The good news is for those who have difficulty coping with daily stress in the family and at work: there are affordable ways to get rid of constant excitement and anxiety. As a first aid, the author of a new book on stress advises using simple acupressure exercises. To change our reaction to stress is also in our power, for this we need to understand the work of the adrenal glands.
Any stresses that we attribute to our emotional state — for example, anxiety, low self-esteem, or violent reaction — are actually related to our physiology. These so-called “false feelings” are due to a lack of a chemical reaction in the brain that can support resistance to stress. However, such states can be quickly corrected by changing their physiology.
I asked Sarah Gottfried, MD, a specialist in integrative medicine from Harvard University, how to stop feeling like a loser if you cannot live every moment of your life as if you were a superhero. She proposed a new mantra: "These are my adrenal glands, this is not me." According to Gottfried, we should stop blaming ourselves and try to jump above our heads, and instead we should "think about our biology."
Stress and adrenal glands: how does it work?
Up to 70% of people reporting stress actually suffer to some extent from an imbalance in the adrenal glands (the organs that produce the hormones responsible for your reaction to stress). Under conditions of chronic stress, our body goes through three stages, which are characterized by varying degrees of adrenal imbalance and ultimately their depletion.
In the first stage we accumulate additional energy to deal with stress factors. After the first adrenaline rush, the adrenal glands begin to secrete cortisol, which initially - and in small quantities - is our source of strength and endurance. In the right amount, cortisol helps metabolize food, fights allergies and reduces inflammation.
But if the state of excessive excitement does not stop, the adrenal glands begin to secrete too much adrenaline and cortisol, replacing them with our neurotransmitters responsible for good mood, namely serotonin (a source of self-confidence and optimism) and dopamine (a source of pleasure). When cortisol is chronically circulating in the body, it begins to stimulate inflammatory reactions and can cause those diseases from which it was originally supposed to protect. Accordingly, signs of a disease or infection appear.
We no longer experience the “euphoria” associated with adrenaline rushing, instead there is a bad mood or even depression. Too much or too little cortisol can lead to a weakening of attention, a feeling of congestion. We resort to the help of external stimulants - caffeine, salty or sweet foods. We exhaust ourselves even more, playing sports, or, conversely, stop all physical activity. We begin to feel chronic fatigue and irritation.
At the last stage An adrenal gland imbalance to these organs is so damaging that they are no longer able to produce enough stress hormones. Every minor issue now seems like a global catastrophe. From now on, for example, when your son spills milk or the leader casts a disapproving look at you - for you this is truly the end of the world.
Adrenal Depletion: How to Avoid?
We all experience this condition - from time to time. But if this is a habitual way of life for you, perhaps your body is at risk of adrenal exhaustion. “A diet high in sugar and low in protein provokes stressful reactions, although we don’t realize it,” says bestselling author and nutritionist Julia Ross. Ironically, more than 70% of people eat the most unhealthy foods in order to get rid of emotional stress. We should all check the state of our stress hormones in order to know exactly at what point in the spectrum of adrenal exhaustion each of us is now.
Instead of breaking through the thorns of stress or excitement (and then reproaching yourself for it), you should learn as much as possible about your physiology. You can do a saliva test using a test that is sold at the pharmacy, or take a blood test at any medical facility where you can help interpret the results. Then, using the drugs prescribed for you, you can restore the normal level of hormones in the adrenal glands.
Many experts recommend starting with nutrition - making the necessary changes to the diet and observing the improvements. Start with minor but consistent changes in your diet (e.g., a diet high in gluten and protein and vegetables), take natural vitamins and supplements (more B vitamins and fish oil rich in omega-3 acids, for example), and try natural herbs (for example, rhodiola for concentration and balance, chamomile or passionflower to stimulate the “soothing” parts of your brain).
And now I want to reveal to you some secret tricks with which you will instantly increase self-confidence and reduce anxiety.
4 quick ways to get rid of excitement
One of the components of high stress tolerance is the ability to pull yourself together and maintain calm and confidence, no matter what happens around. You can do this with the following exercises.
What is the use of acupressure exercises, that is, pressure on biologically active points on the hands? A lot of nerve endings are concentrated at the fingertips. Folding the fingers in various combinations and keeping them in this position for a specific time exerts healing pressure on certain nerve endings. Such positions of the hands and fingers can stimulate the manifestation of various qualities (for example, fearlessness, confidence, a feeling of power and peace) for the person who performs this exercise, and can have a healing effect in case of various health problems.
