Neuroscientist Explains The Best Way To Stay Calm When You’re Stressed
When stress kicks in, it can leave you feeling completely out of control. As it turns out, this isn’t just because of the actual situation that is causing your plans to go astray. During high-stress situations, the brain releases cortisol, which is the hormone largely responsible for activating the ‘fight or flight’ response that keeps you out of physical danger. Part of this ‘emergency response system’ aims to shut down all the parts of your thinking mind that are responsible for rational, logical ideas so your body has the adrenaline it needs to run away quickly. This is why everyone from a new teenage driver to a well-polished executive has the same ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look when their car keys are lost.
Since this stress response originally evolved to keep you safe from life-or-death situations, the brain isn’t capable of forming a decent plan of action once cortisol is released, even if there’s no real threat to life or limb. Here’s the good news: Award-winning neuroscientist Daniel Levitin has gifted 2 savvy strategies to counteract this ‘fight-or-flight’ response so that you can maximize your ability to fend off stressors and keep your life flowing smoothly.
The best way to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed | Daniel Levitin
Organize Better, Not Longer
You probably know that staying organized is crucial to a well-balanced life. Yet people get busy and chores tend to pile up. So rather than focusing on picking up every piece of clothing or lining up the hand towels in a perfectly straight line, instead focus on finding a spot for items that are easy to misplace. This works so well because spatial memory is geared towards locating items that are stationary, so if you leave your laptop, phone, and keys in the same spot every day, life becomes much more manageable.
Try a Little ‘Prospective Hindsight’
Psychologist Gary Klein coined the phrase prospective hindsight to describe a unique power of the mind. This inherent wiring allows you to use your imagination to create a detailed plan of action for stressful life situations that may arise by acting as if you are already knee-deep in them. But rather than being immersed in the feelings of stress, you can step back and observe how your stress got triggered in the first place. Here’s the kicker: by ‘playing pretend’ you are 30% more likely to pinpoint issues that may arise for any given scenario than if you just tried to brainstorm the issues. For instance, if you imagine that your car keys are actually lost, you’re more likely to think of all the ways that this can happen, and can therefore find a proactive solution that will help prevent these circumstances.
“Getting organized can get us to the next level in our lives.” – Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, The Organized Mind
Use this video to guide yourself into a state of inner stillness and learn the best way to stay calm:
Learn How To De-Stress & Live In Presence