Handling Acute Stress – an HBR primer

A Simple Yet Powerful Way to Handle a Stress Episode https://hbr.org/2015/08/a-simple-yet-powerful-way-to-handle-a-stress-episode

This short essay starts with a familiar scenario and reminds us of a useful pair of definitions before an acronym to aside mindfulness.

(1) Acute vs Chronic Stress.
(2) Threat  vs Challenge.
(3) RAIN
Recognition: Consciously take notice of what is occurring in your body and mind. For example, “My mouth feels dry and there is a pit in my stomach. I feel like an idiot.”

Acceptance: Acknowledge that the stress response is present and allow it to be here. This doesn’t mean that you’re happy about it, but giving up the effort to resist it is, paradoxically, the quickest way to help it subside.

Investigation: Ask yourself calmly what thoughts and emotions are present, what stories you are telling yourself. Following this technique, the candidate might have answered, “I can’t believe I sound so lame. I’m afraid that I will lose this opportunity, that I will not be admitted to business school, that I will feel like a failure in front of my family and friends, and that I won’t have a successful career.”

Non-identification: Having recognized, accepted, and explored the implications of your stress symptoms, the final step is to realize that although you are experiencing them, they do not define you. “I am having the thought that I may feel like a failure” is very different from and much more manageable than “I am a failure.”

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