Stress & Success; do they ever go hand in hand?
“But if I’m not stressed, it means I don’t care”
So it seems being stressed and busy is now a normal part of daily life for almost everyone.
And that’s OK. We need stress, we need some stress to carry out daily activities.
BUT excessive stress, worry, anxiety and fears seem to be ‘the norm’ for teenagers.
If you’re not stressed, anxious or worried, then you appear to not care, like you have to be stressed to do well and show you’re serious.
But success and excessive stress do not go hand in hand.
When the brain perceives “too much stress” a small part of the brain, called the amygdala, goes into ‘fight or flight’ or FREEZE mode. Which is not good for our memory or at times when we need to access all of our brain, memories, learned information etc.
A good way of explaining this is when using a computer and you overload it with too much information – basically demanding too much from it and expecting it to quickly switch from page to page, run 10 documents at once, including 5 internet pages and expecting it to do this for hours on end – but it freezes, gets slow and eventually shuts down.
We’ve all had screen freeze, right?
Well that’s how your brain works.
So the result of being too stressed, having too much going on? Your brain freezes up and you start getting confused, forgetting information, you resist learning new stuff, you appear distant and like you don’t care, you can’t meet deadlines and you feel like just giving up.
I get it.
The amygdala has a lot to answer for! In primitive times, the fight or flight response was responsible for saving us when we were being chased by tigers and stuff.
That doesn’t really happen anymore, (which is kind of a good thing, yeah?!) but the fight or flight response still gets triggered by daily life events; such as an exam, a deadline or a worrying situation. The brain perceives these events to be dangerous because we fear them so much.
Its worth mentioning here that the amygdala is like a fire alarm; it can’t distinguish between a real fire and burning toast, it can’t distinguish between a real life threatening situation or an upsetting/stressful event. This releases a hormone called CORTISOL.
Cortisol causes all that forgetfulness, feelings of overwhelm and physical symptoms of stress such as headaches, tearfulness, butterflies, queasy feelings and a racing heart. All your blood and energy goes to your legs – everything else, like digestion, just shuts off, because your body believes you need to run….run away from that tiger. But, as we know, it’s just not like that anymore.
So what can you do?
Reduce your stress & learn to cope with stress better, aka up your resilience.
- There have been numerous scientific studies showing the effectiveness of EFT (Tapping) on cortisol levels and the amygdala. You can read more here. In the ‘articles’ section.
- I’ve put together a tapping script for you to download here.
- Attend a yoga class or practice some breathing at home. You cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time and yogic breath techniques promote relaxation, giving you that all important time to reflect, relax and restore. You can read my past blog on how to control your breath and exactly what it’s so important here.
- Download my free top tips for stress reduction here. Getting out in nature, making up an affirmation and getting creative are all important stress busting techniques.
- Get organised!! You have so much stuff to do, remember and learn, there’s no way you can process it without getting it all organised. Sort out your folders, write your exam dates down on your calendar, plan your revision time, (don’t worry about how you will revise just yet… just block out time to dedicate to revising) catch up with work you’ve missed.
There is nothing more stressful than ignoring what NEEDS to be done!!
So be kind to yourself and get it done…!
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