16 Oct What’s the #1 stress busting technique?
Arnold Schwarzenegger has a burning passion for life. In fact he proudly claims that he’s “pissed off” that life has to end some day! He’s too busy having fun. However, in Arnie’s world, having fun doesn’t mean taking lots of vacations or throwing large parties. Quite the opposite.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending an event where Arnold was speaking.
Arnie was asked whether he had ever suffered from depression, stress or self-doubt, which seemed a logical question given his extensive career milestones. He stunned us all by telling us of only one day in his entire life where he had felt anything like depression; brought on by not achieving an outcome he had thought was guaranteed; not winning a body building title when he was 21!
Arnold was far too focused on achieving his vision and dreams to ever have the time for stress.
And isn’t that just it – the medicine for beating mediocrity and pushing forwards against all odds? Focusing on a vision that pulls you?
Richard Branson, Arnie, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk; all great and inspiring men in their own right, all have one thing in common other than making tons of money; they all had a clear vision and focused with passion on making that vision a reality. None claimed to suffer the perils of emotional stress.
All too often we lose our way, whether through social expectation, sudden circumstantial change, or imposed restrictions. Life gets the better of us until one day we throw our hands in the air and exclaim how stressed or frustrated we feel.
Research tells us specifically that when we focus on a dream or a goal, we activate the left prefrontal cortex in our brain, which has a direct impact on dampening the amygdala response.
The amygdala is our brains centre for fear. It is the central command that tells us when something, some action, circumstance or person is at odds with our internal moral code or values. When it activates, it increases the production of our Stress hormone, cortisol. The more our Amygdala fires up, the faster it is to respond, meaning that often our fear and stress response kicks in well in advance of logical thinking.
As a speaker I have felt this all too many times. That instant ‘deer in headlights’ moment when something happens that you hadn’t planned for, such as a technical failure or sudden change in schedule.
But having a burning passion and being focused on making a change mean that even when the shit hits the fan, there is no way I’ll stay stunned for more than a brief second.
The stronger your communication pathways to the left prefrontal cortex, the faster you will recover, and dare I say it, the more resilient you will be to those otherwise stressful moments.
Focus and passion (and how fervent that passion and drive is) are the two keys in determining your blueprint for success. All you need is a DREAM.
If you’ve lost your way, are feeling frustrated with life, or with the growing tension and stress that fills your days, my advice is this; Renegotiate with your mind, giving it a compromise in the form of a new dream, a new goal; something you can passionately focus on.
Give your Amygdala a holiday! And as Arnie says; get busy having fun.