1 Easy Step to Take Your Stress Back (HPC: E28)

Raise your thumb if you feel STRESS on a normal day!

We busy moms (and dads) tend to experience stress and feel it right down to our breathing and heart rate, and it affects the way we parent, our productivity, and our own mental AND physical health.

Today I’m so excited to use my stress mastery training (I’m “nearly” certified as a Stress Mastery Educator) to teach you about how our brains respond to stress, how it affects our bodies, and best of all, how WE CAN be in control of it!

Check out this one simple technique that you can teach your kids!

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Stress Relief Video Time Stamps

  • 0:22: I’m currently almost done with my training as a Stress Mastery Educator through the American Institute of Stress. I can’t wait until I’m done with my certification and can share more with you guys! Today we will talk about how stress impacts your brain, how that in turn impacts your body and how you can take control of your reaction to stress.

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  • 1:11: I’m not going to tell you to shorten your to-do list, because that isn’t always practical and doable. When people talk about stress management, they often focus on reducing the external stressors, but that’s not always possible.

We can control the way we respond to external stressors. -Katie Kimball

How Your Brain Responds to Stress

  • 1:49: When our brain is interpreting sensory input it goes from the bottom up. At the base of your brain is the sensing part. Some people call it the “lizard part” of your brain. When you sense something, this part of your brain becomes active within a fifth of a second. For example, when a bug flies at your face you flinch or blink. You don’t think first: you just do it. When you feel stressed this part of your brain will increase your heart rate and breathing. It controls the immediate physical reaction.
  • 3:18: The middle part of your brain is sometimes called your “monkey brain.” This part of your brain feels emotion and creates connection with others. Looking back to our example of a bug flying in your face: after you flinch, but still very quickly, you might feel an emotion such as fear or annoyance.
  • 4:26: The top portion of our brain is the largest and it is where our higher level thinking takes place. Here we think through decisions, process thoughts, make goals and plan. Basically, the mental processes unique to humans happen in the upper level of our brain. Here is where you decide what to do in response to the bug that just hit you in the face. Maybe you squash the bug, or move to avoid more bugs.

Basic Needs for Processing Stress Effectively

  • 5:15: Each part of our brain has a different basic need. The lizard part of our brain needs to feel safe. Since everything goes through this part of our brain first, this is very important. When you’re chronically stressed and don’t feel safe, or a child is being bullied you can get stuck in lizard brain. This makes it difficult to connect with others and do any upper level thinking.

Is it any wonder that kids who are being bullied or live in unstable home conditions are having trouble learning? -Katie Kimball

  • 6:32: The mid-level of our brain needs to feel connected. This doesn’t mean you need to be with people all the time, but you need to know that you have people who love you and you have support when you need it.
  • 7:30: When we are constantly stressed we drag our own thinking out of higher cognition and down into monkey/lizard brain.

If I’m feeling anxious and fearful, I’m not going to be able to complete a task as well. -Katie Kimball

How you can Control Your Stress Response

  • 8:38: The great news is that we can control our stress response. The key is that it’s not from the top down. Telling yourself to stop stressing out is not going to be effective in the long run. If we can speak to the lower parts of our brain and work from the bottom up we are more likely to be successful.
  • 9:17: Here are two big takeaways thus far: when we feel fearful or disconnected we can’t access the best thinking parts of our brains, and you can control the parts of your brain.
  • 9:40: Now the practical “how to!” When you feel fear, what are you still in charge of? Your breath. We can make ourselves breathe slower, which in turn slows your heart rate and sends the signal to your brain that you’re safe.

Breathing to Relieve Stress

  • 10:29: The most effective breath rate is about 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out.
  • 10:39: The parasympathetic state is the resting state of our nervous system. If you are really stressed and want to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, you can breathe out for 6-7 seconds.
  • 10:59: Let’s try this out!
  • 11:20: Inhale through your nose and exhale through your nose or mouth. If you do this 2-3 times, you can feel your body go into a more relaxed state. The more you practice, the easier it gets.

It's actually as simple as counting to 5 and controlling our breath! -Katie Kimball

  • 11:59: Most things in the human body are in oscillation. We sleep, we wake. We eat, we stop eating. We inhale, we exhale. If you’ve ever seen a heart rate monitor or brain waves, they go up and down. We sometimes try to live in a flat line. It’s really important to have periods of activity and time to take breaks.

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Stress Relief Practice

  • 12:46: I have a challenge for you! The “7 Day Moment to Breathe” challenge! Take a moment every day to do at least 5 breath cycles as described above. Let me know if you’re participating and how it goes! You can comment on the Facebook or YouTube video.
  • 13:04: You need to practice this breathing when you’re not having a “mommy meltdown,” so that you can access the skill when you need it!
  • 14:10: I share a couple tips to help you remind yourself to follow through on the challenge.

Our stressful responses don’t have to have anything to do with what happens outside of us. -Katie Kimball

You will be a better parent if you can better respond to stress. -Katie Kimball

  • 16:04: We can teach this to our kids as well! The exhale is most important. With little kids, you can hold up a finger and tell them to “blow out the candle” to help them focus on a long exhale. It also helps to breathe with them.

Be sure to let me know if you’re taking my 7-day “Moment to Breathe” challenge. People are 39% more likely to achieve something if they write it down and 76% more likely if they tell someone else. I’m listening to your success!!

One Simple Step to Reduce Stress

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