Last week, I wrote about helping our front-line workers manage stress. This month, I will share science-backed strategies to boost resilience during this time of relentless stress, uncertainty and isolation.
Why do we make bad decisions during stressful times when we need to count on our brain power the most? Our reasoning brain goes offline.
Learn to identify the common physical markers of an emerging stress response:
- Tense muscles
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow breaths
- Reduced patience
- *Brain fog – difficulty thinking clearly and moving forward on daily responsibilities
Dial back the negative stress response and rev up your reasoning brain with these actions:
- Remind yourself this moment and situation will pass.
- Inhale deeply and slowly, with an even slower count on exhale – at least 5 times in a row.
- Be in the moment and acknowledge one to two small good things in front of you right now.
- Take a couple of doses of nature every day. Observing its beauty — sky, moon, colors, sounds, fragrance — remedies stress and helps us see possibilities beyond our immediate circumstances.
Tune into the culprits that at any moment can threaten to deplete your brain function. Counteract them by making incremental readjustments throughout your day. Take small steps to clear the brain fog caused by stress!
As you continue to build your brain-healthy habits, I can hardly wait for you to experience greater problem solving, innovative thinking and making progress each day toward a forward-reaching goal.
Published August 7, 2020
See more messages from our Chief Director, Sandra Chapman, PhD here.