Awareness is the First Step
Thank you for hanging with us because this is a human to human thing and what can we do about stress on as jacob just said awareness is the first step it's the first step to anything we can't change it if we don't know what we're dealing with and what to change it on dh so we're goingto increase the awareness of your stress level well that might sound painful but I promise this isn't about the pain this is about figuring out how not to get in such pain how not to wait until it's really a crisis or real problem to start to lower your stress level a little bit and open up your ability to deal with it and once we are stress we're going to talk about ways to cool that down on then will spend another whole session on ways to plan so you have less stress in the future so get into the awareness what do you really feel when you're stressed think back to the exercise we did on thinking of something that was stressful and what you noticed if you we're running along in the workbook which I highly...
recommend were on the I know I'm stressed when page eight how do you know that your stress levels up what do you notice and that's really different for different people sometimes it's different for you in different stages I'm a headache person so I start to notice the tightening and that's my my awareness is a little bit more focused there eric was mentioned a a gut feeling that's true for some people, but we all have our ways. I hear a lot of people mentioned they feel like they're fuses shorter than more irritable on dh actually, there was some research at harvard that says that that's the number one thing other people notice about your stress so that's the next question in the workbook because what we notice, I mean, people don't look at me and say, wow, she looks like she has a headache, they look at me and think she doesn't look is happy um they may notice different things about me. They may notice different things about you if you were to be really brave and ask the significant people in your life friends, family or, uh co workers what they noticed, sometimes you get some very different answers than what you're aware off, and that can be a lot of interesting information but just jot down the things that you notice. So we talked about there's a curve that not all stress is bad and that as the challenge rises, our performance actually starts to go up until we get to this peak performance where were inflow and things are working for us then as the challenge continues to increase, our effectiveness starts to thaw fall off and we're not necessarily aware of this area and if we could become more aware of where we are on this curve, we have more power to get ourselves back to the peak, so that's really point of this we all kind of no, you know who we are when we're stressed their different personalities that come into this, you know, like they're anxious annie or the hyperactive harry or the slow suzy, we have our personalities that we bring to this on the things that we typically think and the ways we typically behave when we're stressed and when we increase our awareness of that that's information too, because as you'll hear me say over and over, it is all research to figure out what's the important information this's a chart of typical reactions that come from stress just looking at a whole group of people and you'll see there there's physical symptoms, there's, mental symptoms, emotional symptoms and behavioral symptoms. I when I was growing up, I think one of the reasons I'm in this field is I was probably a little more stressed than normal kid um and I always wanted to be one less people who couldn't eat when she was stressed, but unfortunately I could always eat and my answer to medical school was eminem's you probably never caught me in the hall without eminem's in my pocket um somehow was a security blanket I just knew that that eminem was gonna fix it it was my magic pill and that speaks a lot tio the kind of expectations we have in our society that there is some magic pill that for me it was thie eminem but we all have our things that we go to when we are stressed overwhelmed is a really common thing I hear these days just you know, I feel like I'm my head is spinning or I'm like that person who's spinning all these different plates in the air and I'm afraid if I let one go down and I'm just totally overwhelmed by it and overwhelmed is a funny feeling when we toss that term around but what do you feel when you feel overwhelmed? What are you aware ofthe out of control how does it feel in you? I think for me it's the anxious or racing thoughts and it's kind of like a general ecstatic ecstatic I am from me I feel bouncy it's like I can feel my mind sort of pinging from one to the next and the overwhelmed comes because I don't feel in control to stay landed in one or finish it you know I'm not finishing thoughts I'm not finishing behaviors on the projects or whatever I'm doing I'm bouncing to follow up on that um you know how you said were entered were energetic means is there like an energy like if you could kind of monitored on some kind of energy meter like okay this is the energy of stress is e has a certain you know frequency or a certain uh ah me that's a complicated answer and the simple the simple version of that complicated answer is yes but it's different for different people and what goes off for you would be different than what goes off for someone we know simon and I had a discussion because he's done some biofeedback work which is what I used to dio and so played around with a different machines that are monitoring all the different things and I sort of knew this from the get go when I was in medical school they were talking to us a little bit about the mind body connection this was the rudimentary stages of this and they put a blood pressure cuff on one of our classmates and they took his blood pressure and it was perfectly normal I mean we were in our twenties at that point they made him come down and sit in front of the lecture