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Stress Management

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February 3, 2023
Brandi Silver

This is Brandi Silver, FCS agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center. Our program today will focus on stress management.

Emotions are cyclical, meaning they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. When we get trapped in the middle of our stress cycle it can have negative impacts on our body including heart health, and immune functioning. The fight, flight, or freeze  reaction leaves your body feeling vulnerable. These are evidence-based ways to let your body know you are safe and will help complete the stress cycle.

Social connection and affection is a great way to help complete this cycle. Research indicates a 20 second hug with someone you trust can significantly decrease physiological stress. 20 seconds seems  like a long time when you are hugging but relax into the feeling of connection and let your body feel safe.

Physical activity is another excellent way to complete the stress cycle. Progressive muscle relaxation can be done seated, laying down or standing. I will add some additional information on our website for how to practice this technique. You can also go for a walk or turn on some music and dance!

Focus on breathing. Being able to focus on the breath is a great tool to have handy during a stressful event. Begin by releasing the stomach muscles on your inhale while filling your belly and chest, then slowly exhale to completely empty out the air.

Practice these techniques before you are in a stress cycle and you will have a toolbox ready to go when you need it!

This has been Brandi Silver with the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center. For more information, contact us 764-9480.