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Understanding Fight-or-Flight & How to Manage in Stressful situations

The body is designed to automatically react to danger. By simply thinking of a stressful situation the body can trigger a “fight-or-flight” response. Fight-or-flight is an instinctual/sudden surge in strength providing an individual with the ability to either powerfully engage (fight) or to quickly flee (flight) from a threat. Just as you would jump upon hearing a sudden loud noise, the instant that your brain detects apparent danger your heart rate will involuntarily increase; pumping blood to your muscles. Muscle tension will boost strength, while heavy breathing will allow for greater oxygen intake, enabling endurance. This is essentially what anxiety is. It is the body reacting to a perceived threat.

The brain in fight-or-flight mode can be compared to a parent telling a child to run out of a burning house. When the child tries to understand what is happening and questions the parent, the parent says, “Run now, ask later.” Similarly, your ability to logically assess and to respond to a situation is severely compromised when a threat is sensed, as your body immediately responds to ensure survival, before your mind does. Hence, it may not always be possible to think your way out of an intense emotional reaction in the moment, even if you know that the threat is in your mind. So what can you do to calm down and to help get your nerves under control when experiencing anxiety?

When you are feeling anxious you should conduct yourself as if you are not anxious – even when alone. Any outward action signifying that you are not in mortal danger will send signals to the brain that the threat has past. Which in turn will elicit the body’s natural ability to settle down and to self-regulate. The logic is simple; if a bear where to be running after you, you would not sit down to have a picnic. In other words, anything that you do, that you would not do when faced with mortal danger will help to calm you down.

It’s important to figure out what specific action calms you down and raises your state of mind when you are feeling anxious. For some exercise works, for others it’s gardening, cooking, cleaning or getting into a daily routine. Many find that fresh air and consciously slowing down their breathing is helpful, while others feel that listening to music is particularly soothing. Alternative ways to help relax your nerves include reading, writing or unwinding in your favorite chair with a warm drink or a snack. 

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[FREE DOWNLOAD] Self-care: Recharge, Refocus and Reclaim Your Health

Self-care can come in many forms from writing in a journal to making more social connections. As the new year rolls around is very important to not focus on the ups and downs of 2020 but look forward to 2021 and new beginnings that come with it. We at Elpizo want to make sure that in 2021 you are focusing on self-care, and that is why we created a self-care document to help you get started on your self-care journey. Here are some of the things we cover in are Self-care: Recharge, Refocus and Reclaim Your Health downloadable: 

  • – Things can make self-care challenging
  • – Therapists and self-care
  • – Stress-management Tips
  • – Self-care Planners
  • – Holiday Budget Planner 

If you are interested in starting the new year off right, we highly recommend you check out our Self-Care downloadable which is full of tips and tricks to begin your self-care journey. Click the cover below to read the whole document! 

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[FREE DOWNLOAD] Useful Tips for Families to Navigate This Unique Holiday Season

With the year coming to a close, we look forward to a new type of holidays where we may or may not be seeing extended family and friends. Instead, we will be spending even more time with the family members in our household as the temperature steadily drops. Elpizo has created some helpful tips that you can use in your family to navigate this unique holiday season. Here are three of the many suggestions we at Elpizo have made for you: 

Plan Early 

With the situation changing week-by-week, some people are still holding off on planning for the holidays. We suggest that you plan early instead and stick with that plan for the weeks to come. By planning early, you can not only better prepare yourselves but also better prepare any children in the house. This way they won’t have the same expectations they always have during the holidays. By preparing them early, you are avoiding any sudden surprises which arrive and allow time for copping if any disappointments may occur. 

Communicate Your Rules in Advance 

With safety being top priority, communicating your rules in advance will help prepare family and friends if they decide to come over. Not everyone agrees on what is safe, especially in the current world climate we live in today. Communicating rules on masks, advanced testing, and even hugging can help take away any awkwardness on the day of. 

Find the Positives

Many people find the busyness and pressures that usually come with the holiday season stressful. Take the time to slow down this year and focus on the parts of the holiday that are most meaningful to you while staying connected to those you care for and keeping your family safe.

For our full list of tips and bunch of other activities and resources to endure this pandemic holiday, please feel free to download the ‘Useful Tips for Families to Navigate This Unique Holiday Season’ pdf below. Like always if you have any questions about navigating the holidays as a family, please feel free to email us at info@elpizocounselling.com.