In fact, you have the key to the first-aid kit.
Exercise 1: Panic Off Point
If you, like many other people, are nervous before speaking publicly, use the next acupressure point, which I call the “panic off point”.
Hand position: with your thumb touch the “knuckle” of the middle (third) finger. Then move your thumb to the palm of your hand until you feel a “soft” indentation or a small hollow. Pressure should be moderate. By clicking on this point you contribute to the regulation of pressure and reduce excitement.
Exercise 2: Confidence Point
To stimulate a state of confidence, try clicking on the “confidence point”. By clicking on this point you send a signal that reduces internal emotional stress, stimulating a state of calm. Fold your hands in the appropriate position for at least 30 seconds before speaking, giving a presentation or at any other time when you need a “boost of confidence”.
Hand position: place the thumb of either hand on the side of the index finger between the first and second joints. Apply mild or moderate pressure.
How to overcome excitement and fear
Probably everyone faced moments when the excitement is overwhelming and does not allow you to do something very important.
Since childhood, I dreamed of becoming a great football player with a huge number of fans around the world. I could not connect my life with football, but that did not stop me from loving this sport. So, I was invited to play in the school championship on futsal. It was impossible to convey my joy in words, but, apparently, it would be better for me to refuse. Before the game, I noticed that my hands were shaking and I was very worried. But this did not stop me and, I did not tell anyone. In short, I was seriously disgraced - I didn’t even finish the match until the end, but he asked me to replace it. It was hard for me to even hit the ball, not to mention more. I took it to heart and even thought that I would never play football again.
This happens to me often, as well as to everyone, probably. Not only with those who play soccer or some other sports.
But how to get rid of this excitement? How to overcome it?
It turns out that there are several methods:
- The folk method consists in the fact that before an important moment you need to warm up your hands and massage yourself with ears, especially the urine.
- Doctors say that in order to overcome the panic, you should slowly inhale, relaxing your hands and count up to three during the inhalation. This method will increase the level of endorphins (hormones that are responsible for a sense of pleasure). By repeating this exercise several times, you will get rid of excitement or panic. This method really helps some.
- Psychologists have many solutions to this. Most of all I liked the option with the amulet. That is, before an important meeting or performance, you need to have it with you. Anything can be such an amulet: from an ordinary keychain on keys to “happy” socks. The presence of this important thing for you should reassure and support you. However, my whole being rejects such a method. I don’t trust myself to wear keys because I always lose them. And even if I find “happy socks”, then, putting them on with every excitement, in a month I will see more holes on them than in the net of the football goal.
- And yet I was able to find a way that helped me. You need to imagine the worst course of events that can happen in your situation. In my case, this is a loss in a football match. Losing is annoying, but no more. You also need to imagine all the moments and little things that can go wrong. This is easily explained by performing on stage. It is scary to face the public, but, again, this is not justified fear. Imagine yourself in the place of the viewer. Before the performance, you need to focus on your weak points and improve them. If you have problems with memory - repeat your words, if the problem is fear of the public - do not look people in the eye. When performing on stage, find yourself a point somewhere in the distance, on which you will focus and you will not be so scared. A poor performance or a lost match does not threaten you with death, and therefore, do not take it seriously to heart.
That is, the method is that you must configure yourself to ensure that everything will be fine. That is, it will be the way you do it. Only you control the situation, and it all depends on you. If you read the poem well or sing a song, the whole audience will applaud you, if you pass the exam well, you will have no problems joining a higher educational institution, if you successfully play in football matches, you will have fans all over the world.
Now I can say with confidence that I'm not afraid! I am confident in my abilities and wish this to everyone, I wish you to overcome your fear. After all, fear is what we come up with for ourselves!
Anxiety does not come alone, and it is difficult to detect
Anxiety is often mistaken for something else. For example, a person comes to a party where he does not know anyone, he has a poor experience in dealing with strangers, and even more so in a noisy company. He begins to be embarrassed, and anxiety takes hold of him so much that he can no longer utter words, not to mention getting to know someone and having a conversation himself.
