5 tips to stress proofing

5 tips to stress proofing

It’s hard to be happy if you’re stressed and uptight.

Happiness comes more easily when stress is managed and under control.

So boost your happiness by stress proofing your brain! Check out these 5 tips from Melanie Greenberg via Psychology Today…

When you’re stressed out, you feel thrown off balance. Your thoughts race as you imagine negative outcomes. Your heart pounds, and breathing gets shallow. Your muscles tighten. You feel as if you can’t sit still or think straight. Or you zone out with food, alcohol, or mindless TV. Alternatively, you drive yourself so hard that you live an unbalanced, unhealthy life. Sound familiar? You may want to get rid of stress, but you can’t. But you can learn to accept your stress and transform the way you think about it so you can benefit from its positive aspects. In my new book, The Stress-Proof Brain, I describe how to put a stop to unhealthy responses to stress and become more cognitively and emotionally resilient.

Your Brain’s Stress Response

The first step is to understand your brain and body’s natural stress response.  Once you understand it, you can work on changing your stress mindset with new tools and ways of thinking that you practice every day.  Our brains possess neuroplasticity, which means they can be changed by experience and repeated practice of new ways of thinking.

The stress response begins when the amygdala – an almond shaped structure in the center of your brain – senses a threat. It reacts by initiating a cascade of neurotransmitters and hormones – like adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol, that prepare your body for “fight or flight.” If your brain perceives that you can’t fight the stressor, the parasympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system may initiate a “freeze” response.  The “fight, flight, freeze” response is very rapid.  Your body may react to a snake in the path or an oncoming car, before you can even name what you’re facing.

The “fight, flight, freeze”  response is adaptive to help you survive an immediate danger, but is problematic when you’re dealing with more complex, interpersonal or chronic stressors.  When your amygdala “hijacks” your brain, you may say things you later regret, send off an angry email, scream at your partner, colleague, or child, drink too much, or behave in other impulsive, destructive ways. To be happy and successful in work, life, or love, you need to know how to get back on track when your amygdala hijacks your brain chemicals!

Getting Back on Track When Your Amygdala Hijacks Your Brain

To get back on track, you need to use another part of your brain, called the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex, situated behind your forehead is the brain’s executive center. Located near the top of your brain, it receives information about the stressor more slowly than the amygdala.  The prefrontal cortex is like the CEO of your brain. It can send a message to the amygdala telling it that everything is safe now so it can switch off “fight, flight, freeze.” It can also send messages to other parts of your brain to direct a mindful, effective response to the stressor. The strategies below can deliberately recruit your prefrontal cortex to take control of your stress reaction, rather than letting your amygdala be in charge.

Five Ways to Redirect Your Stress Response…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE