Tools for Cooling Down


Stress is Optional


Lesson Info

Tools for Cooling Down

So one of the things to do is recognize when you're triggered what you're adding to it, everything is a story how does this end? It was a dark and stormy night and the minute a story starts with that do we expect sunshine and roses? No, we tell ourselves stories day in and day out in fact it's the human condition toe learn by story that's how we have evolved are written languages pretty late in this in this scene we tell stories and we fit our life into the stories of who we should b there's that should word again we're fitting whatever happens to us into the story of what we think should happen. So from that story we get expectations and those expectations can be the things that set us up for stress. I know it's sounding a little bit like a circle, but but follow me here so when you need to cool down, one of the things I love to do is use questions because curiosity is a frontal lobe function and when you ask a question you're automatically powering back up your frontal lobe, which is...

a good thing. So some questions to ask r I call them the three what's anna who what's the data what's really going on here because we're not we're most of us when we're emotional, we have gone to conclusion we have skipped way beyond data hopped a few assumptions and we've gone to conclusion and blame, so taking the breath and asking yourself, what is the data? Why don't I really? No here, I know that this person standing in front of me is I rate, I know that I'm pretty angry too. I know that what she just accused me of, I don't think is true, but that's the only data I have here, I don't know really the part where I think she's hated me all along, and I really think she wants my job and she can't wait to get rid of me. I'm making all that part up. So what story? What expectations am I adding to the picture own it own that we do that? So when you're upset and you need to be cooled down, try and sort those out what's the known and what's the part that I'm assuming most people know that assuming makes, uh you know what? If you and me it's, um, but we do it and we we do it because it's, what humans do, they need to make assumptions we need to make stories because it allows us to predict what could happen and remember, our first duty is to say safe, so those predictions are part of what we're supposed to do, I'm supposed to decide if what that face you just made it me, he didn't really but that face that you just needed me, I'm supposed to be able to predict that means that you're about to say something nasty to me, so I should get my defenses up because if I need to protect myself from you, I need to know to do that he totally didn't make a face, but you can see why that's part of our safety net and that's great when it's protecting us. But when it's getting in our way, it's not so great. So by stopping in the middle of this and allowing yourself to have some questions, you can really save yourself a lot of hard, eh? And it it takes a little bit of courage to be honest about this, we are pretty tied into making up stories and spreading them. We have entire industries devoted to it and and lots of fans. We love a good story and there's nothing like feeling like somebody else is the problem to make us feel better. It's what we do is humans, and it doesn't make us bad people, but we need to be aware of it and and recognize when we're adding to her own stress. I also think as we go through all of this work, it's important to recognize when we're not when we're not on ly increasing our stress we're adding to the stress bull there is a cesspool a crisis, an epidemic of stress out there and it's really important to recognise we add to it so sometimes when we're stressed out remember how somebody said you know I hate it when I'm when someone walks in the room and they're so stressed out and I start to feel their stress well guess what you're that person sometimes so asking yourself you know what's the data what am I adding to it what do you know what my adding to the stress pool here? So the third question to ask yourself is what's needed now you've checked in what what's really needed in this situation maybe it's americans say maybe it's for me to get out of this situation right now so I can think clearly maybe that's what's needed right at the moment is I need some space maybe that's what's needed is I need to protect myself I need to be aware that I need to protect myself because I am in danger may be what's needed is recognizing that I'm really the person who's wacked out I missed a meal and I haven't slept and I'm probably not my best self in what's needed now is for me to step back before I do something really stay keep it and get the face pom concept going and isn't it interesting that we face pom we're bumping up our frontal lobe when they show pictures of people stress, they show them all doing this it's like we're supporting the very part that needs supporting in that moment, just an interesting observation. So what's the data what's this story, we're adding, the expectations were adding, are we expecting ourselves to have made the right choice, or we expecting that we should always be nice? Are we expecting something that isn't realistic or that we don't even know for sure we're expecting that person's going to attack us? And we don't we all know that right now, then what's needed what do you really need for this situation? What's called for right at this moment and the fourth one is a bonus, but I love it. Who do I wanna be right now? I teach in a lot of leadership programs, and the more I work in the leadership world, the more I am just so convinced that leadership is about choosing who to be when you choose who you want to be, what you're gonna do comes naturally. We spend so much time on strategies and budgets and plans and that's all very important, I'm not discounting and of it, any of it, but who you're going to be from situation to situation is what's going to hold you the best. So if you want that the caller who said you know I want to be nice well if that's your goal you're going to make it you're really going to make it and it's a choice you can make hopefully one without giving away part of yourself to do it maybe there's something you need in order to be nice at that moment you need to know that you're seen there's um uh david rock wrote a book about your brain at work and he calls it the