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Acute: Chronic Stress

Acute: Chronic Stress

Take a practical and proactive approach to stress.

I worked with the Special Forces to develop a human performance program for a nation building a SF pipeline at their school house (in fact we built the school house).

We focussed on physical and mental performance skills.

From the mental performance skills side, one area which was always lacking with the recruits was understanding stress and responding not reacting.

We worked hard on 2 things as they were our easiest entry points…
1️⃣ The acute: chronic relationship
2️⃣ Recovery

Here is a bit more detail on what we did and why…

Acute Events
📌 Unavoidable. They happen, and an operator needs to be able to respond and not react to acute stressors.
📌 Often uncontrollable. Situations were manufactured to ensure the responses to stress could be trained.
📌 Emotional control. Acceptance that this is tough, it is difficult but I must react to this situation and move forwards, firstly I need to regulate my emotions (breathwork, 3R’s-see previous posts, group comms).

📌 Accumulation of unrelated stressors. Situational and self-awareness, staying on task, clearing the noise and zooming in on what moves the situation forwards. What’s the mission and priority right now?
📌 Recovery. Intentional and considered regeneration to avoid compounding. Decompression via humour, banter, de-briefs, quality rest.

We tried to be as smart as possible about how we implemented rest.

The cadre frowned upon rest, recovery, regeneration because “Beast them. We never had it. LOM (lack of motivation) they need to learn.”

So, we fought on a couple fronts.

✅We implemented stretching and recovery sessions at the end of the day, which always included upbeat music, positive atmosphere, guided breathwork/meditation (we didn’t call it meditation of course!).

✅We transitioned them from sympathetically amped after a day in the field to calm and relaxed pre evening routines.

This is how these ideas can be translated to you and your daily lives.

Tax and interest 🏦

📈 Proactive intentional steps to respond to stress
📈 Reflecting on reactions and choosing different responses next time
📈 Recognising that we are choosing to create a relationship and link between certain stressors
📈 Intentionally releasing the stress valve, hourly and daily

📉 Choosing to react with emotion to stressful situations
📉 Never releasing the valve during the day
📉 Not being intentional and consistent above regeneration
📉 Clinging on for the end of the project, day, week, month to rest and recharge
📉 Favouring numbing over quality rest (alcohol, screens, drugs, cigarettes etc.)

Compound interest is a pretty basic monetary idea we can all wrap our heads around.

It’s exactly the same with stress and well-being.

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