Managing Stress Is Probably Our Greatest Challenge Today

The human stress response (fight or flight) kicks into action when we feel out of control, or a sense of danger (real or imagined).

Over the past few months, we’ve watched the Corona Virus, COVID-19 spread around the world. Government measures have been put in place without our consent. People have lost their jobs, parents are homeschooling, people are sick and dying and we don’t yet have a vaccine.  All of this leads to fear, anxiety and stress.

Stress can have a huge negative impact on our health, morale, work and finances.

As human beings, we often use alcohol, binge eating, shopping or TV escapism, as coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, all of these lead to irritability, worry, insomnia and eventually ‘burn out’. The term ‘burn out’ was originally coined by Professor Christina Maslach of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVlL9TnvphA

I’m not going to reiterate this, instead, I’m going to focus on solutions, ways to deal with stress. Obviously, we all know the importance of a healthy diet, water, sleep and exercise.  But this alone is not enough because even athletes and astronauts who follow strict plans of nutrition, exercise, water and sleep still get stressed. So how do they cope with the unknown and plough ahead to success?

They learn specific psychological techniques to de-stress, build resilience and feel empowered.

Empowerment means meeting the challenge of stress head-on and doing something positive about it.  Athletes and Astronauts learn how to convert stress into positive energy.  Their training ensures that they regulate their emotions and constructively harness the stress response.  This ability to enter into a deeply relaxing state is something we can all learn.

Neuroscientists discovered that our brains continue to produce new cells throughout our whole life. When we think and imagine things for long enough, we actually change the structure of our brain.

Dr Norman Doidge, author of  The Brain That Changes Itself 

wrote, “our brains change structure and function in response to the environment, as we imagine things, which is quite extraordinary.”  In relation to stress, he says, “neurons that fire together, wire together.”

In other words, the more we experience states of stress, the more neuron fibres will wire together in bundles that create pathways or circuits for that way of thinking, feeling and behaving. Regular thinking states create lasting neural traits.

This explains why we struggle to rid ourselves of unwanted habits even though we know they are bad for us. It also explains why we struggle to adopt new ways of thinking and acting in response to our worry and stress.

The good news is, this can change!  Through guided practise, we can deliberately and purposefully create new neural pathways that build resilience. The growth of these pathways is called neurogenesis and it opens up huge possibilities. The benefits are endless.

If you’d like to learn how to develop calm, controlled decision making; find cognitive clarity, focus and peak performance in all areas of your life let me know and I will show you how.

Book your free call here : https://annemckeown.com/contact/


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