scarf model and these air other human needs that we have status it gets terrible when somebody makes you feel small, it feels awful if isn't really awful status is important to us because we're competitive species and we're looking to see where we are and we want to be equal we've done coaching exercises where we stand one person standing over another in the person who's below feels horrible doesn't even feel good to stand over really feels better when we're side to side so that's the status certainty we talked about this earlier we all want certainty is there any such thing a certainty, eh doesn't keep us from wanting it recognizing that we want autonomy that's one of the intrinsic motivators we want to know we have a choice that's what autonomy is we want related nous that's the are of scarf we want to feel connected if we have you ever had a conversation with somebody and they're totally not connected to you at all and you kind of feel like you're you feel like an alien you just landed on the wrong planet it doesn't feel good and the other thing we really want is fairness I know I was the little kid running around and it's not fair and my mother would say life's not fair dear but it should be it's I wanted to be fair well we truly wanted to be fair and that's not a bad thing as long as we allow ourselves to know that it it's not always fair and if fairness is the need that's not being met for us we recognize it and then we know what we can do with that if it's just recognizing it so that I want to practice the breath work and then I want to take some questions on this so we're going to do the five five, five breath again and this time I'm gonna have you asked yourself a little bit different questions why you do it it so just pretend that you you've been upset by something on dh I want you to take a deep breath in and exhale slowly and as you breathe into a count of three for five think about what's the data that you're dealing with holding an out two three four five and as you breathe in two three for five and hold what air the story and expectations that you're adding and out two, three, four, five and in think about what's needed now hold two, three, four, five and out physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and in two three, four five holding who do you want to be in this situation and out two, three, four five just take one more into three, four, five hold two, three, four, five out two, three, four five so hopefully you're getting the idea that you can combine breathing with thinking where you're probably pretty coordinated at this point your life and can breathe and think at the same time and once you get used to the rhythm of five, you kind of know in hold and out that's when you can start to ask yourself some questions if you're as erica's saying in the moment triggered in the moment nobody knows you're doing this that's one of the beauties of it you don't have to close your eyes and put your hand on your stomach if you practice that other times when you're in the meeting in your trigger, you could just slow your breath down here what's really fascinating I was doing this organizational effectiveness project with his group that were contentious would be a mild word for this group and I sat in the middle of this group and I just start slowing my breathing down and I what I looked around the room and I've seen all these people like they're getting heated there breathing on the upper chest which isn't really helping it increases your sympathetic nerve tone and I just kept slowing mine down in response and I watched as other people started to rhythm with me it's really quite fascinating to see what power it has and once you get good is slowing and you can then stop and ask yourself if you don't want to do these together, take your five breaths and then ask your questions what's my data what's this story what we need and who do I want to be? So hopefully by having some tools to just cool down and some tools to kind of switch it up a little bit back to your frontal lobe you can get back that control so I'd love to hear what's coming up for people all right scorpio was saying they really are finding the five, five, five really awesome and that's saying they're really going to be using that technique regularly something thank you really really helping them up for you? Yeah, how about working for you too? I yeah I especially like the who do I want to be at the end because it's reiterating that you have control that that that person is not making you be something you have control to how you want to be and potentially that's going to help you with some should zai should have should have done that or I should be doing this like you're choosing to do that um and just like this is sort of a nod thing, but if I could just go through the example with you um so love it when I get it when I like I need to get blood taken and I have had a paradigm about myself that I am really bad with medical things so that evokes a lot of stress and me when I'm at the the doctors or what injustice you know, for us medical people that stresses us too if we don't want to hurt you so you know, as I'm waiting to get my blood taken, I'm breathing and I'm thinking what's the data and the data is, you know, I'm at the, um, doctor's office ultimately I'm happy to be getting results to sort of know where I am um and then the story and expectations that I'm adding so the story is that I'm just really bad with this I get anxious with this, um, it's going to hurt, I'm probably going to pass out those air that's what I would be telling myself I'm like that's what I would answer go a little bit further with that what's more of that story um I'm afraid I'm fearful uh what are you afraid of and you can always stop me no no no this is good um I'm afraid of passing out at least there's putt there's part of that because I have passed out in the past when I get embarrassed about that um but yeah, I know that there's something more that I need to work through because this is always a battle so I just heard it too I was embarrassed because I was pat because I passed out so you shouldn't pass out right right yes he right gosh you're still sitting here lovely person who passed amazing isn't it and yeah yeah that that that's kind of the fun part of playing with this and that part of the fun coaching and thank you for letting me have that discussion with you because it's funny how we tag or fear at certain