Stress Relief in Five Minutes (or less)

Here’s a useful and straightforward stress relief tip in an article by Gwenn Bonnell.

A while ago my husband came home shaking and shivering uncontrollably, claiming he had the stomach flu. Although it was a warm evening, he was very cold. He put on fleece gloves and thick socks and buried himself under layers of blankets and comforters, still shivering intensely and breathing shallowly. I tried not to let my own fear show, but was ready to call 911 or visit the emergency room — it almost seemed like he was having convulsions.Then I remembered a simple technique that quickly re-programs the body’s autonomic nervous system and reduces stress.

I laid next to my husband and placed the palm of my hand on his forehead. And just kept it there. Within a minute or two, his shivering and shaking became less intense. His breathing pattern slowed and began to deepen. Within five minutes, he had stopped shivering completely and his breathing returned to normal. He was calmed and relaxed, and so was I!

Although stress is often caused by our emotional or mental state, it is a physical response. Falling apart or “losing it” is more physiological than psychological. Stress believes that everything is an emergency, and the body responds by sending 80% of the blood from the forebrain to the chest or legs, flooding the blood with stress chemicals, and creating an instant “fight or flight” condition. Millenniums ago this was extremely important for the survival of our race. Today, however, this response is often overkill — a driver cutting us off on I–95 or a child screaming “I don’t wanna” is not the same as a dinosaur stalking our family. And as these daily stress responses accumulate, every system in our body is affected and we end up feeling more fearful or anxious or angry or aggressive than the situation warrants.

Learning how to recondition the body’s response to these everyday stresses that are NOT life threatening can be one of the most important steps we can take to maintain and even improve our health. Either interrupting the stressful behavior in the moment or changing from an emergency to composed reaction when remembering a previous stress resets the nervous system, brings peace of mind and keeps the body from unnecessarily triggering the fight or flight response.

REPROGRAM THE BODY’S RESPONSE TO STRESS

The next time you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or highly emotional, try the following exercise:

  1. Lightly place the fingertips of each hand or the palm of one hand on the bumps on your forehead directly above your eyes. If you can’t find these slight lumps simply place your hands about an inch above the eyebrows.
  2. Take a deep breath and “drop into your stress.” No need to try to be positive. It’s better to sink into the negative or unpleasant feeling while holding the points. Keep breathing deeply and stay focused for two to five minutes.
  3. As the blood returns to the forebrain you will feel very strong pulses under your fingertips or hands. At the same time, you are lifting out of the stress, beginning to think more clearly and reconditioning your response to that particular event or memory.

This action is sometimes instinctual: how often has your child or loved one complained of feeling upset or ill and you find yourself placing your palm on their forehead? Or when hearing shocking news, do you automatically find your hand on your own forehead? Touching these neurovascular points called the frontal eminences impacts blood circulation. Holding these points not only stops the blood from leaving the forebrain, it also draws blood back into the forebrain and retrains the body’s automatic stress response.

This simple but valuable tool can be used to systematically remove accumulated stresses from the past and to control reactions in the present. Practice on yourself, experimenting with a single memory until you no longer feel a stress response in your body. The next time you automatically place your hand on someone’s forehead, leave it there for a few minutes and watch their response — this is especially useful when a child wakens from a nightmare. The more often this technique is practiced, the quicker the body reconditions its response to stress, creating a healthier and more tranquil life!

PUBLISHED Quality Life Magazine, March 2002


Gwenn Bonnell is an International Energy Coach & Trainer and the author of many programs that will teach you how to use EFT and Energy Medicine to boost your energy, improve your health, remove your blocks to success, reduce stress and bring zest back into your life…

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