It happens to most of us every day. And most everyday stressors are things that we can handle fairly easily if we just remember a few simple strategies:
1. Engage your vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that wanders throughout the body. Stimulation of the vagus nerve tends to slow your heart rate and create a calming response.
The easiest way to engage the vagus?
Take a deep breath.
Both moving your diaphragm and the exhalation part of the breath will put your vagus nerve in gear and help reduce your body’s stress response.
2. Release your death grip on things you can’t control.
When you find yourself stuck in traffic and late for an appointment, how do you react? Does your grip tighten on the steering wheel? Do you start talking to the traffic, cursing its slowness and bemoaning your fate?
Let’s get something straight: You can’t control the traffic.
All of your moaning, cursing, grip-tightening, pulse-elevating behavior is not going to get that traffic to move.
So why curl yourself into a stress ball over it?
Since there’s nothing you can do about it, just relax. Being uptight isn’t going to get you to your appointment any faster and it’s likely only doing damage to your body rather than helping you in any way.
It’s hard to release control, but there is a large percentage of our stress that is directly related to trying to control things that we will never have any control over whether it’s traffic, weather, your company’s promotions policy, or someone else’s behavior.
It’s okay to take action when and where it is needed and you can actually have some influence, but learn to be okay with not controlling the things that are out of your control.
3. Remember that it usually works out okay.
So you’re late for your appointment and stuck in traffic. You’ve tied yourself in knots fretting about being late.
There. Has that helped anything?
Let me ask you this: How many times in the past have you been late for an appointment?
And, when you were late for past appointments, did …