steps and this story hasn't there's always a story under a story if your friend passed out because something happened would you look at that friend and say my gosh you're a weak human being you're probably not a full human being because you just passed out at that could you do that? You know and I think it's less maybe it's less of the judgement um a lot of times there is a judgment but I think in that moment it's more of a like inconveniencing mill workers or something like that embarrassing so I guess there is is the judgment and that it's also inconveniencing the workers but as I say that me freaking out is also in communicating workers so right yeah like that the majority of people who are in health care the majority are there because they care carrying is what they do for a living carrying is where they get their reward caring is their reason for being there karen you've not inconvenience the one iota right by story yeah, no that's great and if you pass out you gave him something to talk about today and reason to feel purpose fall thank you well and what? Yeah, like you're in other aspects of my life like with anxiety attacks or something like that I actually I've learned to sort of welcome those feelings in and not push back and resist um and this is another place that just like you're saying where I can sort of accept that because the more I push away from not passing out the more unlikely to pass out even you know, if I was I'm bringing it in yeah, because you just ramped up your sympathetic nervous system tau overload, right? So if you could go in there and do the breath work and calm you yourself said that the sympathetic nervous system can't hijack you because that's what's happened you get hijacked, so if you khun do two things one physically calm yourself absolutely physically calm yourself and then have the mental emotional discussion with yourself and as you just said, tie it to the bigger purpose the spiritual part of you know, I want to be healthy, so I want the results of this putting those together can be really powerful. Great. Thank you for sharing that. That was that was big. Thank you. Thank you. Anything else coming up, simon and the you want to share? I could see the one that I was thinking about. So on over the lunch break, I got a email from a friend of mine and he wrote in the data, wass, uh, you know, recommended reading and I I think I, uh, but it was this, um, I think I added a story onto it that it was like it maybe it's, true or not that you know, who's criticizing me about something. And so then, um and so then in my mind, you know, I'm thinking of all this response is oh, you know, your oh, if you can't you ever drop this that, you know, and everything around why he was, you know, saying this particular thing about it, um, so but so what we do, isn't it yeah, and I mean, I was mullen it for her yeah like oh you know where you think you're so great but you know you're not much for energy we'd have if we hadn't had all those conversations all day between our only years so so in that so if I work through it s o love texas so the first part is the data is I got an email and you know he said and said read this art I recommend read this article then I guess the story is that he you know, thinks that I'm not doing this particular thing right? And um you know and I'm a bad person for it um and then what how do you expectations is that my own expect how does that part that that you're expecting expectations and stories ride today from that story what's your expectation of what's gonna happen next or who you should be or that's the story he doesn't think you're good enough at this uh then what do you expect goingto happen? Well I mean I guess not nothing in that sense okay? Do you expect he'll be angry if you don't do this uh hey will heal he will always have he'll have this negative opinion of me until I fixed you know, until I change this particular thing that you think has this perception of I think he has the perception my first could you be thinking that if you didn't also wonder it yourself yeah, I'm proud. Yeah, maybe I have yeah, I wonder that. So without diving too deeply into this person's relationship, we have this universal thing that I'm gonna touch on several times in these sessions somewhere we feel not good enough I'm not good enough because I'm gonna pass out. I'm not good enough because I I haven't clearly made to a person who's a friend of mine the impression that I'm good enough at this and you may feel good enough at this but it's still taps your inside little voice that says maybe I'm not good enough maybe I'm not good enough we all have that little self doubt or voice we just do and it can make us angry and we want to fight back and prove it wrong or commit I just feel defeated but it's a common human theme along with the fear with just you know that the false expectations appearing riel is fear thank you and then how'd away so in here you know what I want to hear what do you need to do? So what I need to do well in the with one the actual physical actions I can just I can read the article and and I could write him back and thank him for it uh huh think about how I can be better in that area I guess are there other choices I could not read the article you know the gut response was to write back and say oh why don't you know look stops why don't you look it might yourself you know b reactive or something those of the other responses um but there's another responses to be curious I'm curious why you sent this and then you'll hear what his story is around sending it uh and maybe I don't I probably thought about that but I don't probably want that I want to hear it because I wanted to say it's like they go there who do you want to be with him? Well I I thought about that I want to be this um more the person who in in that situation is that you act with integrity and in the um you know that doesn't come off it's reactive or you know there's comes office you know thankful and accepting and like you know the big person and you know so when you just made that statement to me did you feel your energy shift because you just settled when I says I want who you wanted to bay yeah you just settled interesting to a less stress state huh and now you can go back to the problem and you'll be a more grounded with it thank you. I appreciate that any online chatter it's really interesting what people saying triggers them they were irrational