Reacting To Stress

Fight or flight? This physiological response is a common reaction within our bodies when we feel threatened, attacked or recognize harm. Initially identified by Harvard’s Walter Bradford Cannon, as he compiled data from animals describing how the nervous system merges with hormonal adrenaline to produce a “violent display of energy”.

This internal burst effects blood sugars and supply which then activates the “fight or flight” response. While neither option within the fight-or-flight response is a solution to the current event, it is internally established as our go to for a reaction to immediate stress or potential danger.

Using Guided Meditation and Breathing Exercises

Stress is handled in various ways. While some find that exercise or outdoor activities are great for stress, others may resort to drugs, alcohol or other addictive behaviors. Prescott House encounters these issues in men who have headed in the wrong direction to combat their fears, stress, and depression.

Our Executive Director, Dayton Turberville has personally taken to breathing exercises and meditation to calm his nervous system and has seen positive results in the clarity of thoughts and patience throughout the day. Implementing this ideology into our program with individuals, Guided Meditation is taught in groups and during individual sessions.

A Walkthrough of Guided Meditation

A series of slow, patiently instructed visualizations, allows the body and mind to find a calm, relaxing feeling.

Here is an example walkthrough of guided meditation:

Finding Your Safe Place

  • Sit relaxed, loosen your shoulders and arms, freeing any tension.
  • Close the eyes without strain or squinting.
  • Slowly breath in through the nose for 3 seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth.
  • Repeat the breathing process, the mind starts to feel free from thoughts.
  • Picture and imagine where your safe place would be. Make it somewhere in nature and free from people.
  • Continue breathing slowly. It’s daytime.
  • Your safe place may be a stream, the top of a mountain, a beach by the ocean, choose somewhere outdoors, this place is yours and only you know about it.
  • Start to journey to your safe place. Continue breathing slowly.
  • Along the way take in how the wind and sun feel on your face. The ground is it soft grass? Maybe it’s sandy? Visualize your steps towards this safe place.
  • Taking your time to get there, reach out and touch a tree, if there’s a boulder, is it porous or smooth? Continue breathing slowly, you’re almost there.
  • It feels great to be here, a wide open space for you to relax.
  • Look out into the open, you are free, let time slip away.
  • If you would like, let your inner child come out and play. Remember your favorite toy, it’s there for you to play with. Continue breathing slowly.
  • Put your things away and tell your inner child it is time to go.
  • Continue slowly breathing as you leave, looking back once to take in the scenery.
  • You’re almost back. Continue breathing slowly.
  • Slowly open your eyes. Acknowledge the clarity and peace you have within.
  • Remember this place for next time, you can go anytime you like.

Effective Tool for Trauma, Stress, Anxiety & Depression

That exercise is very relieving, isn’t it?

This is a great resource to help in times of stress, anxiety, and depression. These times are when it may seem easier to “flight” by using drugs or alcohol.

If you are ever in need of talking to someone about issues you are facing, please call our admissions team at 1-866-425-4673

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Tim Scanlan

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Zach Lindley

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