Stress is natural human response to the pressure we feel when faced with challenging or potentially dangerous situation. And this pressure comes from both the reality of the situation we are facing, AND the interpretation we place on it.
If you are scared, or angry, or frustrated your brain produces a threat (defence) response – a fight/flight response. If you are not, it doesn’t. Simple.
So it goes to reason that if you can control your internal interpretation of an event or circumstance then you can manage or control your stress response. Simple.
But it’s not that simple, because a few things get in the way….
Firstly, your emotions and your fight/flight response take a toll on the executive functioning of your brain…meaning that you default to using ‘old information’ from past events that may not be relevant to your current situation – but you may well act on that data.
Secondly, your brain’s natural desire to save energy means that it can be biased, and this bias is amplified when you are in fight/flight mode – you tend to see things in black and white, or you tend to see things the way you WANT them to be.
And thirdly, your ability to override your natural tendency to see the negatives or to react to a situation rather than respond is significantly impaired.
So….I recommend that you RAAR.
RAAR is a four-step stress management model that I teach my clients to help them to gain back control over their increasing stress-induced response to the difficulties and challenges they face on a daily basis.
Firstly, work to stop a RECOGNISE that you are having a reaction.
Then, move to a place of ACCEPTANCE that you may be reacting or behaving based on limited information.
Next, take a moment to ARTICULATE the reality of what is happening – what emotions are you experiencing, what assumptions might you be making that are placing a filter over the situation.
And finally, work to REFRAME your interpretation and perspective – find that silver cloud and your brain will respond accordingly.
Try it and see….
Have a great day!