In the Arbinger Institute’s leadership webinar entitled “Captain Your Ship: Exerting Influence in High-Stress Environments,” Desmond Lomax advocated for constructive rest as a way to decrease stress. Lying on your back with your shins on a chair activates the parasympathetic nervous system, “the involuntary nervous system serving to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and glandular activity, and relax the sphincter muscles (Medicinenet.com). The position stretches the psoas muscle which is connected to the flight or fight response (Lomax).
We must try to address our own stress before trying to help others cope with theirs. Thomas Hubl says by reaching out to others when we are experiencing fear, anxiety or anger, trusted loved ones and colleagues serve to co-regulate our stress. This is the miracle of authentic connection. When we are in a state of calm, we are more equipped to help settle the nervous systems of others.
Consider taking on this position for 2-3 minutes to experience what Lomax calls “active or constructive rest.” A walk in nature will also do the trick; a glass of wine does not. This simple strategy is easily accessible – no special equipment or trip to the store required.