Imagine you were chased by a tiger but luckily you managed to get away. All of that adrenaline would still be coursing through your veins. The original stressor has gone but you are still experiencing stress. The equivalent in your life might be a project deadline, a presentation or an event.
Sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski write about the need to complete the stress response cycle in their fantastic book ‘Burnout: The Secret to Solving The Stress Cycle’.
Completing the stress response cycle requires us to process and move through emotions. Imagine a long, dark, tunnel. Experiencing stress moves you to the centre of the tunnel, we need to ‘do something’ to push the stress all the way out the other end to complete the cycle.
What can we do to complete the stress cycle?
Some processes are obvious:
- Going outdoors in nature
Less obvious ways of processing stress:
- Squeezing each muscle group in turn, holding the muscle contraction for approximately 5 seconds before releasing.
- Shaking out the tension from your arms and legs. This is especially useful for anxiety/fear-based emotions.
Unfortunately, completing the stress cycle has to happen every time you experience stress to reduce the impact on your health and wellbeing.
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