Break moments of autopilot during times of stress.

Observing financial market declines and government mandated shutdowns and quarantines, causes me to think deeper about the effects of stress. Stress alters our ability to think rationally. And, therefore, we subconsciously lean on our existing habits (good or bad) to make decisions. One hour of book reading turns into mindless surfing on the internet or watching the news on TV.

According to the American Institute of Stress, 55% of Americans are stressed during the day, which is 20% higher than the world average of 35%.

Causes of stress are often predictable. Certain environments are often avoidable—work environments or busy home lives. And, stress degrades our executive conscious self by shifting our neuro-networks away from decision making and pursuing goals. Hence, we rely on autopilot.

For myself, I’ve found that breaking the autopilot also breaks stress’ hold on me. I have learned in these moments to give myself a break- walking, a hello to my wife and kids, or a few push-ups. Small actions that create change in my environment, regaining control and reducing feelings of stress.

Suggestion: Alter your physical state to retrain your executive decision making during moments of stress, and continue to focus on self-growth.

Originally published on LinkedIn.