When we are stressed for having a bad day we produce too much beta waves and too much cortisol, resulting in even more stress.
By employing the techniques I share with you in this post you can significantly improve any negative situation: whether is bad mood, too much stress, disheartening news, etc.
1. Change Your Day By Changing Your Attitude
Remember the time when something happened to you early in the morning that triggered a negative emotional reaction? And it quickly stirred an avalanche of “bad” feelings and experiences throughout the whole day? I believe we all have had those. And it is not our fault for succumbing to the feelings of disappointment, embarrassment, defeat, discomfort, stress, shame, humiliation, frustration, irritation, vexation, agitation, and the like, because this reaction is rooted in our biochemical design.
Just by the thoughts we send to our brain that we are having a bad day, we drive even more stress to our cells and, consequently, continuing producing cortisol throughout the whole day!
In reality, there is no such thing as a “bad” or a “good day.” It is entirely our perception of our experiences that frame our reaction to events. We are not our thoughts and we are not our emotions. By practicing emotional regulation and neutrality (check out my confidence article) we gradually learn to discern how to take a step back from our experiences and observe them for what they are, and for what we think they are.
- Assume Positive Intend
Someone crossed you at the traffic light; gave you a condescending smirk that seemed as ridicule; didn’t reply to your e-mail, was late for a meeting, said something to you that seemed inappropriate or out of place (etc…). Use the benefit of the doubt. Assume that their actions or comments have nothing to do with you because even if they do, they still don’t. You are not responsible for other people’s thoughts and opinions of you. Furthermore, you never know if the person who triggered you to feel “bad” hasn’t just had an infuriating or distressful experience themselves (maybe their child is sick, or they lost their job, or someone said something harsh to them and now they’re taking it out on someone else).
- Find The Lesson
If we perceive life as a game, where we need to learn a new skill/or a lesson in order to climb one level, negative experiences are the ideal opportunity to analyze our reactions and let go of our attachments to their meaning.
Ask yourself: “Why does this person trigger me to feel negative?“; “Are they actually right?” (Sometimes we hear truths we don’t want to admit, and we all have an infinite capacity for constant growth and improvement. And this is an immediate positive result of a negative comment.) “If I know deep down that their words are false and don’t apply to me why do I take it so personally?; “How can I learn to be more assertive and confident?”; How can I send compassion to those who wronged me and not judge them back? ; “How can I use this experience to be more mindful to my emotional and mental health?”
2. Move Your Body
From a scientific perspective, when are stressed, the combination of increased beta waves and high cortisol lead to lack of coherence in the four lobes of our brain. And when those lobes are are not coherent, we aren’t able to think clearly. Consequently, we literally don’t behave as usual and simply “calming down” is biologically impossible.
You can, however, use the adrenaline that rises with cortisol in your advantage! Sweat it out!
Dance, boxing, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, upbeat walk. If you are at your office you can use your lunch break to get outside and refreshen your mind with a high paced jog. The sooner you get your emotions out the sooner you will calm down and reestablish hormonal homeostasis.
3. Eat Mindfully
According to Dawson Church, in his book Mind Over Matter, “We cause chronic cortisol production by turning our attention to those factors in the environment that stress us out.”
The disruption of hormonal homeostasis resulting by stress often leads to imbalanced insulin levels and its associated cravings for the “good-feel” serotonin in the face of sugar&fat rich foods like candy, donuts, cake, etc.
None of those foods are detrimental for your health if consumed on occasion, and within reasonable quantities, but when you’re stressed, you’re literally predisposed to overeat them.
Have some fruit, protein-rich snack or water, and herbal tea instead. Take care of your mind by nourishing your body.
I really hope those techniques are useful. Let me know in the comments below and forward this post to anyone who might benefit from it.