Chronic stress undermines our immune system, our health, our relationships – our wellbeing.
We all experience things in life that can trigger stress responses – from the thoughts we think to painful memories we revisit, confronting interactions with others, trauma, anger, frustration, inner conflict, worry, grief.
The good news is, we don’t have to be victims of our reactions.
When it comes to stress management skills, the 90 Second Rule can change your life.
it only takes 90 seconds to release stress
When a person has a stressful reaction to something, hormones are flushed through the body, which puts it on full alert.
But neuroanatomist Dr Jill Bolte found that it takes less than 90 seconds for those chemicals to totally flush out of your body.
If the initial reaction continues, it’s because the person is keeping the cycle alive by adding their thoughts to the event.
And that’s good news!
let go of stress with gentle deep breathing
The opposite of stress is relaxation.
You can learn to relax your body by consciously breathing into your belly and shifting your focus.
When you experience a stress reaction – stop – and for 90 seconds practice gentle deep breathing.
Close your eyes.
Open your jaw slightly.
Drop your shoulders.
Relax your hands.
Gently wiggle your toes.
Inhale to the count of four through your nostrils.
Exhale to the count of four through your nostrils.
Become aware of what’s happening in your body as you breathe deeply and gently into your belly.
Notice anywhere you’re holding tension and let it go with each breath.
Feel the tension leave your body as you exhale.
shift your focus stress buster
After 90 seconds of deep conscious breathing – if you continue to feel stressed – you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking – the ones that are triggering your emotions and physiological response.
And then you need to think about something else every single time those thoughts pop into your mind.
Repeatedly shifting your mental focus will help you create new neural pathways.
When you take your attention away from your old habits of thinking, they eventually fall away.
‘My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientists Personal Journey,’ by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor is a book worth reading. Or listen to her talks on YouTube. They are fascinating.
If you have never practised deep breathing, have a look at YouTube video Deep Breathing Exercises for Beginners by physiotherapist Michelle Kenway.