Know Your Stress Dashboard


Stress is Optional


Lesson Info

Know Your Stress Dashboard

So the point of this is to be a little more in touch with your own dashboard when are you starting to come off of center? What are you just starting to come off of center because there lies the piece of information for you how can you cool it down and what can you do about it? So we had a question much earlier about well what if I what if I need this to get going? What if I need that pressure to get going? Well, we call that cortisol dependence and court is all the hormone of stress is a hugely act of hormone and when I you cannot read this and I understand that I don't I will actually want you to because I'm going to summarise it for you too much cortisol this fell off the chart this says fat o dumb bald, sleepless seconds forgetful and sick too much cortisol all the time if that is your m o from motivating yourself is court is all eventually it interferes with all the natural healing things that your body does. I would probably assume that everybody who's listening has cut themselves...

shaving at some point isn't it pretty incredible that we make a gash in our skin several layers down so that blood gushes out across the bathroom onto the toilet paper and into the mix a mess and several days later our skin is back together let me think about that that's pretty amazing our body puts itself back together this is what we do when we're healthy. We put ourselves back together when we're constantly stressed we interfere with all of those mechanisms when you're on and you you're in this court is all mode there's another hormone called d h e a that goes down when you take a rest and you go from you're sympathetic cortisol adrenaline driven body to your parasympathetic relaxed body the d h e ey comes back up and the court assault goes down and the more times in our lives we allow those to balance the healthier we are so it's not about living at this zen nothing ever fazes me life it's about balance scene okay, I reacted, I drummed up and then I give myself arrest and I replenished I balanced my energy that's going to allow your body to not get these ravages of cortisol if you don't believe in ages you I did some work on some skin aging that occurs from constant stress because it releases all of these side of kind settle, settle kinds that's the word and which are little messengers in the immune system into your skin that takes away the hydration and that causes the wrinkling and that's what's behind the aging in the skin looks dull you get because we recognize somebody who looks stressed hopefully make up has helped wei recognize somebody who was stressed we see it and we don't even we can't necessarily identify and say this is exactly what's up there but they've done these studies where they add they put up a series of faces and they say is this person stresses this person's just we know it right away and it's a combination of this dullness a change in the oxygenation of the skin you keep doing that it sets in and if you need proof look att tthe e beginning and ending presidential pictures of four years in office on the ones who've done a years whoo that's impressive it's really impressive it's way more than eight years expected aging because the job is humongously stressful and we see it in the person we also see people when they come back from vacation I have let go you can see it and if you can see it imagine with going on that you can't see inside your arteries I mean, this is why we really should care inside your arteries a skin too and that skin when it's damage collects cholesterol which makes clots which makes heart attacks which makes strokes, that stuff really really matters it truly matters umm every single system of your body is affected by stress every single one because you're robbing its normal energy to take it for the stress reaction so let's talk about one system in particular this is your brain this is your brain on stress it's not good it's really really not good as I told you perform a bit of a brain geek and studying it's just been amazing and I became very brain centric for awhile hundred billion neurons between your ears approximately that's debated but yeah I mean that's a lot that's a big number no matter how off that is if you took one hundred billion pieces of paper and stacked and they would reach from here to the moon that's a big number of neurons ten thousand fit ten thousand neurons will fit on the head of a pin there's all not going on up there and it takes enormous energy it only weighs about three pounds and it takes twenty percent of your oxygen and take to run it so I don't know about you but three pounds is not twenty percent of my gross weight at all so it's really really intense metabolism up here the brain developed from the brains we share brain stem with all lower life forms and then we get into the midbrain which many other species share a midbrain reptilian brain sometimes the lower brains called then we have this cortex which was the last part to evolve and is the part that makes us humans it lets us think we are supposedly the only species that worries about the future and the past now I have seen some dog videos that make me a question that I have seen remorse on a dog to me that's thinking about the past and I've seen worried so I don't know if they process the same way but we we have made a fine art form of worrying about the past and the future not being present as you said this cortex the last part to develop because it's the last part to develop by the priorities of what is taken care of in our bodies it is the first part to go off line not enough sleep less cortical function not enough water less cortical function you could be ten percent dehydrated and start to lose I q points so be kind to your brain if you want to fight stress if you were kind to your brain it's going take care of a lot of other things as well. Now I just said all that about