This morning I dropped my car off at a local garage for it’s MOT. Never one to miss an opportunity for a bit of sneaky exercise I wore my running clothes and ran back.
It was a gorgeous sunny morning and I had a lovely run, except for one field where a herd of cows got my adrenalin levels racing!
I was quietly plodding along when the cows started to notice me. One looked at me with pricked ears and then the others followed. One started to run towards me and then the whole lot followed. All of a sudden I was running as fast as I could for the gate. It was such a relief when it slammed shut behind me!
So I lived to write the blog and it got me thinking about fear…
Our minds and bodies are so clever. When we are in a dangerous situation our body undergoes an amazing change. Our mind perceives a source of danger and this stimulates the hypothalamus in our brain which controls the stress and relaxation in our body. A message is sent to the adrenal glands which activates the sympathetic system. Adrenalin is released and pumps through our system allowing us to face the danger. We have increased focus and agility in this state and our muscles can function in an elevated state because of the increased blood flow. Truly amazing.
So as I felt myself sprinting for the gate I really was going as fast as my legs would carry me and for good reason! The mind body connection was working at it’s very best and it saved me from the danger of the herd of cows.
The only down side to this amazing mind body reaction is that for many of us it can come into play when we really don’t need it to. Maybe at work if we get some bad feedback or maybe if we worry that we have upset a friend. In these sorts of situations we don’t really want the body to go through this state of change, we don’t want the body to have the stress reaction. Really what we want is to stay calm to deal with the situation more effectively, we want to think before we act in these situations.
It can be really useful to know some exercises to help ground you in the moment when you start to notice your body overreacting to a non danger situation. Learning to relax can help you to live life in a more balanced way.
Next time you feel your mind activating a stress response in your body and you feel as though you are on high alert for no good reason then try this…
Sit on a chair with your back upright.
Pay attention to your breath.
Breath in for 5 and then out for 7.
So this for 3 minutes and you will really notice the difference.
Each time your mind wanders from the counting simply start again. Don’t tell yourself off, this is completely normal.
By doing this exercise you will put yourself back in control. Just taking a few minutes to calm yourself can make all the difference to the decisions you make and the way you act.
Come on a Revitalise Day to see how you can get the most out of your mind and body in all sorts of situations.