FEAR: I’m Shakin’, I’m Nervous
Fear. Fear of heights, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of judgment, fear of …… What causes you to FIGHT, FLIGHT, or FREEZE?
Our bodies (AKA: the HPA axis part of our brain) don’t know if we are being chased by a tiger (a real threat), or freaked out watching our 401K’s drop (a perceived threat). Our physiological response is the same: fight, flight, or freeze. Here are some Tips from the Trail to help you calm down your stress response the next time your body reacts to a perceived threat.
(If there is a real threat, you better check here for survival techniques.)
How to calm perceived threats:
1. Slow your breathing. Do what some therapists call Box, 4 count, or square breathing. Here’s how to do it:
- Take a slow, deep breath for a count of 4
- Hold at the top for a count of 4
- Exhale slowly for a count of 4
- Hold at the bottom for a count of 4
You can do this anywhere, or anytime you feel that perceived tiger chasing you. Focus on your breathing and exhale fear through each box repetition.
2. Get into your present moment. Remember, fear resides in the past and in the future. Pull yourself back into the present moment by accessing your 5 senses:
- See 5 things around your space you’ve never seen before. (This is called Beginner’s Mind)
- Hear 4 things
- Feel 3 things
- Smell 2 things
- Taste 1 thing
3. Turn on your POSITIVE PLAYLIST. Create a playlist of songs that makes you smile, dance, or feel energized. Put those earbuds in and rock out for a few minutes.
4. Take a walk, or run the stairs. You can self regulate with a quick endorphin burst.
I hope this helps. Happy lion free walking today,