hall and talk to all two hundred of us his blood pressure went off the roof well that's an energy that's the end of two of his heart in there going oh no batten down the hatches were in trouble it's um so it would be different things for different people and playing around with that can be very interesting but from the brain perspective there's something called a fade away which is a very busy body little brain wave that definitely goes up it's not focused it's just background noise like static term that you use that goes up and I will see that in brain maps in the old days when I did that it's it's fascinating it's truly fascinating any other thoughts on overwhelmed everything from erica just with overwhelmed generally that fuels my procrastination even more than my normal set point and then it just makes the stress that much worse because I feel like I have so much more to get done and now I haven't let more limited amount of time that I have a higher stress and I procrastinate war wow you're so human so normal it's love that new what that the online community is saying I'm gonna have to go for it because they did write a command shift says well we're going to cover procrastination later you can always rely on the creative like community but you know other people are saying they freeze when they feel overwhelmed or they just can't strength right straight they can't think straight talk straight now I was told when they feel overwhelmed absolutely you saw me do that earlier I can't think straight is really true and it makes sense we talked about the brain you lose that focus you've lost your frontal lobe ability to focus and I'll go into that ah little bit more the freeze is a more severe stress reaction we actually have multiple stress reactions and I'm focusing on the flight or fright reaction but freezing is a stress reaction shutting down the third reaction to stress is to die let's not choose that one, but when they do animal experiments they often freeze in their tracks and I'm I felt that before remember child reading a tree grows up in brooklyn and she gets attacked and she freezes on the steps and I used have nightmares that that would be what happened to me that freeze response and its immobilizing it's very frustrating there you might tend towards certain one of these behaviours or feelings or symptoms you might experience the range of them for different things, but we kind of have our achilles heel don't way we have the things that we should know about and it would be really nice if we could back up before we get to the pain stage and do something about it. So I'm paged ten there is this figure I want you to fill in from what we done before about being in your state of flow when you're not stressed fill in who you are when you're at the top of this peak, whether you're calm, you're focused, you're centered make your own words I'm just suggesting giving you some choices, but who are you when you're really at the top of your peak? Because that's your goal that's the space where you really feel good about where you are and it's an easier space, it takes less effort and isn't that wonderful. And then you know what triggers you? We all do. We all know the things that really get to us there. Those things that tend to raise our stress level. Go ahead and write him down. Just call him out and I'd love to hear from the online community. What are those few things that you just know? You know that ifs about you. They tend to set you off for some people. It's a road rage kind of thing. I always I often get the answer to this. Well, idiots. D'oh! Okay, that's a tad judgmental. What are those things that tend to trigger you and raise your stress level? And then what are the things that tend to lower your stress level and go ahead and fill in these blanks? Because what we're trying to do is create this map that you can kind kind of start to see yourself it's like a dashboard to know where you are on this curve and there's an important point to that is this curve is a moving curve. So if you are particularly good at something say you're an excellent cook, this curve would be shifted over it would take a lot of challenge to make you feel uncomfortable. If you are an excellent photographer and you're a lousy cook, your photography curve would be over here it would take a lot of challenge and that the mere thought of cooking ramen noodles it might be over here so different things depending on your your perception of your ability to cope would shift that curve and then there the major things that always tend to shift us so we know where we are at our best we know it tends to shift us off of our best we know what tends to shift us back to our best and then I want you to identify where you are when you're at your worst what are you worst symptoms? What air you're for me? I've hit the migraine, I've shut down, I'm tearful, I know where I am at my worst and there's a second severe set of that and that's when I'm bored to death, I'm not happy when I'm bored and that aiken this depression can occur on both ends of this curve over on this side if I'm not challenged it all, I'm not really happy unless engaged in my life and that's not a healthy state of being so write down both of this severe because I find it's easier to identify when you're way off and then we're gonna back up any comments coming from people coming in. So talk first about what's raising the stress levels. Yes, some great answers clear of ira says being hungry uh, janey ella says unwanted advice thanks, poppy says annoying people rest copious, says confrontation and cheetah says being given way too much work and tight lid tight deadlines to completed in, and they said what lowers it around resco pio says guinness helps with thanks poppy says, you know coffee, I'm sure it's the b vitamins that's must be what it is coffee, but a lot of people are actually saying here janey l a z read scorpio on a few others are saying laughing humor they used humor as a coping mechanism, and I've seen that actually as well, people