the brain the coordination of all the parts of our body is what's important this puppy's real important too as is every other part we we need all the parts working together but the brain I want to talk about specifically for the stress reaction so these were the jobs of your prefrontal cortex right there um just a little brain aside so if this is all up here, what happens if we bump our heads against things what are we hurting gets with the only animal animal organism that has its brain attached to its skull so that it doesn't hurt it by bumping it anyone the woodpecker, thea rest of us heard ourselves even with a helmet on we hurt ourselves thes air their frontal lobe functions so when we're in the stress reaction and we took the blood away from that part of the brain and sent it to our legs are we is good at these things we're really, really not, which is why in the middle of stress we make some pretty poor judgments it's why we're aren't we aren't able to do critical thinking I have a bumper sticker I live in asheville, north carolina, head of the bumper stickers I think we have critical thinking the next national deficit, we we can't do the kind of complex cortical functions when we're in the middle of stress, and if you're making your living through creativity, pointy, you need your frontal lobe on you needed to be emotionally regulating you needed to be making connections, but thing things that are novel, putting things together in different ways you need cortical function to be creative, so this stuff isn't just about not being ill it's about being it's your best if you want to be doing all these things well, that's, why you need a proactive stress strategy any questions on any of that? It was a lot of brain geek it's really interesting what you were saying about retaining things because a lot of people in the chat rooms, we have been asking that particular question, they're saying they cannot let go of the past that just stresses them out reality's saying that guest five, four zero two is saying that on our spirits, saying that some of this really hampered them over the years, it's just not being able to let go. But they said once they really began to just try and focus on letting go of things, their stress levels did reduce that's huge humans do not like to, like go really well, like I mean anything, I'm purging my house and I think that I'm not a hard time letting go. We don't like to let go of friends, we don't like to let go of ideas we do not like to let go of being right way do not like to let go of things on we don't like to let go of thoughts and in the brain mapping work that I used to do, there are certain parts of the front of right front of the brain when their overactive make it even harder to let go there's a, um, if you were to slice your tucker from in slice your brain and half this way this would be the frontal lobe this is your brain stem your eyeballs out here somewhere right in the middle here on the bumper of your thumb is the middle of the part that's saying danger no danger and there in in the center part is, um our surrounding that is a place called the singular gyros it's like the gear shift of the brain when you're stuck it's usually over active when you're stuck on a thought I used to do these guided visualizations with people and I would say I'm in san francisco right now I'd say it's a lot like the cable cars in san francisco, the chain is always running but you have the choice whether tow hook into it and go with it or not. So to me, that was always kind of a cool analogy of because when I first learned about meditations, I mean I'm a d d and I thought, you know, stop thinking who are they kidding and stop thinking about the thought that I'm worried about not happening but but I realized you don't have to stop thinking, but you can acknowledge it's there and like the chain for the cable car not hook it and let it go by so you're not judging it for being there you're accepting that it's part of you you have a brain that tends to go here but you also have this ability to unhook from it a little bit and I find that to be just I'm good with analogies or thinking of something physically that is sort of the same thing that I'm doing mentally helps me a metaphor did you have a question some uh yeah, I think so are there well about about this part about unhooking from the beyond meditation? Um are there other things like this kind of brain training that you found is useful for, um unhooking from the past? There are a number of things and they're different things for different people and they're going to start with what I call my cool down to power up techniques but yeah, they're levels of that there's talk that works there's forgiveness work that is really amazing because so much of what we're hooked into needs some forgiveness in some way either of ourselves or of the situation, their acceptance, their peace there is ah ah family blanking therapy family something therapy that actually talks about the committee that's in your head and when one of the voices is too vocal, which is sort of that being stuck on the pastor on a thought um how how you come back to the partner you want to think about it think it's family commitment therapy there are a number of different techniques you khun do meditation is great meditation actually re wires your brain and that's what all of this is about is rewiring your brain to what is healthier for you and then the other side of that about the executive center I've heard people talk of I figured, it's cool it's like people have poor executive functioning or or that kind of thing. So again, is there something that strengthens that part it's like, really, completely a use it or lose it system now they're people who have a head injury or a lesion or a wiring a problem for other reasons, you know, a pathology that exists, but for most of it, the more we use it, the more we train it, the smarter it gets that's neural plasticity