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Stress Mastery Part 2

Welcome to this edition of "Body Brain Bite" - a short newsletter with some interesting articles, research and information to help you feel and function at your best.

I was going to do this next edition on a new topic, but a few fascinating things have popped up for me recently that follow on very nicely from the last issue on stress mastery. 

I know the end of the year can be a very 'stressful' time for people, so I thought this would be a good way to end the year with some great nuggets of wisdom from very interesting sources.

Mindset is critical

In the last issue I mentioned how changing your mindset towards stress can change your response. Well, just after I sent the issue I had a chat with my dad and he directed me towards some fascinating research by Dr Alia Crum on how our mindset can change the way our body physiologically responds to food! Amazing! 

In this TedTalk, Dr Crum presents a wide range of research that shows just how critical mindset is in many different contexts - pain relief, ageing, weight loss, wellbeing and our response to food. It's only 18 mins and I highly recommend watching it.

The key takeaways for me are:

  • Our mindset is critical. By changing the way we think, we can change how we respond and how effective we can be. If we think something is good for us, it will be. If we think something is bad for us, it will be 

  • At this time of year, when we are indulging in food and drink, you can do two things to help - 1. don't beat yourself up for indulging as that will make things worse. 2. when you eat healthy food, really believe that this good food makes you feel full, and you will want to eat less.

Robbie Williams, David Beckham and stress

I've been watching the Robbie Williams and David Beckham documentaries on Netflex recently and have been blown away by the sheer amount of stress they face in their lives as very famous people. The pressure applied by the British media is pretty horrendous. In watching these shows you get insights into how people deal with this pressure - both in good ways and more destructive ways.


One clip that really stood out for me, that is such a great example of mindset and stress, is when Robbie is talking about having 90,000 people at his shows. He says in one clip "sometimes, it's like, Oh Wow there are 90,000 people here (said with a smile and excitement in his voice), and sometimes it's like, Oh Wow there are 90,000 people here (said with fear in his eyes and his voice)". In one response he is positive and excited, and in the other he's scared and anxious. Same context, same words, same physiological symptoms, but two very different self-talk explanations, approaches and outcomes.

Novak Djokovic and the FLARE technique

In the Body Brain Reset program we learn about, and experiment with, the FLARE technique for stress mastery. I heard about this technique from Dr Inna Khazan from Harvard Medical School on and Elite HRV podcast. FLARE stands for:

F - Feel it. Notice what you are feeling in your body without judgement

L - Labet it. Put a label on those feelings. Just labelling the feelings will calm you

A - Allow it. Allow yourself to feel those feelings fully. Suppressed emotions build.

R - Reframe it. Now reframe those feelings in a more positive way

E - Expand it. Now expand your awareness towards others and action

I was absolutely delighted when I read this article today about how Novak Djokovic deals with high pressure situations, and noticed that he applies the FLARE technique with conscious breathing as his primary stress mastery techinque.

"For me, it's relatively short (staying in negative emotions). As soon as I experience it, I acknowledge it, I maybe scream on the court, but then I'm able to bounce back and reset... I was trying to ignore those feelings, or shut them down, but the major transformation for me was when I started accepting it and addressing it in a way that helps me transform it into positive fuel... and feel happy and present and joyful, and get the best out of that experience."

Have a wonderful, and restful break

On that note, I'll sign off for 2023. Make sure you take some time over the holidays to actively recover from the year. Do things that make you feel good, and do things you know are good for you - spend time in nature, breathe consciously, move differently, eat healthy, and sleep well. Remember, everything affects everthing.

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