Keeping Calm in a Crisis

Symptoms for stress can include increased irritability, severe mood changes, lack of concentration, black and white thinking, difficulty making decisions, being argumentative, losing your temper quickly, feeling overwhelmed, catching frequent colds or illness, trouble sleeping, tiredness, low or depressed mood, lack of energy, headaches, muscle tension, trouble relaxing, using stimulants such as alcohol to wind down etc etc etc The list goes on.

There are so many things in fact, that no matter how fantastic things are at the moment, most of us would be able to put our hand up to experiencing several of them right now – but that doesn’t mean that we are ‘stressed’!

So what happens to us in times of stress?

The stress response triggers adrenaline in the body – it is what gets us going – it stimulates the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ reaction in the body.

It can actually lead us to do or say all sorts of things as a reaction to what is going on around us.

The stress response is basically there to keep us safe – to protect us. To stir us into an appropriate reaction.

If you feel like you might be experiencing high levels of stress in your life at the moment – the key is to understand what stress feels like for you – when things start to tip into overwhelm or you are feeling a little bit out of control. Understand what that feels like to you – and the trick to that is getting out of your head and recognising the feelings in your body. Not easily done when we spend so much time in our heads – particularly if you are in a very busy period in your life with lots of demands being placed on you. Recognise the symptoms and how you are feeling. And recognise them before they get to a level where it is all too much.

So if the stress response triggers adrenaline – it is adrenaline that gets us going – it is adrenaline that gets and keeps us motivated to do things.

So if we look at it a different way stress is actually motivation!

Things only become stressful when we exceed our personal capacity to be able to cope.

So how do we learn how to cope? The key to boosting our resilience levels is to get regular exercise, have a healthy diet – including drinking plenty of water – and to keep our mind in a calm place! Here are three quick tips…

1. Relax

Relaxation – some of us are good at it – some of us not. I know several people who just ‘don’t do’ relaxation.

It is an essential element in building up our resilience levels and our capacity for coping – for managing the stresses and strains in our lives.

Finding yourself with nothing to do – or an opportunity to sit quietly is a fantastic thing to experience. If that makes you feel bored – then sit with the boredom. I challenge you to not fill the time with something. To just sit and experience the boredom! You might be surprised – out of boredom can come break throughs. Out of sitting in boredom – without things planned in – can allow the space in our lives for new things to enter.

2. Breathe

We all have to breathe – it’s what keeps us alive! But surprise, surprise – most of us don’t do it properly. Most of us keep our breathing at the top of our chest – a shallow breath. Particularly when we are busy, anxious or just caught up in ‘stuff’ – we take shallow breaths.

Learning how to make full use of the breath is an incredible way not only to relax but also to boost your energy levels, control your emotions and achieve a sense of calm and peacefulness.

So try a different approach – try a deeper breath and see how you feel – experience the difference.

3. Visualise

Visualisation is a great way to support yourself in bringing things into reality and coping with stress! Start by picturing what you want to achieve – then see yourself achieving it.
Seeing yourself achieving things – even in your minds eye – will boost your motivation – your brain will record and recollect it – you will be improving your belief in yourself.

Janice Haddon has over 25 years’ experience in strategic and operational Human Resources and management consultancy. Working across a range of sectors and with start-ups to top 20 companies, Janice is a qualified coach and has a passion for integrating performance, personal positivity and wellbeing into the work place. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, an MA in Psychotherapy and an MBA from Henley Management College, Janice is also a Master Practitioner in NLP, a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapy Counsellor and runs a number of businesses including Morgan Redwood.