You know those shifts where you are running on adrenalin?
The days where there was a crisis to navigate or so many calls on the board that you know you cannot stop. So, you double down and push through.
Initially it isn’t so bad. Your fight or flight system kicks in and you become hyper aware, more alert and assertive. Ready to fight or flee.
But along with this your focus narrows as you are only able to think about the situation right now. You have trouble seeing all available options and as this continues you get more anxious, struggle to remain calm and focused, become less productive, your heart rate increases, your shoulders tighten followed by the rest of your body and your brain may become foggy.
At least that’s how it works for me.
What if I was to tell you that there are tactical ways to get yourself out of fight or flight instantly?
These tactical strategies can calm the chaos in only a few minutes.
They will help your brain think clearer, slow down your heart rate so you can remain calm and focused while accomplishing what needs to get done faster with a clearer outcome.
Imagine how your calls would go if you were able to feel this way?
Fight or flight is a physiological response.
When you get into fight or flight (your stress response) your body wants you to breathe shallow, your thirst signal stops and your muscles become tense and frustrated.
In fight or flight mode your body and brain are set to deal with right now. Your consciousness thinks only of the here and now. It’s harder to see what’s ahead and how to think forward and come up with ideas and ways to deal with the situation at hand.
Here are 3 simple ways to get you out of fight or flight and into your rest and digest state.
- Breathing – In and out through nose. 7 seconds in and 7 seconds out. 4-6 breaths a minute calms the nervous system This only takes 2 minutes and will help you calm down and make decisions that will help you get through your day.
- Hydrate- When your fight or flight system is turned on your thirst signal turns off. You may go your whole shift without water. Water keeps your body moving and brain functioning. As soon as you realize you are in fight or flight chug at least 16 oz of water.
- Walk- The second you start breathing slowly when walking you are walking your body out of fight or flight. Your body wants to run. Walking tells it that the danger is over and it can calm down. Add the breathing to it and you will find your heart rate will drop, brain will become clearer, your muscles will relax. And you will be ready to then go back to the task at hand.
Regardless of the situation you will get rid of the acceleration and out of fight or flight and your perception immediately shifts.
Focus on where you are trying to go and not what’s overwhelming you.
If you are on the scene of a life or death situation then you need your flight or flight system to help you get through it. But when the scene is over and you are working to connect the dots for your report there is nothing wrong with taking a few minutes to chug some water and walk for 3-4 minutes breathing deeply and slowly.
Back away and create a better perspective.
You will find that taking a few minutes to take care of yourself will help you better take care of others. It’s not selfish.
Why wait? Try it today and change your day from overwhelm and stressful to calm and calculated.
If you would like to work on more tactical ways to control stresses around you so that your body is prepared to handle stresses that are out of your control then join the facebook group. The focus is to help you reverse the effects of shift work and stress on your body to sleep better, increase your energy and prevent burn
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle. Also known as The Elite Trainer for Police and First Responders, Andi is an expert in peak performance and how stress physically affects your body.
The one that’s listed in the blog doc is:
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle.
Andi has a background in athletics including a 25+yr career as a personal trainer, nutrition and mindset coach to athletes and stressed out high end executives.
Being healthy and active was what she lived for. Until her body started waking absolutely exhausted, workouts become something to push through instead of enjoy. A short fuse crept in, motivation left and injuries seemed to be a part of life. All of this added up to the point that she had to stop all activity altogether.
Doctors, specialists and prescriptions were never able to fix the problem.
Once Andi realized she had a genetic stress condition that puts her body into an increased stress response state all the time (similar to what Police Officers and First Responders experience when they put on their uniform and have to mentally prepare for whatever may happen in their day) was she able to figure out what was happening and how to reverse it.
Through years of research and studying, Andi formulated a completely different way to thrive when your body is always functioning at higher than usual stress levels. One where it is possible to reverse and prevent an officer from getting to a point where they struggle to get through their days by taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive one. And one that reduces the negative effects of shift work on the body.
Through her husbands career as an officer her focus has been on preventing burnout, exhaustion and a tanked immune system that she knew can result from high levels of stress that are out of your control.
As she watched his co-workers struggle with everything from sleep, exhaustion and anger leading to divorce, PTSD and even suicide it became apparent how LIFE-SAVING the foundations she was laying down for her husband actually were, because not only was he tolerating the shiftwork lifestyle, he was thriving in it.
Andi created 911 Lifestyle once she realized the strategies her husband was using MUST become available to all Police Officers and First Responders so they can peak during crisis, recover quickly after, have energy left over for their families and become the Elite First Responders that they were born to be.