Feel Good Friday Tip:
Stress & Deep Breathing Techniques
Stress is what we feel when we’re overworked, when we’re dreading something that’s about to happen or when we’re generally unable to relax and stay calm due to outside or inside factors influencing our thoughts.
But it actually goes beyond this. Stress is a basic physiological reaction that is designed to help us focus and survive. In itself it is not a bad thing and is actually rather adaptive. The problem is that it has been taken out of context, which means the positive effects become outweighed by the negative.
Essentially, stress is what causes the ‘fight or flight response’. This is a physiological response to perceived danger, designed to improve our chances of survival. If you were to see a lion for example, this would trigger a cascade of effects collectively resulting in the stress response.
This begins when we observe danger or experience fear.
Increased activity in our brain, causes the release of adrenaline, as well as our stress hormones. These then trigger a number of physiological changes: increasing our heartrate, making us breathe more quickly and making us more acutely focussed on the potential threat.
In the short term, this is good for us. These things help us to evade danger and win combative situations. Increased muscle tension makes us stronger. Increased blood viscosity makes our blood more likely to clot in case of an injury. Dilated pupils let more light in to improve our vision.
Suppression of secondary functions means that more blood can be sent to the muscles and the brain. Reduced pain means we can carry on fighting or running despite injury. In short, anything that can help you to survive is prioritised, while secondary functions are suppressed.
The idea is that once we get to safety, we can then turn off this fight or flight response and instead enter the ‘rest and digest’ state in order to recover. Once the predator is gone, we can recover. Complete read