Animals do not experience stress in the same way as us humans. Here’s a little bit about why and how you can be less stressed like animals.
Imagine the scene …
It’s the African Savanna and the gazelle is minding its own business, eating the grass. Then there is a rustle in the grass and the gazelle smells fear. Inside the gazelle, the flight or fight systems are kicking into gear. A lion is nearby. Of course, the gazelle isn’t going to fight the lion so he sets off running. Every part of the gazelle wants it to survive. Adrenaline is pumping and cortisol is helping as the gazelle’s stress levels reach a peak. Every bit of energy goes into the process of flight. There is no thought, only action.
A happy ending…
The good news is that today is the gazelle’s lucky day. The lion is not on top form and the gazelle outruns her and gets away. A short time after the incident, the gazelle is back on the Savanna munching the grass and 100% chilled out.
The gazelle is not:
- Ruminating about what happened
- Worrying about whether it will happen again
- Creating an imaginary stressful incident inside his head
This is the complete opposite of how the majority of human beings react to events. We can create the same level of stress as the hunted gazelle with only the power of our minds. We do this by thinking! Negative thinking about the past or the future can create an adrenaline and cortisol rush the same as that fleeing gazelle.
Stress is bad for you
This is not good for your health. Being stressed reduces our immune response and stops us sleeping. It makes it harder to concentrate and affect your mental health.
What can you do to be less stressed like animals?
The main difference between us and animals is that they live in the present. They react to what is happening around them in the moment and do not spend time in the past or future. Here are my top tips to help you live in the present and be less stressed like animals.
I know I go on about this but meditation is one of the best ways to teach your brain to be present. Meditation teaches you to move your attention from the thoughts to the body and breath. Once you can do this in isolation, it gets easier to do it in everyday life.
If you feel yourself getting lost in time travel thinking, try deliberate breathing. Breath in for four, hold for four, breath out for four and hold for four (and repeat). Keep going until you notice your mind slowing down.
Try slowing down and noticing what is happening around you. Pause for a moment and focus on each sense at once. Notice:
- Five things that you can see.
- Four things that you can feel.
- Three things you can hear.
- Two things you can smell.
- One thing you can taste.
Pause for a moment and take some time to think about all the things you have to be grateful for. List 5 things in your head and notice how you feel.
Whenever you sit down to eat, make sure you savour every aspect of your food. Start by noticing the colour and shape of your food. As you cut into it or bite it, notice the sound it makes. Feel the texture in your mouth and the taste on your tongue. Enjoy every moment of eating. Not only will this help you feel less stressed, but it will also help you eat less by noticing more.
These are a few tips to help you be less stressed like animals. I hope you have found them useful.