When things don't go according to our plan, we get stressed.
When someone says or does something that we don't approve of, we get stressed.
When there is too much workload and we are exhausting ourselves, we feel stressed.
On a day-to-day basis, we encounter so many things that irritate us or give us stress. It's an everyday challenge to deal with such stressors.
The simple act of being stuck in traffic is enough to make us mad. (Well for most of us I assume)
We all have been there and felt that. The increase in heartbeat, fast-paced breathing, sweaty palms, sometimes it even leads to outbursts of anger.
This frequent stress is definitely not healthy for us.
Our ancestors, I mean the people living millions of years ago, had similar responses to stress. But they were stressed for different reasons. It was a life and death battle for them. They used to be stressed or panicked at the sight of a lion or bear or snake or anything that could potentially be life-threatening.
When they felt stressed, they had this hormone called cortisol released in their brain that led to fight or flight response. Of course, that's what kept them alive in those days.
But these days, most of the things aren't literally life-threatening. Still, we have four to five times cortisol surge in a week. Or maybe even more.
What if I told you there is something you could do, that would instantly lower down the cortisol levels?
What if I told you that by doing this one thing over and over again, after a period of time, you could stop "losing your cool" over every damn thing?
● Fact - You cannot be stressed when you are relaxed.
Woah! what a piece of information, why didn't I think of this (you might be saying this in your mind, sarcastically)
There is a reason I shared this fact with you. Keep reading and you will understand.
If cortisol leads to "fight or flight" response, there is this hormone called Oxytocin, which is called the "calm and connect" hormone.
This hormone can undo the negative effects of cortisol. As you know, you cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time ;)
Oxytocin is generated when you hug someone, when you hold hands, when you laugh, when you feel connected with someone. So to release this hormone, you can hug your spouse 15 seconds longer, you can have heart to heart conversations with your friend, or even being in nature (outdoors) helps, you could also strike up a friendly conversation with a stranger or maybe pet a cat or dog on your way home (they are natural stress busters).
I remember when I was feeling too stressed a few weeks ago, I just thought about my meeting with my best friend the other day. I replayed the scene in my mind and saw the pictures. It was sooo good just to remind myself of the happy time we had.
Try this next time. Whenever you are feeling stressed or angry or too much of any negative emotion, try to replace that with a good memory that leads to a positive emotion. Or just go out and talk to people, hug your loved ones, be outdoors, love your pets, and for sure this will undo the negative emotions you were feeling a few minutes ago.