How To Reduce Stress (Part 1)

stress

I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned good stuff.

I am doing a synthesis of the Dale Carnegie’s book “How to stop worrying and start living”  and other sources on internet for a blueprint to manages stress in 4 steps.

Stress is about change, it means adapting to the environment of a changing structure. Stress is a feeling triggered by the interpretation of an event. It’s a reaction related to the constraints and the pressure undergone in its environment. Stress can be interpreted as something positive, whether it’s considered a challenge or as something negative, if it’s considered a harmful event.

The truth is that stress is a mistake of reasoning in relation to the attitude or behavior we adopt. This is an answer that isn’t adequate. It’s an alert for mental dysfunction as the body gives us an alert for physical pain. Fortunately, people can learn to control stress in 4 steps : Take a step back and analyze what triggered the stress ; anticipate and visualize ; organize yourself and communicate and turn away or adapt and accept.

1st step – Take a step back and analyze

 

keep calm stress

 

It’s necessary to step back and analyze what triggered the stress. Because before trying to solve that, it’s important to know what caused it. By analyzing what caused the stress, we can avoid certain consequences.

To do that, here’s what you can do :

  • Make a list of sources of annoyance that you have in your family, friends, school, work, transportation, etc. Once you have found them, classify them from the most impacting to the least impacting. You can also do a 20/80 analysis, that means identify the 20% of the sources that bring you 80% of your stress.

  • Ask yourself these questions : « What is the problem ? What is the cause of this stress in these sources ? What are the most serious consequences that I suffer of my experience ? »

  • Understand the emotion that created in these moments. Then check if it’s a real fear or rather a theoretical concern that doesn’t have much to happen in your life.

If a situation is truly unavoidable, you need to prepare yourself to accept it. We must give up the impossible because it’s extremely stressful to have no way to change a situation. To avoid this, you need to anticipate situations that may lead you into an impasse. Once these situations identified, you must try to really avoid them or change the course of things from the start.

It’s impossible to keep control of all things in your life. It’s useless to set inaccessible goals.

2nd step – anticipate and visualize

 

anticipate visualize telescope

 

 

The best way to handle stress is to anticipate. Based on the list you made in the first step (source of stress), imagine solutions and possible answers. Ask yourself these questions : « Why did you agree to be in this situation ? ». If what you do make sense, it limits the stress.

Decide how you want to live a situation. An event that happens to you can have not effect on you until you choose words to qualify it. If you say that an event is happy, boring, sad or extraordinary, it can become so. By qualifying the event, you modify the perception that you have of this event.

The way you see the event determines your body’s reaction. So take a moment to think before judging and classyfying a situation as negative.

Take Olivier Roland’s example. When Olivier Roland began to meditate, his neighbor’s dog was barking. At first it disturbed Olivier to focus on his breathing, it was stressful and annoying. After a while, Olivier realized that it wasn’t the barking dog that was stressful, it was Olivier’s interpretation of the situation. From the moment that Olivier decided that the barking dog was something neutral or positive, he began to appreciate when the dog barks. It’s a sign of life.

Imagination can be used to help fight stress. Get in shape before a stressful event. You can create a positive state of mind when an event is negative. Think of something positive like music, a holiday, projects in progress. Visualize a happy moment, a happy memory.

This the end of Part 1. In the 2nd Part, I talk about organize yourself and communicate and turn away or adapt and accept.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Muscle Memory

muscle memory

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and there is good stuff.

Muscle memory is an action execute with a lot of repetitions physically or mentally. The body will learn to execute this action more effectively using less brain power.

Your muscles don’t have brain but rather your brain learn to create a procedure list to execute tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. The majority of the time you do these tasks in mode « procedure » of your brain and this become automatic. It’s like cache memory in your computer or smartphone.

When you play at the first time to a video game, you must learn how the controls work (and you’re really bad). You must learn to :

  • Look left and right

  • Use gun/sword

  • Jump and rolling

  • Move, avoid enemies

  • Attack, defend, cast spell

After several hours of gaming, your muscles begin to memorize. After several days or weeks, you do these things effortlessy.

  • Defeat a boss with combos, rolling, attacking, defending and spell casting.

Muscle memory isn’t only for video games. This helps for several things : driving, cut vegetables, play a musical instrument, etc.

