HOW TO MANAGE STRESS
Learning how to manage stress and to transform it into resilience can have immense benefits
and lead to higher levels of performance in all areas of life and increase in health and happiness.
WHAT IS STRESS
Stress is a chemical reaction in the brain and the fight / flight / freeze response. Stress in itself is not a bad thing, it has a useful purpose for our body and it gives information. However in our modern world, the intensity of the reaction can easily outsize the perceived danger. More importantly, it is the intensity and the length of the period of time during which one is exposed to stress that can turn a perfectly normal stress reaction into a burn-out.
From a chemical perspective, it is the same gland that is producing Cortisol (the "stress" hormone) and DHEA (the vitality hormone), and it's either producing one or the other. Cortisol drains the body while DHEA regenerates it. When one has been under stress for too long, the body does not have enough resources to sustain itself, doesn't get a chance to regenerate itself and things start to break down. That is when we are at risk of getting stuck in a vicious cycle of stress and burn-out.
RESILIENCE IS A SKILL YOU CAN LEARN AND GROW
Resilience is our ability to manage these stress reactions. "Heart coherence", a concept developed by HeartMath, is an optimal state in which the heart, mind and emotions are operating in sync and in-balance. This can be measured through Heart Rate Variability (basically looking at your heart rhythm patterns). There is a lot of research that has been done by multiple sources showing there is a correlation between achieving coherence and the practice of slow breathing and focus.
Studies conducted have shown it takes only 6 to 9 weeks of steady regular practice to experience significant improvements in mental, emotional and physical well-being.
REGULAR PRACTICE MATTERS
“As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward.” - Vincent Van Gogh
There is evidence that shows that regular practice of heart-focused meditation, allows individuals to become more self-aware of their own stress reaction, and by bringing this awareness and the simple tool of slow breathing, they can reduce the stress reaction and have a choice in how they want to react. We all have this ability within us to self-regulate: it is easy and it is free.
Why regular practice matter? Because it is just like sport: you don't run a marathon without preparation. You run regularly. You don't run a whole marathon each time you practice, you just run a portion of it, and it is giving you the endurance you need to run the whole thing.
Coherence works the same way, you have to train your mind and your heart to get into coherence regularly, so that when you need it, you - your body and your mind - already know exactly to do and it is easy to access.
MEASURING HEART COHERENCE
HeartMath has developed a simple device to measure your heart coherence.
Easy to use, you connect it to your phone via blue-tooth and attach it to your ear to measure your heart coherence.
A simple color code on the app informs you of your coherence level and you can see evolve in real-time as you practice heart-focused techniques as well as long-term progress.
For more information on the device, click here