Your job is never going to ask less of you, and neither will your loved ones.
The truth is, your stress is on an upward trajectory, and while there are many conversations around stress management and stress reduction, they don’t work.
This is because stress is a chemistry problem, not a psychology problem.
Author and founder of Powerhouse Performance Jenny C. Evans came to Studio/E to teach us how to be proactive about the inevitable stress we all face. Our hardwiring dates back to when we were cave people, and yet our world has changed drastically since then. As such, we face a lot more stress than we are prepared to handle. The good news is, we have the potential to recover from stress more quickly, as well as to raise our threshold for it. All it takes is a few small changes, which Jenny talks about in her book, The Resiliency rEvolution: Your Stress Solution for Life – 60 Seconds at a Time.
We strive to be active participants in our own lives as opposed to being bystanders, so Jenny’s work with resiliency and stress really resonated with us. In order to become more resilient to stress, you must create some boundaries, or declared parameters, around your habits. Jenny shared four strategies to stress-proof your brain and become more resilient so that when stress strikes (which it will), you will be prepared for it. Here are a few she shared with us:
Take micro bursts.
You’re always 30 – 60 seconds away from feeling better! All it takes to restore your physical chemistry back to an ideal state is 30 – 60 seconds of intense exercise. In that short amount of time, your body begins to release bliss molecules and restores its balance. Exercises include running in place, jumping jacks, squats — anything you can manage from where you are. If you do micro bursts of physical activity like this once an hour, you’ll have a much more productive (and blissful) day.
Eat micro meals.
Stress changes how and what we eat. The stressed out body craves different foods than the body in an ideal chemical state does, therefore we eat worse when we are stressed out. Jenny suggests eating every three to four hours, alternating between moderate meals and small snacks. For optimal performance snacks, aim for low glycemic foods whenever possible. Here is a list of great snack options and here are quick meal ideas.
Create micro climates.
Decisions are drastically affected by our environment. We are hardwired to move as little as possible and eat as much as possible while we can (again – this goes back to the times we were cave people). Because it doesn’t come naturally to us, we must proactively change our environments in order to eat better and move more. Jenny’s book has a list of many ideas for changing up your climate. Here are a some simple ideas for home and work:
- Eat from smaller plates and bowls
- Get rid of your TV remote control so you have to stand up each time you want to change the channel
- When at the grocery store, look high and low on the shelves for the less-processed foods
- Conduct walking meetings at work
- Set a reminder to break for meals and snacks at appropriate intervals
Stress isn’t going to go away, no matter what you do to try to kick it. Being resilient to stress helps you recover quickly, as well as increase your capacity for it. By putting boundaries in place regarding micro bursts of exercise, frequent healthy snacks, and small changes to your environment, you will be well on your way to building up your resiliency.
Do this: Create three new Boundaries based on the following questions:
- What is one exercise you can do for 30 – 60 seconds three times today?
- Is there one snack from this list you can have on hand for the next time you’re hungry?
- Which change you can make to your climate from the list above?