How to reduce stress (even when you're stuck for time)

“Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes” Amy Cuddy 

Today is #StressAwarenessDay – a time to share knowledge, and of course, raise awareness!

Research has shown that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, and stress is a key element in this. Today (and all week in some calendars!), people are raising awareness about the science of stress, the ways in which it presents in our behavior, and how it can manifest over time. All of these are important, but awareness is only the first step towards change.

When you notice yourself becoming flustered or responding negatively to a stressful situation, praise yourself for noticing either in your head or out loud (this very much depends on your mood and/or environment…) and give a little fist pump! This helps your brain to reward you for noticing (a little dopamine hit) rather than rewarding the old negative response, (yes your brain does reward negative behavior with a hit!).

So that’s awareness, what next? In order to become more aware, more focused, and in control – with a greater sense of presence in these moments – change your body, to change your mind!

How can you do this?

In two minutes you can change your brain and body chemistry, which in turn changes your emotional state and therefore drives your behavior (see video below). We call these activities BENDs®, Brief Emotional Non-Verbal Displays. We have developed over 150 BENDs, each designed to elicit a change in brain and body chemistry, to get you in control and “in the driving seat of your brain.” Do this for at least 21 days and it will become your new neural pattern and response.

As the great Amy Cuddy says “Before you go into the next stressful evaluative situation, for two minutes, try doing this, in the elevator, in a bathroom, at your desk, behind closed doors. Configure your brain to cope the best in that situation. Get your testosterone up. Get your cortisol down. Don’t leave that situation feeling like, oh, I didn’t show them who I am. Leave that situation feeling like, I really feel like I got to say who I am and show who I am”.

To find out how BENDs and other neuroscience-based skills can help you and your team, contact the Maria Paviour Company.

P.S. we are just about to embark on a really exciting research project around these BENDs® to learn even more about what is happening to us when we make these changes, details coming soon!

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