saying laughing really does immediately reduce so those fourteen hundred chemicals they get released when you're stressed laughter releases chemicals that fight those chemicals. Laughter actually releases oxytocin and some feel good chemicals in our body, so laughter is a wonderful thing nitric acid. A lot of people identify with this, they're saying others being stressed stresses me out that's a nice point um, we have these beautiful neurons in our brains called mirror neurons and they're there for a purpose back to cave man time if I'm the cave and my cave mate comes into the cave and is totally freaked out by something it's really important for me to be in tune with that because I need to know that there's danger out there. So we have mirror neurons in our brain that pick up on the emotional state of someone else. Well, that's fabulous if we're trying to read a group of people, I mean, we've all used that you walk into a room, a group of people, and and you can kind of read as a kid, I was one of those sensitive kids who I could, as I opened the door sort of knew what state mom was going to be. I'm good mom, but I was pretty good couldn't reading that state, and these things help us, but when we're reading and having sort of empathy without boundaries for that person stress that's not a good thing, and I don't think we realized how much of each other stuff we take on during a day. It's fascinating. If you sit in a meeting and watch that occur, you can watch people pick up on each other's a state in a meeting, and it really only takes in a meeting a couple of people. Even one who's pretty whacked out to change the tone, so learning that boundary to realize that you're being triggered that your mirror neurons are kicking in and saying, oh, my gosh, there's danger in the room! I should probably rev up to recognize that you're doing that and back away and say, wait a minute, that's because of that person's freaking out and I don't need to share it. That was a great one, thank you. We appreciate that. So backing up from your worst state, where are you when you're just sort of moderately stressed? What do you feel? This isn't the end of the world? You're not burning out, you're not freaking out. You haven't gotten a headache thrown up, etcetera, but you're you're feeling it, you're just you're aware that your stress load is up. What kinds of things do you feel when you're just moderately feeling it? And then from that we're going to back up to just the twinge what's your first twinge that you're falling off the peak of that curve because there's your place to build your awareness your first twinge on love to hear if people have identified something when they know that they're just starting to get off center come in overwhelmed tennis, saying this saint, they thought of something that they thought would make me really, really happy but thinking about it and what they had to do made them in terribly anxious and actually caused them to panic immediately so they backed away from it, you know, should they there now full of regret? Of course, so should they actually go back for it and try it? Go back for thinking about the happy iand go for even through the idea, innit? Yeah putting into practice is made of stresses and interest interesting one I have seen that a lot in fact, when I used to do these guided visualizations for the hard math aversion and I would say, think of something for which you're grateful and I often in a very anxious population saw a lot of anxiety, but what if I don't pick the right thing or what if I really like that, but but I don't have it, um and just recognizes your brains plan gains its in there just playing games and that's okay, take a breath and just feel the emotion of the happy you don't have to identify you don't have to notice, you know I'm here and that's out there in the gap oh my gosh that's a problem? Just just give yourself permission to feel some of the positive emotion if you can't stay there it's okay it's truly okay, this isn't a black and white and here I'm happy and here I'm anxious it's a starting to play with do I have the range that I want? Can I get into a little bit different gear? Great question interesting yeah yeah how'bout you all what's your first twinge my first twins used to be blame so I would ok what I would whatever since something happened I would blame but I identified that so I don't do that anymore but I do space my now it's like I just get a little snippy when I can tell that I'm once I get a little snippy about something that I'm starting to get off kilter and how do you know you're being snippy? Do you, um there's? Uh maybe like a different urgency in which I might say something it's a little snappier or quicker? Um, generally I'm a very warlike when I'm in my I want about my bathroom very warm and impatient because I guess that impatient um I couldn't tell if I'm I want things to happen faster or someone's not understanding what I'm saying right away that's clear to me that, um I'm getting off kilter because when I'm at my best, I can be very patient and happy to explain and all of that so when I can tell that I'm not happy to, you know, listen and be present I'm nice and I love the word you just used present yeah present in our bodies present in our minds present with the other people who are with us presence is a beautiful, beautiful thing and it's it's part of that state being present with what you're doing and it takes work it takes building this awareness muscle because we have suppressed it until we get to the extreme so I love that you're building that awareness of when your peaceful patient erica and when you're starting to get to be a little bit snippy impatient eric and that contrast the more you build it, the more you feel it it's just information don't judge it don't start into I'm a bad person because I'm impatient that's not gonna help the situation but just is like, wow, I'm getting impatient what do I need right now? What's going on that I'm starting to be pushed off centre it's just