We all know what stress can do to our lives and how we react or respond to the stressful circumstances will affect our health. As human beings we behave differently to the same situation or circumstances. What might be considered stressful for one person, another might not feel the same way at all. It’s good to dissolve stress by understanding whether you react or respond to such situations. The above model might just alter the way you perceive stressful events and teach you a simple yet powerful technique to manage stress.
RUN: Running away, if a tiger is chasing you seems like a wise choice, however, if you are escaping a stressful situation because you fear failure, then you are reacting to the underlying stress. The possible cue in your brain could be “Let’s move on”. When you run away from your stress, it gives you a false feeling that you have controlled the situation, though in reality you have simply avoided the stress temporarily. No matter how far you run, your stress will eventually find you and it will turn more impactful when you actually face it. The UP arrow also indicates the FLIGHT reaction to the stress.
CONFRONT: This is one of those situations where your heart pounds and breathing quickens. The cue in your brain may be “How dare you?” Your immediate perception about the situation is a possible threat to your own survival and hence the desire to combat. In this state thinking turns less than rational and fear of losing control is inflated. Outcome from this sort of reaction is always negative and brings a feeling of burnout. The FRONT arrow signifies the FIGHT reaction to your stress.
HIDE: The reaction from the brain when there is no action at all, out of shock. The cue could possibly be “I feel helpless”. The physiology of the person would be alarmed stiff or crumpled. The idea is to shield whatever significance is left over and to stay put. When we are flabbergasted by a situation and we perceive that there is no ray of hope we tend to hide. The DOWN arrow shows the FREEZE reaction to your stress.
MINDFUL: Response is also a reaction but with a mindful pause. How long is the pause, depends clearly on how stressful the situation on hand is. This is a state where you are in effect watching your stress rather living the stress. Instead of reacting to your stress, acknowledge it. The cue in your brain perhaps could be “I have a choice”. While all the above three reaction automatically implies lack of choice, being mindful gives you ample choices. Mindfulness really is a state of balance and it’s impossible to react in this state. The BACK arrow suggests taking a STEP BACK could be a great way to move forward.