We experience a situation as stressful because it is perceived as a threat.
Our amygdala (the primitive area of our brain) sends out hormones like epinephrine which increase our blood pressure and heart rate to prepare us to face and overcome and overcome the threat.
I see many stressed out people in my practice. When patients come into my office they often have elevated blood pressure readings just from trying to make their appointment on time.
Epinephrine is involved in this reaction and it is the reason they feel sweaty and their heart pounds.
This stress response is a biochemical reaction and it is not “in our heads.” The perception of a threat requires an awareness on our part to tell ourselves whether or not a certain threat is important. Being aware of this information and optimizing your biochemistry can help improve your responses to what life throws at you.
How to Reduce Stress
Given the realities of our stressful lives, how can we learn to lessen stress in order to bring more peace and calm in our lives?
Here’s some things I’ve learned:
1. Breathe Deeply
Though oxygen is often lacking in the stress response, the brain needs it to function properly and make neurotransmitters.
Therefore take 2 to 3 deep breaths when you are faced with a stressful situation.
2. Take Supplements
Make sure you are taking appropriate stress management supplements.
Vitamin B6 is one such supplement since it is an important cofactor in the production of dopamine, which makes us feel good and lessens stress.
3. Train your Subconscious Mind
Use techniques that train your subconscious mind or awareness to understand that all situations are not actual threats. A good one that I have used is “Be Set Free Fast.” Another one is the Emotional Freedom Technique.
If the thought of going to your doctor’s office stresses you, picture their office as a place of refuge, a place where you are valued.
(You should always feel welcomed in your physician’s office. If you don’t, find another physician.)
Are you using any of these techniques to lower your stress response? If so, let me know in the comments how they’ve worked for you.