31 Aug Lions, tigers and my daughter – Oh my!
Can you think back to a time you were really stressed?
I can! It was this one time I was up against a sabre tooth tiger! Black eyes glaring at me, fangs exposed, its loud roar imminent and the saliva dripping from its tongue ready to gnaw into my neck. It was terrifying and my body instantly took on a state of fear, anxiety and stress.
Luckily for me, the tiger I was up against was my 2 year old toddler ready to battle me because it was time for her afternoon nap. Its funny though, because now that I am more aware of how my body responds to stress I understand now that my response to such stress would be similar as if I was really up against a tiger. My body will go into that fight or flight response, one which makes your heart rate increase, breath shallow, sweaty and basically like your blood is boiling.
Now that I am tuned into how my body responds to stress I feel like I understand how I can use stress to channel better performance, opportunity for personal growth and see it as a sign to take action to make a change. I have spent much time recently evaluating my life and understanding what causes my stress. And I can not change my daughter’s toddler behaviour, nor can I not work or not be exposed to everyday life, I can most definitely change the way I respond to such times.
This has allowed me to take on new practises and tools in my life to use stress for good. Firstly, exercise or more specifically running. Oh how I love running as a stress release. Running gives me a personal purpose, a sense of achievement and fulfills my constant hunger of wanting to be challenged. It is through goal setting and chasing dreams I thought were only impossible that has allowed me to put stress to good use. The all round body benefits of running and exercise are ones which can not be denied or overlooked.
Another activity is practising mindfulness and meditation. A tool which I thought was only for hippies, that sat on mats chanting “om…om”. It is not that at all and it’s great that the stigma around meditation is softening. Being purely connected in your body to your breath, in the present moment is a gift. It has allowed me to make sense of my day and my thoughts. And it has given me the skills to use my breath for calm when I am faced with a stressful situation.
Finally, the power of using your stress to create meaning and purpose in your life is probably the most powerful. Of all the stress responses our body takes it is the release of the Oxytocin hormone which can only yield positive outcomes. Lovingly called the cuddle hormone, it makes you crave human connection, strengthens relationships, encourages empathy and promotes compassion and care, (Kelly McGongigal, TedX Talk 2013) I have channeled the power of this hormone to create my own small business which is about motivating and empowering others to feel and be their best. And as the strength of this grows, my motivation to further connect with others multiples as well as changing the way I respond and view stress.
Are you familiar with how stress manifests itself in your life? How do you feel when you are stressed? The term stress is not the problem it is how we respond or react to the stressors that are the problem.
Join a Be More You Workshop today to understand how you can use stress for positive influence and change in your life. Sign up to my newsletter to be the first to know about my workshops.