For a word that has “cute” in it, how stressful could it possibly be? You’d be surprised! The 3 Types of Stress article gives us a glimpse of what acute stress is. It also tells us of how it suddenly comes into our lives and disrupts it. Let us delve deeper.
Some examples of acute stress are
- The boss screaming at you
- Sudden arguments or fights with family members
- Small accidents that take place suddenly and leave consequences. For example: A dent on your car or even an injury
These incidents have a set pattern to destabilise the mind. It starts with a feeling of being unsure or fear. It then builds up into anger and/or anxiety, depending on the situation. You wake up with a plan for the day and this small event has put that plan into a tailspin. You are left with a feeling of chaos and panic. Your mind refuses to calm down or focus at the task on hand. Though like almost any stressful situation, small or big, this too can be solved.
There are a few steps, quickly achievable, that can help put your mind and your day back on track.
First of all, take a step back. Now that you know how to recognise the situation as an ‘acute stress incident’, it’s easier to take a step back. Give yourself a few minutes to mentally move away from the fear.
Focus on breathing rhythmically in a pattern known as the ‘box breath’.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other one on the belly
- Breathe deeply in 4 counts – hold your breath for 4 counts – exhale for 4 counts – hold again for 4 counts
- Repeat this form of breathing for at least 15-20 counts till your mind is steadier than before the conflict
All this might bring our mind to a steady state. But do the thoughts completely go away from our mind? We might have moved on from a state of conflict but the incident remains in our thought process. This is when we need to practice re-framing the incident.
Practising gratitude by trying to seeing the positive side of a situation. This, not only helps us to leave the conflict behind but also take away something positive from a situation.
For eg: When the boss or a colleague reprimands us, we can change the perspective of looking at it. Rather than feeling hurt or offended, we can see it in a more constructive way. “Am I going to die? No.” “Am I going to be fired from my job? No.” So nothing drastic is taking place. On the other hand, we must feel grateful for the time they took out to rectify our mistake. This will make us work better and be more cautious in the future.
All stress can be solved. And it’s easier to stop it in this stage than let it grow further into ‘chronic stress’.
Try this: Use the methods mentioned above and see how it works for you. Make your day more productive irrespective of any small incidents. Let us make acute stress ‘a-cute’ again!