Leaving the party, which turned into a real torture for him, he might think that he was behaving closed due to depression. But if all these people were not indifferent to him and he would gladly talk to them, laugh and dance, but simply could not because of fear, then he does not have any depression.
After all, he had a desire to have fun and communicate, but social anxiety did not allow this. It was because of her that he sat the whole party in the corner of the room, hiding behind a glass.
Of course, one may be the result of the other. For example, if a person becomes depressed and because of this breaks all social ties. When depressive states leave him, he will “forget how” to communicate with people. A long absence of social interactions can cause anxiety when they resume.
In general, mental problems, unlike somatic ones, rarely occur singly. When you catch a cold, you know exactly what these symptoms are and how to deal with them. But anxiety disorders can occur on their own, and as part of other diseases.
As noted in the Association for Anxiety and Depression Syndrome in the United States, anxiety disorders are usually observed along with a number of mental illnesses, including eating disorders, sleep disorders, depressive disorders, chronic pain and prolonged stress.
You cannot “just calm down,” but you can practice it.
If you suffer from anxiety disorder, your favorite word is probably "calm down." But the fact is that you cannot just calm down.
If it is enough for a healthy person to take a deep breath, count to ten, or think about something else, there will clearly be few such actions for a person with anxiety disorder.
However, the principle of relaxation itself remains the same. As explained on HelpGuide's mental health site, anxiety triggers the “hit or run” mechanism, even when you don't need it at all. Result - heart palpitations, shortness of breath, tension in the muscles. After a while, this may become your usual state.
Relaxation practices will help your body take control of anxiety attacks. HelpGuide recommends doing meditation, learning how to breathe deeply and relaxing.
Mark for yourself this word - "practice." This is what you should do every day, regardless of whether you have an anxiety attack or not. By practicing relaxation, you accustom the brain to this state, and when you need to relax, it will not be something new and unfamiliar to it.
Part of the problem with anxiety disorder is that you cannot relax because it seems unnatural. The more you practice relaxation, the more natural this condition becomes.
And when someone once again tells you, “Calm down,” you will understand that a panic attack has come and you can fight this condition. Of course, you are unlikely to just count to ten and calm down, but you can, for example, eliminate sources of anxiety: leave the place where the panic attack begins, and later return there prepared and relaxed.
Need a plan to fight attacks
According to the HelpGuide website, a severe panic attack lasts about 10 minutes, sometimes up to 30 minutes. Some people in a difficult period of attack begin to choke, for others it feels like sudden stress. In any case, it goes away, you just have to wait.
Here's what helps you deal with anxiety attacks:
- Take a break. If you feel increasing anxiety, try to stop what causes it. For example, if you feel anxiety during a tense conversation, ask the person to interrupt for a short while and continue later. Do not continue to dive with family and friends until anxiety leaves you. If panic has overtaken you while driving, stop. In general, if the situation can be controlled, immediately eliminate the cause of the alarm.
- Protect yourself from stressful incentives. Find out what causes you anxiety, and try to protect yourself from this. For example, if anxiety rises in noisy places, forget about concerts and club parties, or leave them in time to stay in peace and tranquility alone with yourself or a friend who will support you.
- Concentrate on something else. This can be tricky because anxiety attacks prevent you from driving away bad thoughts. But this is a great practice. Eliminate irritants, find a quiet place and think about something outsider, distract yourself. If you can control your thoughts, the physical manifestations of anxiety will also calm down.
- Let out. Scream. Cry. Have a loud tantrum. Sometimes, when anxiety goes off scale, the only thing left is to let all the senses escape. The hysteria will not last long, your body will get tired, and the passions will subside. But remember: this method is not suitable for all situations. For example, it should not be used if you have difficulty breathing or if you are in a public place.
And most importantly - do not blame yourself for bouts of anxiety. They are just as natural for a person with anxiety disorder as sneezing for a person with a cold.
Yes, you do not want attacks to be repeated, but you should not hate yourself for this. It is hoped that people from your environment will be sympathetic to the frustration and provide you with free space to recover.
The problem (not always) in other people
Sometimes it seems to us that other people can solve the problem of anxiety. For example, accompanied by a good friend, you can safely go to a noisy festival: friendly support will help you avoid an alarm.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Moreover, your friend may not support you when an anxiety attack begins, but leave you to yourself or send you to a quiet and peaceful place and continue to communicate and have fun with everyone.
