This month has come to end with a group workshop on ‘How to Overcome Stress through Neuroscience’ for Access Volunteers. It was a group of enthusiastic volunteers and trainers exploring and gaining awareness on Stress and our brain’s ability to process it. Not only did we gain knowledge but went a bit further with answering questions that taps into reflection. My interest in stress began in my young adult life when I struggled with an unexplained Chronic Urticaria. After 6 years of trying to find help through various methods of treatment, one doctor pointed out that this could be stress induced. In a couple of months I was completely normal by practicing just a rested lifestyle.
Overcoming stress not only has mental health benefits but translates into better health in the long term.
We started off by defining stress and looking at common symptoms with anxiety and even depression. Anxiety is easily described as prolonged stress.We explored Internal and External causes to stress and what is an optimal level of stress. Our Nervous system and its autonomic function of fight or flight through the Sympathetic Nervous system(SNS) helps us react to danger and gives us the acceleration needed to be safe. Whereas the Parasympathetic nervous system(PNS) gives us the rest and restore function needed to heal and break to bring a healthy balance. Our SNS has no feedback loop and can keep escalating stress if we do not activate our PNS. Voluntary activation of PNS can help us tap into our rest and restore.
Three ways to address stress
- Reduce the Stressors or Triggers
- Changing our appraisal and forming new neural pathways
- Treating the symptoms of the stress
We learnt a few techniques to activate the Para Sympathetic nervous system through
Mindfulness as a lifestyle
Simple stretching to give muscle signals of relaxation
Induced Yawning 🙂
Most of all these techniques should be cultivated in our everyday life to have results. Click here for a guided Mindfulness Bodyscan.
Changing our appraisals or judgement and perceptions of situations, behavior or circumstances can heavily effect our ability to handle stress. Our mindset shifts start with our thoughts and we explored how neurons that fire together wire together. The more we set ourselves on new though patterns our brain has the ability to handle situations differently.
Replacing fictions with facts and les with true is a way to begin with this process
An example : When my child starts school, she is at risk of being infected with Covid 19.
What are the facts? Research talks about children below a certain age to be less at risk. My child is old enough to follow hygiene routines. I can teach her to follow certain hygiene to reduce the risk. I have to find out what measures the school is taking?
Our brain naturally chooses well worn neural pathways and it takes effort and commitment to build new ones. But through support this is possible. By following a well balanced diet and keeping hydrated our brain has more resources to handle externally induced stress. Doing activities we enjoy , using our right brain and indulging in creative activities help us live a balanced life.
Many interesting questions were discussed on
How to find an optimum level of stress?
What if you don’t recognize the source of stress?
What if it comes all together like relocation or major life change?
How can we reduce the production of cortisol
Trauma induced stress and how developing years and parental acceptance has a relationship with handling stress.
Real Relaxation vs mindless scrolling
Click here for a guided Mindfulness Bodyscan.
Find out your stress level
Interested in running this workshop in your organisation, contact us
Do you struggle with stress and want to have support in building new neural pathways,contact us for a free explore call.
Is there an antidote to Stress by Katie of Seebeyond.
Relaxed and Content (Part One): Activating the Parasympathetic Wing of Your Nervous System – © Rick Hanson, PhD, 2007