Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Stress is bad, right? Not quite. Actually, stress carries a secret gift. One of Europe’s leading neuroscientists says that moderate amounts of stress can be our friend. He gives us a simple four-step process to grab hold of stress and channel it to our advantage.
Dr. Ian Robertson is the Professor of Psychology at Trinity College, Dublin and founding Director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. He is also the author behind The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper.
The book finds answers to why some people can go through hell and come out stronger while others crumble under the stress of a minor setback. There are two secrets: you need the right amount of stress and the right attitude towards stress.
The 4-Step Brain Hack to Stress Relief
“Stress is a kind of energy that we can harness.”
Dr. Robertson uses four decades of his own research to supply a method that can help you transform looming stress into positive energy. According to him, there are four quick steps you can do one after the other.
- The first step — Say “I feel excited” once or twice out loud to yourself. This tricks your brain into viewing a stressful situation as a challenge rather than a threat.
- The second step — Control your breathing by inhaling slowly through your nose. Breathe in slowly for five seconds and out for six. Breathe helps to control the emotional stage with the critical part of the brain. This is important to remember because anxiety makes us forget to breathe.
- The third step — Strike a superhero pose. This power posture can help to make you feel more confident by boosting testosterone levels.
- The fourth step — Squeeze your hand and then release it and repeat. The professor says that squeezing the hand gives a little boost to the brain. It increases activity in the left side of the brain.
Did you know that the stress hormone cortisol is not just a symptom of anxiety, but also of excitement? By changing the context, you can control the way it affects you. Think of it as anxiety and your performance will suffer. Think of it as a challenge and you’ll thrive.
Learn about stress because you will need to combat the rising levels of stress and depression that is running rampant through our technology filled lives. Try these four steps next time you think stress tries to overcome you.
How do you tackle stress due to everyday events? Do you have some alternate strategies?