Keren Smedley | 28th June 2016


imgresI’ve been, as I’m sure many of you, consumed by the results last Friday. I was shocked and upset and found myself feeling scared for myself, my family, friends and the UK population’s future.

By the time you read this enough will have been written by others who understand the consequences more, both those that feel it was the right decision and others who feel like me. I thought it would be more helpful to look at our reaction to events we perceive as negative and what that does to us and how to stop it.

When we’re frightened by something the first thing that happens is that our chemical balance changes and we produce adrenaline and nor-epinephrine which give us immediate energy and increase our immediate responsiveness. It does this by sending a message to our brain saying ‘hey you’re in trouble, you need a boost!’ These hormones create a physiological change, which leaves us feeling sick, or dry mouthed or jittery or hot or cold and our heart racing. Each of you will have your own preferred reactions to stress as our bodies respond in their own peculiar way.

The other thing alongside this, is our thoughts. The more negative they are the worse we feel. So whilst I sat there shocked and then fearful for the future I had conjured up a picture that was of disaster. I may be right but I have no way of knowing. However, as I start to think about it my mind takes me there as though it was now and I actually believe I’m there and in that way lose sight of reality.

Once I’ve moved into that state I am paralysed by fear and unable to bring myself back easily to today.

What do you do at those times?

What I did as I caught myself going into a spiral was to say stop firmly to myself. I then physically got up and looked around and focused on three things that were in the room and started to look at them intently. As soon as I did that my mood changed as the chemicals changed and I began to feel calm. I then focused on what was good and made me feel good and reminded myself of a few special moments. My ‘stress hormones’ began to reduce and I began to produce dopamine, seatonin and endorphins.

At that point I was able to think about what I needed to do today.  I wasn’t going to be able to change the vote but there were things I could do that were positive and more productive than paralysed fear.

We all know that stress ages us prematurely. Learning to manage it is I believe pretty essential if we’re going to live a healthy and productive life.

If you would like to find out more about ways to reduce stress please contact us and come and have a chat.

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