s so we we have ways we can do brain training with, you know, that's, a very elaborate electrical system of brain training, but whenever you're learning your training it, whenever you're practicing, focus your training it whenever you're practicing meditation, that's a focus straight training, you are wiring your brain were in our busy busy lives and we're doing all of these things, and we spent an awful lot of the day doing stuff subconsciously were really only aware of a little bit of what we do, you know? Luckily, we've all had lunch and people are digesting at the same time they're listening, you are our bodies were doing our bodies are multitasking that's a whole another subject I'll get to later, I promise it's but there's a lot going on and we're very really only conscious of a little bit of it and we can train that weaken train toe have more choice in that, but while we're so busy because we get hooked into the chain and carried along with the business of the day, we need to disrupt that to get our awareness back, to put that ball back in the check engine light of ourselves, so we need to disrupt something you've got to stop the train of thought that you're on and actively choose to stop and think about how you are how am I right now? Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? If I were gonna have a little gauge with foreign needles on it on my dashboard, you know, where are they? So I've come up with some things that I've done with people to disrupt this because you really be it takes training at first, we don't naturally do this that's why on the dashboard of our car if our car needs oil, the light pops on that when we tend to pay a little more attention to it because it knows it has to disrupt our day when we're driving along thinking about where we're going it's got to disrupt us to bring our attention toe what it needs to be so if we want to interrupt ourselves to bring their attention we've got to get tricky about it so I use a method I call connect the dots I these little dots you can purchase it any office supplies store and place a little dot pick one color and you put it in several different places like on your phone probably not in the middle where it would need to read something probably more discreetly up here in the corner but I missed uh put it on your phone you put one on your steering wheel you put one on the refrigerator or on your laptop or somewhere unexpected and when you see that dot you stop and do the breath work and when you do that breath work you ask yourself how am I right now? So when the first breath the first five five five breath you ask yourself how am I physically mentally emotionally and spiritually right now it's disruptive but it's building had awareness method muscle and you've got to disrupt so after about two weeks I won't see this red dot anymore I just won't see it it's still there I won't see it then it change colors that's the trick you got you got to keep disrupting yourself the other hint that I have up there is something I've done with a lot of clients who are super busy is tie the disruption to another habit. You're going to go through a door anyway, so every time your hand touches the door handle, take it as a moment to say, how am I who do I want to be? Just make a rich will love it because this becomes a habit in that session. Part three is completely about how to create these habits successfully, so love to have you doing for that. But creating a ritual, a ritual is the beginning of a habit. It's interrupting what you were doing, whether it's to do a ritual you already have in place, whether that was prayer that's been mentioned or ritual, you stop in the middle of the day to eat lunch, tie this to that and check in with yourself. How am I right now? If I were going to put myself on that curve, where am I right now and what I need and who do I want to be? So I'm going to put that together with the breath work as we go forward. But do you understand the concept of disrupting your business to check in any comments coming from that? People have tried to adopt thing it's interesting on there said that, you know, they put them in different areas and they've tried in a different place, and it does help teo focus. And almost to train their brain it does what it does and there are gaps that do this is, well, there's a good habits app. There are a number of aps I have one uh I don't remember its name right now, but they're they're different ones that will bring a little bell or, um, just, you know, a ding we're basically pavlov's dogs weaken train to something to change our thoughts and that's a good thing, that's no place to city for good. Any questions on any of that? Great, so very simple idea. So what if you've increased your awareness and you say to yourself, oh, no, I'm stressed, ok? Now what now you need to be able to call that down, don't you? You want to dampen down that over firing of magdala and cool your brain down to power up the frontal lobe again? You want to cool down the stress reaction, power up your frontal lobe, so they're in a huge variety of ways to do that, and it doesn't matter what you pick, it matters that you practice it, you could pick anything, but it matters that you practice it. The breath work is the one that I mentioned first, because it's just so darned easy, just using the breath to cool down your physiology to cool down that chemical an electrical reaction that's occurring in response to the stress so the fivefive five breath or four seven eight breath or a six in six hour of four to four to breath whatever it is using that breath test cool down the system so I want you to disrupt life enough to check in with yourself but the ball back in that awareness and then practice cooling it down now like anything say you have a piano recital it's a really good idea to practice before it's time to perform so the more you practice the stuff in general when I first started working with clients let's