In my last post, I discussed the fight-or-flight reaction as one way the body physically reacts to emotional stimuli. When your body reacts with fight-or-flight too often, though, the response can lead to tension and the damaging effects of stress.
Remember the 3R’s? They can work right alongside therapies such as NET to help you maintain your gain control of an overactive fight-or-flight response:
R#1 – RECOGNIZE what events trigger your own fight-or-flight response. Remember, in a dangerous situation, the fight-or-flight chemicals can give you strength and speed your reactions. But not every circumstance is truly threatening. Now, while you’re in a safe physical and emotional place, jot a list of things that cause your stress level to rise. Now go through that list rationally: which ones were real threats to your safety or well-being? The ones that are NOT are the ones to work on when you…
R#2 – REFRAME your thoughts. Arm yourself with calming thoughts to remember when events that are not true threats happen. Here are some simple statements you can use to counter stressful situations:
I am safe.
I am alive.
I am OK having options.
I am OK being truthful.
How do these statements work? If your morning commute to work, for example, raises your stress level, you can counter the effect by focusing on an affirmation such as “I am grateful for opportunity.” Or if meeting new people triggers your anxiety, try calming yourself on the day of your interview with the simple thought “I can trust myself.” With repetition, these calming thoughts can become your new automatic reaction to normally stressful events.
R#3 – RECLAIM your sense of control. Behaviorist and author David J. Lieberman, Ph.D., wrote that “At the heart of persistent anxiety is the fear of being out of control.” Taking back control by learning to alter your body’s responses is a healthy step toward reversing the damaging effects of stress on your body.
Enough talking. Let’s take action.
Try it now: stop for a moment and recall the last time you felt the tension and anxiety that signal a fight-or-flight response. Was it at your last business meeting? At a social event? Financial concerns or family issues? Start by applying the 3R’s to that situation, and begin taking control of your stress level. Then use the Comments section to share your 3R’s success stories.