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What is stress?

Stress – is your body’s response to pressures from a situation or a life event.  This could be pressure at work, money worries, relationship difficulties or it could be when you experience something new or unexpected or feeling you have little control over a situation.

Flight or Fight response

When we encounter stress, our body is stimulated to produce stress hormones that trigger a ‘flight or fight’ response and activate our immune system.

Stress can cause your brain to seize up at the worst possible times such as during exams, job interviews or public speaking for example.

Life and death situation

This is actually a survival mechanism and is there to protect you. If you’re faced with a life and death situation, instinct and subconscious impulse overwhelm rational thought and reasoning. This might keep you from being killed in an encounter with a tiger, but, in modern life, this is rarely helpful.

It negatively impacts virtually every cognitive skill you rely on to get through the day, including your ability to pay attention, remember, solve problems, make rational decisions, and think critically.

Your inability to think clearly or make decisions reduces your resilience which in turn increases your stress levels.

Heart Focused Breathing Technique

When you find yourself feeling stressed, take a step back, come away from the situation and try this simple technique to guide you to a state of ease in just a few minutes.

The technique is as powerful as it is simple and can be used anytime you want to create greater relaxation or more energy.

Here’s how you do it:

1 – Focus your attention on your heart area. Breathe a little deeper than normal, in for 5 or 6 seconds and out 5 or 6 seconds. You may find that placing your hand over your heart helps you maintain your focus there.

2 – Now imagine while breathing that you’re doing it through your heart. Picture yourself slowly breathing in and slowly breathing out through your heart area.

Doing this technique will help you reduce stress right in the moment, so the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation at work or away from the office, give it a try.

Should you find yourself stressed at work by a difficult boss, have a read of my blog 5 Managers from Hell – which is yours?

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