THE way we manage stress is much more important than whether or not we actually experience stress.
Science is telling us that people who can embrace stress are more likely to become more resilient to stress and have less physical side effects of stress.
While it is not possible to live without stress, we can always improve the way we respond to or manage stress in our lives.
The “Red Zone” is a term used for being in survival or stress mode.
It is all about the emotions of fear, anxiety, irritation and defensiveness.
It can occur when dealing with work or relationship issues and avoiding threats or pursuing opportunities.
The “Green Zone” is our resting state.
When we are truly unstressed we feel resilient and act with kindness and generosity.
When in the green zone we have an opportunity to repair, refuel and rebuild the immune system and our health.
Every day we have opportunities to recognise we are headed to the red zone – feeling overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, road rage, unable to take on suggestions from colleagues, feeling defensive - these reactions show you are on your way to the Red Zone.
Equally, we can make opportunities to strengthen the pathways towards the Green Zone – when we do this, we actually metabolise stress hormones out of our body.
Light up your Green Zone:
1. DIY: Write a list of what simple things make you happy, relaxed and put your thoughts in a straight line – cooking, dog walks, music, coffee with friends, movies, cuddles in the morning, sleep ins, lounge room dancing, naps, sport, bath, etc. Find your non-negotiables and talk to your family about realistic amounts of time you can dedicate to these each week. No matter how much is going on, these come first.
2. Breathe: after a stressful situation or very busy period is over, take three deep breaths. The key to having an impact on your green zone is to make the exhalation twice as long as the inhalation.
3. Take magnesium and calcium: These nutrients are used up in massive doses when you are stressed and are difficult to replace with food. They help to calm and refuel an anxious tense body and mind.
OUT AND ABOUT: Something as simple as walking your dog can help you manage your stress.