away or fight so we could stay safe. Even though present day stressors look quite different, our bodies still respond in the same way we did thousands of years ago. It’s also important to recognise that stress is a natural response, how you deal with it is a separate issue, and is often a similar reaction to getting excited.
- Stress hormones can increase our appetite, especially for foods higher in fat and sugar.
- High levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, can lead our bodies to store more body fat, especially around our abdomens.
- Studies show that practicing mindfulness regularly can help “quiet” the part of our brain that activates our stress response.
Mindfulness techniques can help us reduce our body’s response to stress by keeping us grounded in the present. Mindful breathing or meditation are 2 great techniques, there are hundreds of free apps available, just google it.
There is also a new strategy.
It’s the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. This is a mindfulness technique that we can use as soon as we notice stress creeping in. This technique is easy to practice anywhere. I’m going to walk you through the steps so we can practice it together right now. You can also find the steps on the Weekly.
Are you sitting comfortably, are you ready?
- Take a deep breath – in and out. Look around the room and name five things you can see. (WAIT)
- Keep breathing and now pinpoint four things you can physically feel. (WAIT)
- Now, take a moment to listen. You may even want to close your eyes. List three things you can hear (WAIT)
- Now, take another deep breath. Notice two items you can smell. (WAIT)
- Lastly, notice one thing you can taste. (WAIT)
- Now take one last deep breath.
How do you feel? How is that similar or different to how you felt before?
This technique will ground you in the now rather than things that have happened in the past or could happen in the future
Consider when you could use this technique and the benefits it could give you. An easy way to remember it is 5,4,3,2,1.
Make a note to remind yourself to try this technique the next time you feel stressed .