**STRESSED, RUSHING, BUSY, BUSY, BUSY**

**STRESSED, RUSHING, BUSY, BUSY, BUSY….. SOUND FAMILIAR?**

Does This Sound Familiar? You wake up, and the chaos begins… You feel your stress start to rise. You are busy getting the children dressed, feed and ready for school, all the while battling complaints about the breakfast they didn’t like (even though they loved it yesterday).

You are trying to pack lunches …..where are the lunch boxes!!!…. again, they have disappeared into a black hole. Your stress levels rise a bit more.

And just when you start to think you might just make it to school on time… FOR ONCE!! Your child produces a note from their school bag, (which has been there for a week).The note states your child is encouraged to wear an orange T-Shirt …….TODAY! And you need to donate a gold coin!

Your stress now jumps up a few more notches….. while you frantically search for an orange shirt … Orange of all colours!! Really! And then scrounge around for some coins in the bottom of your bag.

By now, you a reaching RED ZONE stress levels. You quickly throw on some clothes and try to look presentable and if your lucky manage some breakfast or coffee. Your nearly there……but getting the children’s shoes on and putting them into the car feels like an absolute marathon!…. Please everyone just get in the car!

OR

Perhaps you can relate to this:

You are on your way home from a really hard day at work. Work has been stressful lately, colleagues complaining, managers demanding, deadlines looming and a to-do list which is overwhelming!

You have already worked back too many times this week and your driving home…. about to pull up in the driveway and your filled with stress, anxiety, worry and overwhelm. You know that waiting inside is a well meaning partner who will want to chat, children that will demand attention, a dog that needs to be walked ….. but your exhausted!!!

You already feel like your stress levels are at MAZ, your on edge! You feel like you have nothing left to give!

WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Your busy, so I will try and keep it brief. Basically there is an amazing part of your brain the size of an almond that is responsible for keeping you alive, your Amygdala.

When there is a threat e.g a Tiger pounding out from behind a bush or someone walking in front of your car…. your Amygdala senses the threat and sends a signal to your Sympathetic Nervous System. This system acts like a FOOT ON THE ACCELERATOR.

This is your stress response. Great!……… If there is a Tiger running after you!! However, in the modern day this stress response (sympathetic nervous system) is triggered almost daily, at times…… all day. After a while the sympathetic nervous system sends a signal to the adrenal glands and you will be flooded with adrenaline and your stress hormone (Serotonin) is now pumping at maximum levels through your body……. AND YOU PROBABLY HAVEN’T EVEN LEFT THE HOUSE YET!!!!!

Running late for work……. Stress Response

Hit too many red lights……. Stress Response

Children taking too long to get ready…… Stress Response

Annoying colleague…… Stress Response

To do list…… Stress Response.

You get the picture.

Unfortunately, chronic activation of the stress response can lead to mental and physical exhaustion, anxiety, depression, unhappiness and burnout.

WHAT TO DO???

BREATHE…… I know, I know ….it can be really annoying when someone tells you to BREATHE! …….“I don’t need to breathe…. I just need to get stuff done!!”

But really …..taking a few moments before walking into the house, before entering work, at the red light, or when feeling overwhelmed….. really DOES help.

It has many names….Belly breathing, Diaphragm breathing, Controlled breathing, Effective breathing, Deep breathing…. it’s all the same.

Breathing is your chance to communicate to your body to take the foot OFF THE ACCELERATOR (switch off the sympathetic nervous system) and put your foot ON THE BREAK (engage the rest and digest systems)

This allows you to STOP and RESET. With practice you can stop feeling as if a Tiger is chasing you and RESET allowing you to be more mindful and engage in the present in a more effect way. You can communicate more effectively with your partner or colleague. You can tackle that to do list in a more engaged productive way. You can manage your children better. You can respond rather that react

Learning to Stop and Reset is a valuable skill.

Keep an eye out for upcoming tips and information on breathing and other Mindfulness strategies to help you Stop and Reset. This month at Thriving Minds Psychology Clinic is “Mindfulness In May with Melissa” so stayed tuned to Facebook.

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P.S…. If you need to learn how to take the foot off the accelerator and would like individualised treatment strategies, don’t hesitate to get in touch to learn more.

Melissa Johnson
Psychologist/ Director
Thriving Minds Psychology Clinic

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