In such a situation, you may feel that you were betrayed and abandoned, they did not help you. In fact, your friend is not to blame for your panic attacks (especially if he does not know about them), and if you accuse him of betrayal, it will simply ruin your relationship.
Blaming someone is always easier than taking responsibility for your actions. And when you have a fit of anxiety, it is very difficult to make informed decisions, so you just throw off the responsibility for your feelings to other people.
Yes, sometimes people can bring you. For example, you have a terrible job or a friend who is more frustrated than having fun with someone else. Such sources of constant stress can and should be eliminated, but it is better to do it at the moment when anxiety leaves you.
Think as often as you can to help yourself. The more you invest in your well-being and a sense of calm, the easier it will be for you to cope with an attack of anxiety the next time it happens.
How do you deal with anxiety and anxiety?
Exercise 3: breathing techniques to get rid of fear
You can teach your body to get rid of fear. Vigorous exhalations stimulate PNS, contributing to peace of mind. I used this breathing technique to get rid of claustrophobia, so it was easier for me to live in New York, where crowded metro and elevators are an integral part of life.
Breathing technique: take vigorous breaths through the nose and exhale through the mouth, concentrate on each breath in and out. As you exhale, force your hands forward as if you were pushing away something you didn't like. Then, as you inhale, return your arms to your chest in a straight line, with your elbows pressed to your sides. Exhale sharply through your mouth, throwing out your arms again. Repeat one more time.
Hand position: connect the tips of the thumb and forefinger and raise your hands in front of the chest, palms away from you.
Duration: start by doing this exercise for one minute, gradually bring the training time to three minutes. When performing the exercise for the first time, you may feel lightly dizzy - just stop if you feel uncomfortable.
Exercise 4: Hand position to stimulate the search for solutions
To solve problems effectively, you must be confident in your abilities and listen to intuition. To activate the brain center to solve problems, you can use the following position of the hands. This position helps to focus at a point on the forehead, which corresponds to the approximate location of your pineal gland and is located at the intersection of the left and right hemispheres. This point is access to "cerebral thinking." In some spiritual and physical traditions of yoga, she is considered the "third eye" - the intersection of intuition and wisdom.
Hand position: connect the tip of the thumb of the right hand with the tips of the second (index) and third (middle) fingers. Place the “top” of this triangle at a distance of about 2.5 cm from the point on the forehead, which is about 2.5 cm above the point located directly between the eyes. At the same time, in the same way, connect the tip of the thumb of your left hand with the tips of the second (index) and third (middle) fingers. Place the “top” of this triangle at a distance of about 2.5 cm from the point on the forehead that will correspond to your “intuition”.
What is excitement
Excitement is a natural reaction (like a reflex) to vital situations of choice or demonstration of one’s achievements. Speaking in public, talking on a significant topic, asking for help, recognizing feelings are the main situations in which people experience excitement. But besides that, we are worried about someone, not about something. Excitement is a broad concept. You can’t list all possible situations, therefore there is no one scheme for overcoming the unrest.
Sometimes excitement becomes a habit, it becomes a stable characteristic of a person. How does this happen:
- A person always has a choice: trust and control, rationally evaluate events or surrender to emotions, worry. The problem is that excitement arises subconsciously, while control requires a lot of volitional effort.
- If situations are often repeated in which a person allows excitement to embrace himself, then such a reaction becomes a stereotype of behavior.
- Human memory works selectively. If you focus on failure and excitement, then the option of successfully experiencing the situation and the outcome goes unnoticed.
Excitement negatively affects mental and physical health. First, at the physiological level, the level of adrenaline rises, all the reserves of the body are involved, all the forces are tense, all systems are working to the limit. The body’s capabilities are gradually depleted, immunity is reduced, favorable conditions are formed for mental disorders, physical diseases, and psychosomatic disorders.
In psychology, excitement is compared with the sensations that the body experiences in life-threatening situations. Excitement accompanies any activity and situation demonstrating success in this activity. Uncontrolled excitement can nullify all efforts, training, preparation.
Demonstrating the results of his work, a person understands that they must correspond to the expended forces and time. Therefore, there is a fear of distorting one's own efforts. So, for example, the loss of a report or the removal of a working file from a computer can lead to psychological trauma, nervous breakdown and more (depending on the amount and value for the person of the resources spent).
