We have two parts of our Autonomic Nervous System: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic.
I dig this definition…
“The sympathetic nervous system, or the “fight or flight” response, prepares our body for action. All of the organs involved in getting ready for a physical challenge (“fight”) or preparing for a retreat (“flight”) are activated through this system. The parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”) helps produce a state of equilibrium in the body. Both are part of the greater Autonomic Nervous System, responsible for involuntary and reflexive functions in the body.”
Both responses have their place, but if we find ourselves constantly in “fight or flight” mode that can wreak havoc on our body.
You stressed? Shoot, I know I am.
So, how do we get out of this “fight” or “run” state when we don’t need to be?
Just chill man…
HA! I wish it was that easy.
But seriously, here we go…
I actually wanted to give you 3 ideas from 3 successful people I have come across over the last couple years (That makes me sound old) that I think will bring value to your life.
The first tip to implement is box breathing from Mark Divine. Mark is a former navy seal, turned entrepreneur who I highly recommend diving into his stuff. I would start with his book and podcast. But, this is a simple breathing technique that you can do when times of stress. Mindful, controlled breathing is a powerful way to calm the nerves.
How do you this breathing method? Like I said it is pretty easy.
Step 1: Sit straight up with good posture, relax your body and put your mind at ease.
Step 2: Find a quiet space, dim the lights and close your eyes.
Step 3: Breath in through your nose slowly counting to four, hold your breath for four seconds.
Step 4: Breathing out slowly, through the mouth for four seconds, for at least a couple sets, but preferably for 3-5 minutes.
The biggest focus when doing this breathing method is to make sure the breath doesn’t come from your chest, but through your stomach and diaphragm.
Founder of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, talks in her book, Thrive, on how to live in the moment. I know this necessarily isn’t about de-stressing, calming the mind, but I think her three points can help you get back down to a “resting” state.
Three basic, simple practices to live more in the moment:
1. Focus on the rising and falling of your breath for ten seconds whenever you feel tense, rushed, or distracted. This allows you to become fully present in your life.
2. Pick an image that ignites the joy in you. It can be of your child, a pet, the ocean, a painting you love – something that inspires a sense of wonder. And any time you feel contracted, go to it to help you expand.
3. Forgive yourself for any judgement you are holding against yourself and then forgive your judgement of others.
Then look at your life and the day ahead with newness and wonder.
And lastly, learn to be stoic. When life gets difficult or you feel like a situation is impossible learn to flip the switch and persevere. Focus on what you can control, let go of the rest, and turn each obstacle into an opportunity to improve. How do you become stoic? I highly recommend the book, The Obstacle is the Way, from Ryan Holiday. It is so good I promise you won’t put it down. After reading the book, when life throws me a curve ball instead of tensing up I have learned to turn bad into good and make the best of the situation and learn from it.
I am not going to lie, as I am finishing up this post I realized it really didn’t finish the way I intended at the start.
Honestly, I hope these three tidbits help you chill though. Until next time!