information does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. And one thing the same was like naming your fear when I'm starting when I can feel that I'm starting to get snippy and impatient um I'm really good with this with my husband and trying to get better with other people I just voiced that I say I acknowledge that I'm getting sippy right now I just need to take a step back and re center excellent and once I do that it doesn't times where I don't do that things start to spiral and then I start to get stubborn and even mohr impatient and and then and I know that I'm being impatient and I don't want to be impatient but if I don't acknowledge it out outwardly that I'm you know, getting worse and worse and worse and then you know and there's still about like little voice in your head going oh no I'm doing it that's ugly me stop it make her stop it there's ah a little independent film called it's not you it's me that is about a couple in a relationship and they're like you two sitting on the sofa there this couple in a relationship but then the rest of the cast are all the voices in her head and all the voices in his head and it is absolutely hysterical because it is so on target it's like you're sitting there something's coming out of your mouth and up here that little voices going yeah, I can't believe she's saying that another voice is going I think she should say it stronger you know that's who we are we're not crazy, we're not multiple personality but we have all of this stuff going on and as we build our awareness we're building our our sense of when are really self is in the center when our ceo of awesome is choosing what to say what to do how to do it as opposed to letting some of the peripheral characters in us behave we're crazy interesting janie ellis saying exactly this they're saying I tried to be the nicest person but if somebody pushes my buttons or something I really do have a short fuse when I tried to hold those things in because I want to be civil on that that really bothers me that you know and I think we do tonto humans don't we we try to be polite and repressed things that are really irritating us and whatever it's a natural way dio certain cultures do it more than others certain cultures have a very stiff up berlin it's can't think of any myself but I guess you know nothing comes to mind there are cultural norms for that there are local norms for that within a certain office within a certain family there are norms for how much emotion is out there and that's a constant suppression is exhausting absolutely exhausting and I think one of the things it does is deny what you're really feeling so when she's trying to be nice because it's the right thing to do that's not a bad thing that's a beautiful value it's beautiful to be civil and if you're being civil ing you get hurt you're denying yourself the grief and the reality that you were just hurt so finding another way to acknowledge that to go to your room, as I say, give myself a time out to go to room and say, wow, that just hurt. Do I need to voice something about it? Do I need to do something about it? Or do I need to just give myself a moment, a little self compassion and say, you know what? I just got hurt owl, I'm gonna go back out there and be civil, but I'm not going to deny I'm not going to suppress everything. The information comes when you feel like you're efforting to be nice than maybe you're already stressed, because if you if you value niceness, if you truly value niceness and that's who you want to be and you find it takes effort to be there, well, maybe there's something else going on that you need, you know, look at the parts of your self care and see if there's something that needs to be met that would make it easier for you to be nice and not have to work at it. Does that make sense? A lot of people identifying with that in the chat rooms as well, they're saying they tried to do that, they tried to be polite, to try to be nice and that's something I think a lot of people seem to do a doc behavior they adopt right and it stresses them well, you know civility is a good thing this ability is a lovely thing and as I said before we were humans it is in our nature to be kind when we are stressed we're not in our nature we're in our defense and we take on more of a poverty mentality we get more competitive we when you stress a society it gets more competitive you know, we're fighting for the same resource is we get more competitive so when we're stressed we go into that mode and we're not naturally is nice so that could be you know, when you're feeling not not is nice that could be one of your slight indicators that you know I'm not feeling like I really want to be miss polly pleasant today so maybe I need something here because angst puppy has got three opposite question they want to know is there a difference between stress and anger because if I talk to someone I get annoyed with them does that mean I'm getting stressed depends on what they sent to you but um yeah yeah if you're starting to get really annoyed that's just your reaction to it and for just a second talk about gender um because they're ten to be gender differences first of all, they're actually physiologically our gender differences women in response to stress emit more oxytocin that's the bonding hormone this makes sense, because, under stress, we need to be bonded to our kids, because basically, we're just here to procreate, it's, not a pit, but we do. We collect men, tend to go to the cave and be alone, so they're going to find other people more annoying when they're stressed. Now, those air gross generalizations and I don't believe in gross generalization, is that, physiologically, there are some gender differences, so that may be part of this discussion. Interesting. Yeah, yeah, um, and you know, there really is a venus and mars and and there's. A spectrum of that is there's, a spectrum of every aspect of sexuality. But there's. There are generalities that tend to apply, and especially in certain cultures.