Once the fight or flight part of your brain is activated, it can take hours to recover, unless you can short circuit this response before it fully releases all of its stress hormones. 1
- You must immediately be aware that fight or flight is kicking in. To do this, it helps to identify your common triggers. For helpful tips on identifying your triggers, check out Identifying Your External Stressors.
Once you have identified the situations that push you over the edge, try to zero in on the thought response that follows. This negative string of thoughts and words is usually filled with illogical ideas that can be labeled, defused, and discarded. 2
- Plan your response before hand. If you don't have a clearly defined pathway out of the fog, you will quickly be enveloped, and your old negative habits of thought, speech, and action will take over.
The Clear Button
Don Joseph Goewey, author of The End Of Stress, an effective method of stopping the stress response. He calls it "The Clear Button." https://theendofstressbook.com/signup/
This technique is very simple and only takes a few seconds. You press your thumb into the center of the palm of your other hand. Then you imagine a connection directly to your brain (the amygdala). Next, take three deep slow breaths. During each breath, think of a different color.
Five Finger Reset
This is a technique that is just a bit more complex, but more powerful in my opinion. You pick five words that will help you deflate the stress response. Each word correlates to a finger.
On the bottom inside corner of your fingernails are pressure points. Starting with your thumb press on the pressure point of each finger as you say each word. If you want to increase the impact, then breath in on the first three words and out on the last two words. Take your time and don't rush the process. If you are able, close your eyes as you reset your brain, and your amygdala falls back asleep.
Breathing in: Peace (thumb) Be (index) Still (middle)
Breathing out: I'm (ring) Loved (pinky)
This one needs to be prearranged with your loved ones. But you'd be amazed at how different you can feel if you quickly exit the room and take a walk around the block. If however, you wait too long before you exit, it may already be too late, and you may end up ruminating around the block with negative thoughts. 3
- Practice. Once you decide on your plan of action, you must memorize it and practice. Just as elementary schools continue doing their fire drills, so they are ready for the real deal, you must go through the motions to prep your mind for evasive maneuvers. 4
- Proactively work on reducing your overall levels of stress. Get outside and get some sunshine. Exercise regularly. Renew your mind with good thoughts. Play. Laugh. By reducing your overall levels of stress, you have increased levels of tolerance, and more of a buffer around your emotional responses. This helps keep your mind clearer when navigating stormy situations.
If you have any methods that work well for you, please share in the comment boxes below.