I don’t know about you, but when I become triggered, upset, or stressed I
don’t think straight. In fact, I don’t think at all. When the anxiety takes
over, uncontrollable feelings rush through my body and just take over. Yes, I mean the fast heartbeat, the pressure in my head, the heat rising in my body, the tightness in my throat or chest, and a feeling like I will just explode and have to retaliate in some way.
These are signs of the Fight or Flight reaction. It means that the oxygen is not flowing evenly throughout the body and brain. The body ’s reaction is to become hypersensitive as it compensates by releasing increased hormones such as adrenaline and other chemicals to the areas that are needed to sustain the Fight or Flight reaction.
You will be in Fight when you become agitated, or verbally, emotionally, or physically, abusive or defend yourself. The Flight response is to literally run away from facing the flood of emotions or lack of safety that is being experienced. We either run away or just check out (addictive behavior) as we try to escape feeling the pain.
When the mind goes into reactionary mode, our defenses rise up quickly because on some level, we feel attacked and must defend or protect ourselves. The reactionary mode demands defenses that usually come through excuses, justifications, or reasons that are fueled by anger. The anger encourages action (usually not the type that isbeneficial). Similarly, the mind may say, “get me out of here”.
No matter what the trigger or stressor is, there is one thing that you can do that will immediately shift what is going on in your mind and body and profoundly shift your sense of safety, well-being, and calm.
When we are stressed and triggered we need an immediate shift of focus to support the de-escalation of reactionary behavior. Stress reactions start in the mind and soon invade the body to a point of sometimes being totally out of control. Does this happen to you? Can you relate?
By the way, I am not only referring to an acute upset. I am referring to long-term stress, as well. The kind that wakes you up in the night. The kind that you replay constantly in your mind and the discomfort in your body that keeps recurring over and over again. The stress that has you implanted deep in your mind planning and figuring and looking for the way out or relief from this continuous feeling of unrest.
Perhaps you hear repetitive thoughts that say, “I just can’t do this one more day.” or “I don’t want to do this anymore” or “There is no hope with this situation.”
Over time our coping skills become diminished and we lose sight of our capabilities and options.
The Disruptor works every time.
It’s simple in theory but much more challenging in practice. The good news is that it just takes awareness and focus on your part.
The solution is to just Breathe. Not just normal or regular breathing. When we
breathe automatically, 99+% of the time we have no awareness of how we are breathing.
The key is to focus on HOW you are breathing.
Slowing down the breath, being focused (mindful) on both the inhalation and the exhalation as described below will instantly shift thoughts (which are usually blown completely out of proportion).
Once the focus on the disruptive thought shifts to the breath the stress will instantly disappear because the mind can only focus on one thing at a time.
Here’s what you do. It doesn’t take much except awareness and willingness.
Once you’re aware of your agitation and discomfort (and this does take some doing) than just shift to: The Cycle of Five Breathing
- Breathe in through your nose very slowly to the count of 5
- Hold the breath at the top of your head to the slow count of 5
- Exhale twice as slowly through your mouth to the count of 5
- Repeat this pattern for 5 at least cycles (more is even better and if you choose not to
do 5 cycles do as many as you are willing)
- When thoughts arise, observe, ignore or just allow them. Do not follow them back
into stress. Watch them come and then disappear.
Shifting your focus and the slow rhythmic breathing moves more blood and oxygen, to all of the cells in the body, particularly the brain. This calming equalizing flow decreases the adrenaline and other chemicals and hormones that feed stress and decreases the Fight or Flight reaction.
Taking this action consistently will break the cycle of stress and you will discover a new way to address upsets and triggers. It does not matter how small or big the stress is.
Esateys ARNP/BC, is an Author, Mentor, Coach, Heartmath Certi1ed Trainer,
Certi1ed Master Facilitator, Certi1ed Hypnotherapist., and International Speaker.
Esateys regularly does individual 1 on 1 sessions and holds support and coaching
groups, workshops and retreats.
Contact Esateys at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to schedule an appointment.
503 630 3000