Every time you go to a call your body prepares for fight or flight. This is your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) kicking in.
It starts to engage for every single stressful situation no matter how big or small, good or bad.
Spilling your coffee
Watching an intense sports match
Being overwhelmed with emails
Worrying over finances
Not letting go of past situations
These all get the same fight or flight response as being on the scene of a crisis, because our adrenals (the part that manages stress in our bodies) has not evolved over time. It can not distinguish between crisis and everyday stress.
Every stressful situation big or small our bodies send out a fight or flight response.
Glucose (sugar) is released and adrenaline/cortisol is pumped out to fight the fight.
As soon as the stress trigger is finished your body needs to mop it all up.
Our current lifestyles cause us to do this over and over multiple times an hour to the point where we sometimes feel this stress response constantly.
Learning how to stop the SNS to turn off and turn on your PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System – Rest and Digest) will help take strain off of your adrenals and calm you down instantly.
Let’s get started!
These can be done as soon as you feel your body should turn off the SNS. Such as at work as soon as a call is finished or de-escalated. When possible at home or work, it’s great to take a step back, take care of yourself quick and then step back into the situation.
When you are in fight or flight your body isn’t going to sit down and have a meal, so your digestive system turns off. Drinking 500 ML of water (not a sip) tells your body that you are eating which must mean the crisis is over and the fight or flight system can shut down and rest and digest can turn on.
Breathe through your left nostril
There is a nerve (vegas nerve) that stimulates the PSNS when you breathe through your left nostril. In the heat of the moment take 3-4 slow, deep breaths through your left nostril.
Change your state
Changing what you are doing and where you are located sends a signal to the brain that the situation is over.
Once you finish a call, or you are struggling with something on the computer or the kids are driving you crazy, change what you are doing. Even momentarily turn on fun happy music, change locations, go for a walk, walk on different surfaces, walk into your backyard or around a park…
I know when my kids start getting on each other’s nerves and nothing rational I say helps we change locations. Get outside and kick a ball, go for a walk, go to a different part of the house and read a book, turn on cosmic kid’s yoga… It’s amazing to watch how changing their state changes their stress level. The same thing happens when we do it for ourselves.
Taking yourself out of the situation and meditating for 2-3 minutes can do amazing things for your brain and body. In my world Meditating is just deep breathing. Nothing fancy or intricate. Not only does it relax you, but it helps clear the clutter and you can go back to your task at hand with a new perspective.
The headspace app has a free 10 session tutorial that I do over and over again. Sticking with the basics and something I know takes brain power out of it and allows me to focus on clearing my stress.
Insight Timer is a free Meditation App as well that’s great to try. I’d suggest to start with the Head Space tutorial as it walks you through the steps.
Go for a walk
This can be as little as 3 minutes, but when you are in fight or flight your body is ready to run. Walking, Standing Tall and Breathing SLOW through your nose, will tell your body the situation has cleared and the rest and digest system can turn on again.
Bonus Tip- is if you start your day with a walk like this you will set your day up with your PNS system turned on and it sets the tone for your day.
Keep this list on hand and next time you feel your body showing you signs of stress pull out one or all of them and instantly reduce your stress on the spot.
I love hearing from you and would love to know if these tips and tricks are helping you increase your energy and manage the overwhelm and stress that goes along with being a First Responder. Please comment on this blog or email me firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you.
You are also welcome to join my Private 911 Stress Management Group. Each week we focus on an energy boosting, stress management strategy to help you on the job and at home. Join us today
My next program launch is coming soon! It will teach you how to manage your stress and repair your adrenals so you can feel more energized, sleep better and become happier all without overwhelming you. I’ll keep you posted closer to the launch.
Opinions and advice provided in this blog are for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace diagnosis and treatment from a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.