Signs of Unrest
Signs of excitement are mental and physical reactions:
- glaciation of limbs
- hand tremor
- trembling voice
- forgetfulness, decreased attention span, other cognitive impairment,
- breathing problems
- pressure increase
- headache and dizziness,
- abdominal pain,
- violation of coordination
- other individual reactions.
Depending on the individual-personality characteristics, there are different reactions to the excitement. So, one person will react with confusion and stupor, begin to mumble, stutter, and the other person will perceive this as excitement and challenge, will become more productive and will surpass himself.
Causes of excitement
The excitement arises from the feeling of lack of the right to make a mistake and awareness of the irreversibility of the process, the implementation of the situation "here and now." Excitement is preceded by stress, and after the excitement, panic sets in.
Prerequisites of unrest are:
- chronic stress
- low self-esteem,
- fear of uncertainty
- negative experience and cases of failure in such situations due to excitement or for another reason,
- high level of anxiety.
Excitement is a mood for a negative result, attitude and belief in a mistake. Such an attitude is not always recognized by man. As a rule, the excitement causes the expected subconsciously error, it further reduces self-esteem and increases self-doubt, from which the excitement increases the next time. Vicious circle.
The source of excitement can also be joy, excitement from an upcoming event, positive emotions. Although positive emotions often cause arousal, excitement is accompanied by negative feelings.
How to deal with excitement
Rational analysis of the situation and self-regulation helps to cope with excitement.
- Differentiate the nature of excitement: fear, anxiety, self-doubt, lack of knowledge. Find the cause of this feeling, think about how you can respond to it. For example, you worry when a loved one lingers. In this case, anxiety and fear cause something to happen. The solution to the problem is a call to this person. Not answering the phone? Imagine positive options, not just negative ones.
- Remember the situation in which you experienced positive emotions. Focus on these positive emotions and feelings. Imagine the successful completion of an upcoming conversation, speech, or other event. Feel the successful outcome, consolidate these feelings, keep them.
- Imagination of a person at the time of excitement is limited to a description of failure, and you go further. After all, don’t stop you moving and living in case of failure, start moving in a new direction. Imagine the opposite situation: it all ended in failure. What are you going to do? Create an alternative scenario. Confidence and a sense of control for any outcome will reduce anxiety. In life, there are always risks and alternative consequences of choice. You need to be prepared in advance for any development. This is called stress resistance, self-confidence, control over the situation.
- Reduce the importance of the situation. Often situations are endowed with too much meaning, for example, speaking to an audience is perceived as a judgment on life and destiny. But think about it: yes, this may increase the salary or increase in career (however, this does not always happen), but does your health, life, success in the broad sense depend on this? Get rid of narrow thinking, learn to look wider. In the end, you are not unsettled if the store did not have the desired product. You accept it and are looking for alternative ways.
- Prepare yourself carefully. Nothing enhances self-confidence like good preparation, improvised means, a speech plan, playing a situation in your head.
- Analyze the positive and negative experiences of others. Failures and mistakes happen at all, but others quickly forget about it.
- Excitement stimulates muscle tension throughout the body, from which trembling begins. Do not expect this and relieve physical stress yourself: shake your hands and feet, twitch, shake your whole body (this is how the tension relieves the actors).
- Use the “on the contrary” method to reduce excitement immediately at the time it occurs. If excitement makes us breathe more often, then use breathing techniques to calm ourselves. Learn more about other self-regulation techniques.
- Confidence in oneself and the world, on the contrary, increases the body's defenses and causes peace.
- The vicious circle of excitement described in the reasons also works in the opposite direction. That is, every victory, albeit small, increases self-confidence, gradually reducing excitement, reduced excitement provides even more new successes.
It is not necessary to completely eliminate the excitement, it is enough to realize it and control it. Do not be afraid to say to yourself, “I am worried, but nothing has been decided yet, I am in control of myself and the situation.” It is completely impossible to cope with excitement, since there are a lot of situations and conditions for its manifestation. There is no single recipe, you need to increase overall stress resistance and self-regulation.
There is no need to deny excitement, to justify oneself to others and others (“I have not encountered anything like it before”), to find an excuse for feeling ill like “I ate something wrong”, “did not get enough sleep”. To successfully overcome the excitement, you need to recognize it and gain control over the situation.