Tips For Dealing With Stress

My gosh, I’m so stressed out. Are you
stressed? I’m Dr. Paul, I should know how to handle stress. Oh, wait a minute. Yeah, I got some ideas about that. Let’s talk about that today. As we get into this
stress discussion, I think we first make a distinction between brain and mind.
Brain and mind are not the same thing. Your brain is an organ in your head, part
of your body. When I talk about mind, I’m referring to the agent inside of the
machine. The thinker, the soul, the spirit the you, that’s inside of that body.
And you have a body which includes a brain, but you’re not your body or your
brain. When we’re dealing with stress, we look at a brain component and we look at
a mind component. So, give me a moment here while I draw the brain for you.
Isn’t it awesome that my video editors can make that happen so fast. This is
your brain. For those of you who are around in the
80’s, you know what’s next right? This is your brain on drugs.
No, that’s not where we’re going today. But that might be relevant to think
about as well.Your brain has different parts that do different things. So did
you know, which part of your brain controls eyesight, vision? Some of you got
it right. And most people guessed incorrectly on
this. They think it’s up here by the eye somewhere. But the visual cortex of your
brain is clear back here in the back. That’s the part that handles all the
visual input from your eyes. It’s in the occipital lobe right here on the back of
your head. I don’t know why but that’s how we’re designed. There’s a little part
up here. It’s about the size of your thumb, it’s called the motor cortex and
you’ve got one on the right side, one on the left side. This controls all of the
muscles and movement in your body and the right side, controls the left side of
your body and vice versa. I
know why it’s designed that way. That’s how we are. Up here in the front, the
prefrontal part right behind your forehead, that’s in charge of a lot of
different things. But let’s shorten it to this, thinking. Thinking, logic
problem-solving, those kinds of things are happening up here in the frontal or
prefrontal part of your brain. Now, there’s another part located down here
kind of near the brainstem. Let’s label that the limbic system. The limbic system
is actually a family of structures within your brain that all have a
similar responsibility and the short version is survival. Your limbic system
takes care of keeping you alive. So it’s always on the outlook for threat.
Something that’s going to pose a danger to you. So that, it can react in a way
that keeps you safe. The reaction that the limbic system kicks into
collectively we call the fight-or-flight response. You’ve heard of this, right?
Which makes total sense because if you’re in danger what should you do? Well,
put up your dukes or get the heck out of there, right? Because you’re in danger.
Thing about the limbic system is, it doesn’t discern and quite frankly, it
doesn’t care about the difference between a threat that is real and a
threat that is perceived. It doesn’t know the difference. This is why when you go
to a movie for example, you ever been in one of those really intense movies and
as the intensity increases in the movie you find yourself gripping those hand
rests and your heart starts to beat right and your breathing can get shallow.
My wife laughs at me because I’m dodging stuff in there
and it’s not even 3d. What gives? Well, your limbic system is reacting to a
perceived threat. It’s just light on a screen and sound from the dolby. But your
limbic system doesn’t know that. So it’s kicking your body into that
fight-or-flight response. Now took the time to explain some of the
Neurophysiology to you because stress has to do with your brain responding to
threat. What are you stressed about? “Oh, the bills
are coming due.” That looks like a threat and your body is reacting, your brain is
reacting, sending chemicals into your body that cause you to be keyed up to be
in that fight-or-flight response. This isn’t necessarily helpful because
the other thing that happens, we’ve got brain scan studies that show
this. When that limbic system is active, when it’s really fired up, there’s
actually a decrease in blood flow to the prefrontal part of your brain. What are
you not doing? Right. What are you going to need to handle the problems that you’re
trying to solve? Do you need a fight response? Do you need to run away a
response or do you need a thinking response? So part of dealing with stress
is understanding how our brain is reacting to those perceived threats. I’m
going to give you a two brain hacks to handle the brain side of managing stress.
The first one is breathing. Breathing. Now, I know you do this every day. Your
breathing in and out all day long. I know. I’m talking about a special, conscious,
intentional form of breathing that helps to condition your limbic system to chill
out so that you can send the blood flow back up front, where you’re going to need it,
to solve the problems that you’re dealing with. This is the first thing
that I teach in marriage counseling. People come in and they’re fighting.
What’s up with that, right? Well, they’re feeling threatened. So we got to calm
down that fight-or-flight response and reactivate the prefrontal part. Quick
little breathing exercise for you. In through the nose, over inflate the lungs
