Em­brac­ing stress


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.

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