STRESS – Reprogramming the Emergency Response Loop
We are in the final week of our 30 Day Self-Care Challenge. Many of you got off to a great start and are really doing well with this challenge. We hope you are seeing some positive results from the changes you have been implementing. Keep on keeping on and let us know what you have accomplished.
For others you may have started strong and then got sidelined somewhere along the path. Continue to be gentle with yourself through this challenge. We are all learning together and there is no right or wrong. In fact, for me I have learned the most about myself and self-care on the days that I have struggled with the challenge. Receiving support from a partner always helped me to move forward and start again. Kind words and a gentle reminder to take care of myself was all I needed most days.
What causes you to feel STRESSED?
We all have experienced stress in our life. What do you do when you are stressed? Even having a caring partner to support us may not be enough on some days. Stress can surface when you are getting the kids out the door and onto the bus, with frustrations that arise at work or with something more serious like an ongoing health issue for you or a loved one. Life happens and you can find yourself dealing with multiple stressors. These accumulated stressors take a toll on our body.
What happens in your body?
We get caught up in what Donna Eden calls, ‘The Emergency Response Loop’. The stresses and pressures of our daily life trigger the primitive brain centers into an emergency or fight-or-flight response:
- 80% of the blood leaves our fore-brain impairing our ability to think clearly
- Stress chemicals pour into our bloodstream
- Stress response emotions sweep over us leaving us feeling more fearful, anxious, angry or aggressive
- Our perceptions become distorted
In her book, Energy Medicine, Donna Eden states that “stress has an immediate impact on every system in your body. Its effects are cumulative and learning to better manage your body’s responses to stress is one of the most important steps you can take for maintaining vibrant health.”
What can you do?
The good news is that you can use your body in a positive way to help decrease and even eliminate the stress you feel. You can train your nervous system to no longer set off a crisis response to your daily stessors.
Identify your OMG points (Neurovascular holding points)
Can you remember the last time you were stressed? You may have even put your hand or hands up to your forehead and said, “OMG!” Your body instinctively knows exactly what to do. But from now on we want you to do this consciously and on purpose!
Two neurovascular points – the bumps on your forehead directly above your eyes – impact blood circulation throughout the entire body. They are particularly valuable because by holding these points under stress, the energy from your fingertips keeps the blood from leaving your forebrain. More important, this can draw blood back into your forebrain even after you’ve begun to ‘lose it’.
Follow the directions below and try it for yourself:
Stress – Reprogramming the Emergency Response Loop
The next time you are stressed and feel overwhelmed or highly emotional:
- Bring to mind a current situation or memory where you had a hard time coping.
- Lightly place your fingertips on your forehead, covering the “OMG” points.
- Put your thumbs on your temples next to your eyes, breathing deeply.
- Keep the scene in your mind over the next few minutes.
- As the blood returns to your forebrain over the next few minutes, you will find yourself beginning to think more clearly.
Experiment with a single memory, using the technique daily until you can hold the memory in your mind without feeling a stress response in your body. Then go to another memory. Not only can you use this technique systematically for working with the accumulated stresses from your past, you can hold the points whenever you are feeling stressed or overly emotional.
These energy tools and many others can be found in Donna Eden’s book, “Energy Medicine”. I use these tools regularly myself and with many of my clients both during their bodywork sessions and as self-care suggestions between sessions.
I encourage you to use these tools even before you begin to feel overwhelmed and stressed. This is great tool to teach your children too! Managing your response to stress may be one of your body’s most valuable self-care tools.