is now coming up a lot it's a thing, you know? They're just they're not absolute sure they're able to define what it is because it is it's irrational things on red scorpio was actually with us earlier in the week in the studio, so welcome back, they're online now saying I myself suffer from panic disorder, but strangely it is triggered by irrational things have planning makes her feel good. I'm an anxious anne that's a great name is saying yes, panning is also helpful for me, but often her emotions get in the way and it's the emotions that trigger things for her. So were these complex creatures where our mental state and our emotional state and their physical state are all tied together? And I love what I'm hearing because we could be triggered from any of those realms? It can be something mental, a thought it could be an emotional thing, it can be a physical thing that sends us toward that panic. No panic panic is really at the end of the spectrum of anxiety to the point where you're physically now reacting to a concern, a feeling that you're not safe. I mean, this is all about not feeling safe, I don't feel safe in some way I'm worried that I'm not safe, teo, I'm panicked. That I'm not safe, and that can occur from all of these different venues what's cool is that because we have mental, physical and emotional parts to this, and a spiritually part that holds us? If one of those parts tend to be triggered, we can use the other parts to help calm it down, so if you know that you're emotionally triggered, you can use your physical being, and then you're thoughtful being to help calm down your emotional being, to realize that even though they're all meshed together, that gives you actually more op opportunity to do something about it. That may feel complicated at first, but too simplified. If you're a person who has panic disorder, I used to work in the e r before he went to medical school, was a respiratory therapist check, and people would come in with a panic disorder and the breath that kills with panic disorder, which is not really compatible with living like an asthmatic, and to just put your hands on that person and slow the breathing down markedly changed it. Well, now, I've had the privilege of seeing what that does to a brainwave, and I know it. I'm not saying you can panic disorder is a form of stress reaction that your brain has learned anything, that your brain learns it wires together until it's at really easy thing to do, it's the same is learning to play a piano piece so well that you can think about something else while you're playing the piece, but you've learned something that doesn't function for you. You've learned an awkward habit that is uncomfortable, so the way to get out of that is to develop some other habits toe wire some different pathways, and it doesn't mean you stop it or you stop the tendency toward it right away, and you may never lose that a tendency for something to trigger you, but you gain the space to know that you're in that space and you've got some tools to deal with it, so we're not going to spend a lot of time on panic, but I hope that makes sense that it's just it's a pattern that's been learned in the face of anxiety which comes from his stress. Ah feeling of not being safe and the brain has this wired reaction to it, and there are some ways out of it and please keep practicing them and learning because it's uncomfortable. Andi coach mn is saying something very similar tore erica was saying earlier, saying they do have plans for handling things and that they have a strategy, but it becomes buried in how others react so quite often the reaction from other people knocks them next knocks their own planet so how to feel more proactive when the other person is a variable in your equations actually and part of that is just realizing that we can't make an equation that determines the behavior of somebody else there's a story that won't play out well it never does it never plays out well and marriage is the favorite place out well in parenting when we think we can change the behavior of another person um and so who do you want to be when you can't predict the reaction of the other people tough stuff we'll talk I mean this is this is grown up stuff and reality is saying I totally identify with this reality they say she panics over plane trips now I do too but I think a lot of love to travel I do its my passionate that's why make yourself do it but it's is it a lack of control things it because we all feel it's a moment we are we are completely in somebody else's hands is that what drives that panic and it gets escalated things feed into these pathways um there's something called the qin ling effect I get migraines migraines air is very specific neural pathway gone wrong and it gets triggered by something and people are familiar with that that you know could it be red wine could it be chocolate? No but there were these things that trigger the firing of these neurons to occur and as you get older and do it more often, it takes less and less to trigger it. Well, the same thing is true of that's more of a phobia, that version of panic disorder that there's a specific trigger that causes me to feel out of control, and it kindles mohr, and more can add to it, and you need to weed those back out again and keep reversing that physical reaction and doing the mento work with it to get the emotions, to come back down again, and it takes work in practice. Yes, is everything. And how about what people are learning from this course is how to put practices into place to help him the next time they're in stressful situations. I hope so, but we have a lot more to come in our next session. We're going to be talking about system izing, your stress management. So what? So what? So what we're gonna be learning there, cindy? What? We had the basic system up here before, of, you know, the awareness and the cool down and then going forward. What does it look like to plan to go forward with less stress? Because face it, we put ourselves in situations over and over again with that are going to land, land in stress, so how could we plan that better? And we spend so much of our busy lives that they said, reacting, reacting, reacting. How can we get to that place where we get rid of some of the automatic stress that we do over and over again and put ourselves back on our calendar? Because that's what's missing?

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.