thank you know four times a day just stop and do the breath work even if you just do it two times a day you're on the road you know what's really fascinating as you start to do it as you start to play with cooling down, you get a better awareness of what cooled down feels like um there's some groups that call that coming back to neutral it's kind of like we've been have you ever been driving on the highway and you're going seventy five miles an hour because the speed limit seventy and you get off the highway into a neighborhood with the speed limits forty five and you feel like you are just crawling that's a perception change so when we're living in fifteenth gear and we try and slow down at all it feels really slow when we don't trust it and we feel like we're going to forget what we were doing we're gonna lose our thoughts, we're gonna lose our edge you walked your gonna get smarter you're going to get more effective trust me, I have a big buttons says trust me, I'm a doctor trust me, I promise you that as you slow down a little, you won't actually get maur effective and you have to play with it and you have to even acknowledge that you're going to feel anxious starting that anxiety is totally normal. I still I laugh now whenever I get off the highway and go into a neighbourhood and go slowly because I really like to drive fast and when I slowed, when I find myself frustrated that I've slowed down, I just kind of laugh and say, you know, that's just me, I really like I have a brain that likes to zoo that's where my brain iss and I just have to laugh at it and say, you know, I know that's also not my most effective place to be zooming, so slow it down and I'll make more sense any questions on that people seem to really engage by the dots they're still talking about them and how they're going to be using them so that's something that's very simple idea that people really latched yeah, yeah and you know, this can represent a number of other ways that you can do it but um but yeah, I really uh I'm writing a book actually called connect the dots because I think it's about connecting a lot of the dots I think it's about connecting our wisdom to our experience to what's going on our hearts to our minds connection is what what we all really need so I like the dots for that purpose for the cool down part um I think the breath work will be very uh beneficial to me and I think I'll use that quite a bit to gobble down if you're in a situation where you're in a meeting or like you're in a conversation with someone where you can't take thous twenty seconds too step back and close your eyes and breathe what are some other mechanisms that you have or still do it but don't close your eyes ok step back mentally for a second step back emotionally for a second allowed her to be space right there take a deep breath before you say anything just take a one long slow deep breath um there's a center from mindfulness in massachusetts and they started this process I guess this this was pre cellphones everybody had a phone on the desk and they had a company wide policy that you took a deep breath before you answered the phone and it changed the character so back to the pause just take the pause you need to cool that I mean right in your face in a meeting and you're really threatening me I can just recognize it I can take that breath from the inside people have a variety of other habits that they dio a tapping um some people will do some people will put their hand just on their chest nobody knows what you're doing when you're in conversation you just you know, sit a hand here it's self comforting I'm just holding myself for a second emotionally during that or recognizing that there's this this space in which I need to do that I'd love to hear other people's ideas on that because we've all been in that situation where you're triggered and it's urgent and you want out they're also ways to get out of it too with to realize that you're triggered and let the urgency go a little bit and say you know you know what I want to think about this for just a minute um I let me get back to you on that it's really important and what you're really saying is you just really sent me so and before I bite your head off I think I'll go calm down a second but I want you to know it just said was important right now it's important because it made me really mad it's later it might be important because it was important but having just, you know, uh, space creators, pause creators for yourself can be really valuable.

Class Description

Panic, anxiety, and stress are paralyzing emotions that can stand in the way of the life you want. Freeing yourself from the grip of these toxic thoughts and feelings will give you clarity you can use to make better business and life decisions. Join nationally recognized stress expert Dr. Cynthia Ackrill for a course that will give you powerful tools to relieve stress and develop greater emotional resilience.

Everyone has to negotiate difficult life circumstances – financials problems, conflicts, and business challenges are woven into the fabric of everyday life. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are especially vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed. Learn how to manage life’s ups and downs using insights from stress management research and positive psychology and you will bounce back more quickly from life’s inevitable setbacks. In this course, you will develop a framework for evaluating your stress levels and your behavioral responses, and then identify cues you can use to get back on course. Dr. Ackrill will explain the physiological impact of stress and offer techniques for minimizing the disruption it can have on your body and life.

Stress, worry, and anxiety lead to procrastination and burnout, which cause more problems--and more worry. You can stop the cycle. Join us for Stress is Optional and learn an effective, proven approach to relieving stress for good.