While change is an ever-present challenging force in our lives, a lot of us have found this past year to be one of exceptional difficulty. As many of us are now facing another season of back to work, back to school, and…back to another shut down(?) I wanted to share with you some resources that can help us all better navigate the stressful unknown of the coming seasons. Dr. Rebecca Heiss is a PhD stress physiologist committed to helping us all work through our fears and stressors to ensure we are living and leading as our most confident, conscious selves.
1) Do The Physiological Sigh
Have you ever cried so hard you start taking those short inhales that shake your whole back with the effort? When you watch people cry, you might notice they follow a strange pattern of breathing—a double-inhale followed by a long sigh. This is the body’s automatic way of helping bring you back to a state of lower stress. When we become stressed or anxious, we begin taking smaller, more shallow breaths which disrupts the balance of CO2 and oxygen in our body, furthering and reinforcing the cycle of stress.
We can help our bodies recalibrate by offloading a bunch of carbon dioxide at once by consciously engaging in a physiological sigh. Start by inhaling a deep breath through your nose, and when you feel you simply can’t inhale any further, sneak just a bit more air in with a sharp sudden breath. At this stage you’ve forced your lungs to expand all the way through the alveoli. Now, when you exhale you can discard a significantly higher proportion of CO2 and lower your cortisol instantly. <whew!>
2) Expand Your Peripheral View
Look up! Take 15 seconds to fix your gaze on something in the distance. Allow your eyes to relax and take in the scene around you including the ceiling or sky, the ground and things in your peripheral vision.
When we relax the muscles in our eyes to include peripheral views, we are sending a signal to our brain that we are safe and can take in more information than the narrowed focus we would maintain if, for example, a tiger was charging at us! When our vision expands, we are turning off the attentional stress mechanisms that drive our internal state towards stress and cortisol production lowers.
3) Indulge in Laughter
Go ahead and pull up those YouTube fail videos. Or your favorite dogs of TikTok. Or another re-watch of the Office. No, it’s not just empty distraction—as long as it’s making you LAUGH! Because we are a social species, we’ve evolved a way to pick up signals from others and connect with people on an emotional level. We have special neurons in our brains called mirror neurons that help us detect and reflect back the emotions of others. It’s why the contagious giggles happen (…or the contagious stress responses!). Emotional contagion is powerful, so spend a couple minutes of time busting up your cortisol with a good hearty laugh—and invite a friend if you can. Here’s one video I can almost guarantee a giggle from.
Now—if you’re a high achieving woman looking for a deeper dive into personal and professional growth, keep reading for the special offer:
The Fearless Accelerator is Rebecca’s signature course and lifetime-access women’s community that empowers women to:
? navigate their fears
? understand and manage their stress responses
? diagnose and overcome imposter syndrome
? manifest positivity and the life they really want to live
? …all backed by science research and tangible, practical application
Rebecca is offering a generous $250 discount on this 6-week/lifetime access leadership and development course that includes a support community of women: The Fearless Accelerator.
There are still a few seats left for the Aug 30th cohort. Use the code: YOPRO250 to secure your spot today, or reach out to Rebecca directly about this program to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org