a little bit, just hold it for a few seconds and then out through the mouth
nice and slow. Restrict the flow here so that it slows it down because you want
to about twice as long in the exhale as you
did on the inhale. Practice that. I would recommend that you do 3 to 5 reps,
reps meaning, in through the nose hold out through the mouth. 3 to 5 reps,
3 times a day for 5 days. If you will do this, you will start to condition
your limbic system to respond to you. To the mind part of you, to the conscious
part of you. So that we can calm down that limbic system fight-or-flight
response and get the prefrontal lobe engaged again in doing the thinking and
the problem-solving. Here’s the second brain hack. For the brain. Regular
exercise. Oh my gosh you guys, when you look at the clinical literature on this,
exercise is so important to our brain health. I know you probably already knew
this and hopefully most of you are already doing this. If you’re not already,
this is one of the best things you can do for your brain health that will help
you to manage stress. And I can’t give you a specific workout routine or an
exercise routine. You go look at some other videos for that. I’m not a
physiologist, I’m a psychologist but I know that you need to have at least
3 days a week, where you’re doing at least 30 minutes of a
good cardiovascular exercise. Get your body moving. The research also shows that
even if it’s not intense, if you’re walking, in fact walking is one of the
best ones you can do. It triggers things in your brain and subsequently in the
rest of your body that allow you to metabolize differently and it’s like
sending a signal to your body to go into a different mode and that different mode
helps us to handle and manage stress appropriately. Now, let’s shift from brain
over to mind for a moment. The thinker, the you inside of the body.
There’s a conscious portion of your mind, there’s a subconscious portion of your
mind. I think of it as the upstairs and the downstairs. If you were to collapse
those two. You’ve got two halves and the upstairs
part is in the light. Conscious means aware. Awareness, so you know what’s going
on in your conscious mind. Subconscious, “sub” means below. Like subway, submarine.
Subconscious is below your awareness. You’re not as aware of what’s going on
down there. We’ve got a bunch of other videos on on working through our
thinking. Using metacognition, staying in a positive mode, All of those are going
to be helpful to you. Here’s the part that I want to emphasize from the
subconscious part of your mind, are a lot of questions. Those questions trigger
stress. For example, “what if, what if” Yeah, the what if question. Probably the most
stressful question that’s hanging out in the basement of your own mind because
your subconscious can’t just let that alone. When your subconscious asks
the question, “what if this happens, what if that happens?”
It also comes up with an answer and the default answer from your subconscious
mind is, “you can’t handle that”. But folks, it’s not true that you can’t handle it.
But if your subconscious tells you, “you can’t handle it”, what did we just trigger
in the limbic system? Huge threat. Chemical party starts because the limbic
system sends a signal to the glands in your body to respond to that threat,
through the fight-or-flight response. Do you see how the mind and the body or
specifically the brain, interact to cause that stress response. So, from a mind
perspective, here’s what we get to do. Answer the what-ifs. Answer them. And I’m
talking, bring them upstairs, into the conscious part of your mind where you
get to answer them truthfully and according to principle. And here’s the
true answer. I’m saying this with all of the clinical experience and life
experience that I have. You can handle it. In fact, I’m going to be as bold as to
say there is no earthly experience that you can’t handle. And I know that sounds
bold but I’ve talked to so many people who have experienced things far more
difficult than whatever it is you’re handling and I say that with an
acknowledgement that what you’re handling is hard. Yeah, I get that. But
I’ve talked to people who have been abducted, who have been tortured, who have
experienced some of the most difficult things you could ever imagine in life
and guess what? They handled it and I don’t think you’re a special case. As
special as you are, I know but you’re not a special case. What that means is all
the laws, the natural laws, the principles apply to you too. And this is one of
those. You can handle it. What if you believed that? What if you believed from
a mind perspective that you could handle absolutely anything. Anything that
happens to you. What would happen to your fear? What would happen to your stress?
Okay, so go use those things to handle your stress. Share them with somebody else.
I’m going to be back tomorrow. I’ll see you then.

10 thoughts on “Tips For Dealing With Stress

  1. Thank you Dr. Paul! Your videos are so interesting and you have such a nice way to explain things that is even fun.
    I thought the end of the one about having a negative attitude, was just wonderful.
    Love your channel!!

  2. I absolutely love you and your channel! Thank you so much for these videos! I learn so much from you and truly needed this today!

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