When we decide to be healthy in the real life, this concept of « automatic response » is an important element.

Unfortunately, this can have bad effects :

  • If you spend several months to learn badly to do squat, it’s very difficult to stop this bad habit and relearn the squat in the right way.

  • If you learn to play a song in a bad way (or another activity), you learn to your body « it’s the good way to do it », even if it’s the bad way.

  • When you are busy at school/work and take candy and soda to manage stress, you brain will be train to say : »it’s the most effective way to be happy ».

We really talk about to build habit. Muscle memory can help us to understand how and why we failed in the past and how to do to change it

Muscle memory in the life

muscle memory

We’re creature of habits. The things we do everyday like the way we walk, the way we talk, the way we sleep (or not), things that make us happy or sad are the result of hundred and hundred of repetitions of these activites.

When we try to create new habits, it’s a lot, a lot of work.

For exemple, rather than going to McDonald’s, we must remember of :

  1. Go to the supermarket

  2. Take vegetables and chicken

  3. Go home and prepare vegetables

  4. Cook chicken

  5. Prepare the table

  6. Eat

If you don’t have these habits rooted in your brain, just read this list can be exhausting.

Look this exemple : rather than stay a home to watch the TV, we decided to learn squat :

  • Get under the barbell

  • Tighten the shoulder blades and place the bar correctly on the trapezoids.

  • Inhale deeply and go down

  • Knees lined up with toes

  • Explode back up with proper form

You saw these 2 cases, there is a lot of change !

Automatics things like going to McDonal’s or watch TV, come easy. We’ve always done them and thex require little effort. It’s like a second nature. The second part (new habits) require a lot of amount of effort (don’t worry, you can do it). I tell you, there can have barriers or closed doors the first few times but you must not give up.

After all these repetitions to have healthy habits, I can confirm that train and eat heatlthy is a second nature for me !

How to build

how to buid

In the Malcolm Gladwell’s book « Outliers » , he talk about the concept to master. In his research, he found the the most experts spend around 10 0000 hours to master their professions.

The most important is to not to spend 10 000 hours to practice. It’s to spend 10 000 hours to do the good practice.

Play the same song on piano in the wrong way during 10 000 hours will only allow you to play with eyes closed this song in the wrong way.

Work actively on your technique with a coach or a teacher to focus on imporving all aspects of playing the piano.

To build this muscle memory in our life, we don’t need to spend 10 000 hours of practice living healthy but we need to practice. Without do regulary a healthy activity, you will never feel your new healthy activity like a second nature.

You need to :

  • Take one or two new habits you want to create. No more !

  • Make things easy to do this activity. Minimize difficulties between you and this new life activity that you want build. Find a way to complete this activity using the minimum of willpower.

Exemple :

  1. Take one or two new memory : Rather than to completly change your training program to stop to use machine and start to use barbell/dumbbell, change just one exercice. Instead to do Leg Press, do squat. After 3 weeks when you feel good with squat, you can change another exercice.

  2. Minimize difficulties for the new activity : Do you want run every morning ? Sleep with your running clothes, put your alarm clock across the bedroom and put your running shoes next to the alarm clock. You are half ready, right ?

  3. Remove the need to remember what you need to do : I rename the alarm of my smartphone « Meditation ». When I wake up, my smartphone tell me to do my meditation.

  4. Eliminate the need to use the willpower : I spoke of willpower. We all know we need to eat healthy and do more exercice but we don’t do it. Then when we try to rewrite our DNA and our second nature, we must be strategic.

    If you are always tired after school/work and you miss your training, maybe is better to do your training in the morning before to go at school/work ?

    If you struggle with unhealthy foods during stress moments, do a « purge » and throw out unhealthy foods from your house. It’s harder to eat junk foods when you must go out to buy one.

    If you struggle to stop to pick foods from fast foods before you go home, change streets. Choice different streets to go home, streets without fast-foods.

The essence of all that has above is the practice. You train your brain/body as an integer to build healthy automatic habits.

Momentum is a powerful thing : If you can’t do all these healthy habits when you life become crazy. Take one or two healthy habits you can do and continue to practice. By this way, you don’t need to start back at square when your life will return to normal.

What new habits you want build and what tactics you use ?

-Steph

P.S. Do you want a free training program ? Click here