The Quieting Reflex was developed by Psychologist Dr. Charles F. Stroebel and published in the 1982 book of the same name.

Reversing the Fight-Or-Flight Response

It was designed as a six-second reversal of the fight-or-flight that was first described by Hans Selye, who originally coined the term stress in a psychological context, and as a relaxation of faulty muscle bracing as described by University of Washington physiologist George Whatmore.

The intention is to rewire the instinctive stress response in the first few seconds of a stressor towards a more useful, productive mind-body state.

It’s a nice, simple technique that you can use without anyone noticing, so it’s ideal for meetings, interviews, presentations and the like.

Endocrinologist Hans Selye popularized the idea of stress. His experiments with rats showed that prolonged exposure to stress led to physiological changes in the tissue of rats.
Endocrinologist Hans Selye popularized the idea of stress. His experiments with rats showed that prolonged exposure to stress led to physiological changes in the tissue of rats.

Steps of the Technique

Step 1 – Identify the worry, annoyance or anxious thought. Take a little time to notice what is bothering you, where the feeling is coming from, and the effect that this is having on you.

Step 2 – Now Smile inwardly with your mouth and eyes. Imagine yourself gently smiling, just give yourself a break for a moment.

Step 3 – Say to yourself “Alert Mind, Calm Body”. Say it a few times.

Step 4 – Inhale an easy, natural breath. No deep breathing here, just the sort of breath that you take when you are calm.

Step 5 – As you exhale, let your jaw, tongue and shoulders go loose.

Step 6 – Imagine a wave of relaxation flowing towards your toes.

Step 7 – Smile outwardly and note how you feel.

Things to watch out for

Things to watch out for – make sure your breath is normal. Big, deep breaths raise your heart rate and what we are looking for here is a reduction in heart rate, so keep it simple and light. If your breathing is deep enough to get noticed in a meeting as “odd”, then you are going too far!

The Quieting Reflex Breathing

Developing QR Practice

The process itself is a simple intervention that can be applied without anyone noticing. The trouble is spotting the triggers fast enough that you can apply the technique before your emotions get hold of you. And this is where practice comes in.

I recommend jotting down the common situations (or triggers) that get you in to a state and then try imagining yourself in those situations, trying the technique as you would like to. The more practice you get with the technique, the more likely you are to remember to use it during stressful times.

And as you practice, you develop the neuronal connections in the brain that will then remind you that this technique is an option when that situation occurs for real.

I hope that you find this useful, please give it a go and let me know how you get on with it. The technique only video can be found here. Thanks and have fun!

 

#stress #anxiety #quietingreflex

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