Control Yourself

by Erin Lubien in November 3rd, 2020

A Recap of Melissa Fristrom's Catalyst Series: Worry, Stress, Anxiety

Today I learned something so important that I have to take to web to share. Dr. Melissa Fristrom of Core Allies is known for helping CEOs and others find their hidden secret sauce and today shared some important tips and tricks to calm, relieve and turn worry, stress and anxiety into productive energy.

First and foremost, all experts will tell you how important breath is. Breathing deeply helps release the hormones in our bodies that relieve and calm the physical response to stress and the feeling of fight or flight. There are several practices and observations she shared today:

  1. Breathe in and keep your shoulders down (harder than it sounds).
  2. Box breath, used by the US Navy Seals, is the visual of breathing while drawing a box: breathe in for a 4-count, hold for a 4-count, breathe out for a 4-count, then hold for a 4-count. Done several times, it will calm your senses.
  3. Use breath to stop yourself in your tracks and trigger the calm that will help you take thoughtful action.

Write down what is worrying you. By writing it down, you are releasing it. Now, ask yourself if you can control it, if you can influence it, or neither. If neither, let it go; if you can do something about it write that out now too. Then think about options - what are the available options whether you would take them or not. You always have them even if it is leaving or quitting.

It is as okay to be Steady Eddie as it is to be Bursting Betty - ride your energy and use your creativity when it comes to you. Allow yourself the downtime your body and mind need following big bursts of creativity.

Melissa also taught us about "agency yourself"; this is where you look at your situation as your agent would. Who can you work with to resolve what is causing you stress and what options would you propose?

Finally, someone asked about being socially adept until they get into a boardroom - this is exactly me (even though I coach executives). She taught us to think about the trigger that causes that discomfort. What is it that feeling or action that your brain conjures up? Now build up resilience for board meetings by breathing and self-talk ("I am here, I am worthy to be here") and make it through the next meeting. At the next one, plan to make a comment or ask a question (there are no dumb questions after all!). Continue to add a bolder, small action to each meeting, presentation, situation so that you retrain your brain with positive realities.

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