How to Control Adrenaline

Four Parts:Create Controlled Adrenaline SurgesManage Your ResponseEnd the Adrenaline SurgeSeek Additional Solutions

Adrenaline is your body's natural response to danger and stress, but sometimes, it can trigger unwanted side effects at inconvenient moments. You can't control adrenaline directly, but you can train your mind and body to handle your response to adrenaline more effectively.

Part 1
Create Controlled Adrenaline Surges

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    Understand the adrenaline response. Sudden surges in adrenaline may evoke certain physical symptoms, many of which can seem frightening if you aren't expecting them. By learning about these symptoms, you can make yourself less fearful of them, thereby preventing excess fear from feeding into those symptoms further.[1]
    • Your heart rate and breathing may increase as your body attempts to exchange oxygen more rapidly.
    • Blood flow will be redirected away from the digestive system. This may cause butterflies or the feeling of an upset stomach.
    • Increased respiration can cause an excess of oxygen, which may result in dizziness. Respiration can also cause dehydration or the feeling of a dry mouth.
    • Blood flow is diverted from fine motor muscles and redirected to large muscles and organs. This can cause tremors and sweating.
    • Additionally, blood flow will be diverted away from areas of the brain responsible for secondary functions, like speech, and redirected toward more essential functions, like vision. As such, your speech may slur and your pupils may dilate.
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    Identify challenging activities. You can learn to control your adrenaline response by creating controlled situations that will cause adrenaline surges. Come up with a list of challenging activities that may produce the desired response.
    • Ideally, most of these activities should seem somewhat interesting and exciting even though they also make you feel uncomfortable. Your list can include big challenges, like bungee jumping, or relatively minor ones, like riding a roller coaster or learning to dance.
    • You may also want to include practical, "real life" situations in your list. Examples include making speeches and learning some form of martial arts or self-defense.[2]
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    Imagine and analyze each option. Visualize yourself performing each activity on the list. Analyze the potential benefit of each activity and the anticipated adrenaline surge you might experience.[3]
    • As you imagine each activity, try to imagine exactly what you might see, hear, or feel. You can use knowledge you have from past experiences or research unknown situations for a more accurate idea.
    • Rate the adrenaline surge you'd expect to have by assigning it a number value. Activities rated at 1 would be fairly relaxed, while activities rated at 10 would be extremely intense.
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    Select one or more activities. Choose at least one activity from your list to actually experience. You can choose more than one activity, if desired, but try not to overwhelm yourself.
    • Weigh both practicality and enjoyment when reaching your decision.
    • For instance, if you need to familiarize yourself with public speaking to advance your career, it might be in your best interest to give yourself some practice in a controlled setting.
    • On the other hand, if there are no pressing concerns to prepare for, the activity you choose should mostly be decided upon for the sake of enjoyment. Choose something you actually want to experience in spite of the challenge, but don't pick any activity that involves more fear than desire.

Part 2
Manage Your Response

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    Prepare for the activity. Before engaging in your controlled adrenaline experience, you need to prepare yourself for the activity as thoroughly as possible. Doing so can limit the amount of anxiety you feel during the activity itself and may help build constructive habits regarding your mental response to nerve-wracking situations.
    • Do your research. If you'll be going on a thrill ride, learn about the ride itself and the precautions built into the ride to keep it safe. If you'll be taking a self-defense course, read about the course and familiarize yourself with any terminology or core concepts you'll need to know.
    • Practice alone, when possible. When you can practice an activity alone before performing it in front of others, it can ease some of the performance anxiety you might feel. For instance, you might practice making a speech in front of a mirror before delivering it to an audience.
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    Breathe deeply. While performing your controlled adrenaline-inducing activity, focus on breathing deeply and calmly throughout the entire experience.
    • Inhale and exhale through the nose to control your breaths more effectively. Make sure that you don't hyperventilate or hold your breath.
    • If you are unable to naturally keep a steady pace, be more intentional about your breathing. Inhale through the nose for 5 to 7 seconds, then hold the breath for 3 to 4 seconds. Release it through your nose or through pursed lips, exhaling over a period of 7 to 9 seconds.
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    Exercise awareness. Once you've managed to control your breathing, engage your senses more actively until you feel thoroughly aware of your surroundings.
    • Having an understanding of your surroundings can help you feel more prepared and more in control.
    • Use your peripheral vision. Look at everything directly in front of you, but make yourself aware of everything going on around you, as well.
    • Listen to the sounds surrounding you, too. Focus on any instructions being given, but also pay attention to what others are saying and any other ambient noise.
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    Perform the activity accurately. Once you're breathing is stable and you're aware of your surroundings, focus your attention to the task at hand. Do your best to perform the activity correctly.
    • Some activities, like skydiving, will require an accurate performance the first time around. Others may not, though. For example, you don't have to ace your ballroom dancing course the first time you take it.
    • If you don't succeed or don't do as well as you'd like, try the same activity again. Quitting without succeeding may make you feel more anxious about tackling another challenge in the future.

Part 3
End the Adrenaline Surge

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    Pay attention to your natural response. After the controlled activity ends, pay attention to your mental, emotional, and physical responses. You may still experience adrenaline-related symptoms even after the situation responsible for triggering them ends.
    • Focus especially on your breathing and heart rate. Your adrenaline response won't end until these two physical symptoms decrease to standard levels.
    • Identify your predominant thoughts and feelings, too. If your initial psychological responses are negative, you'll need to shift them in a more positive direction.
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    Burn off the excess energy. If you still feel a rush or surge of energy coursing through your body, it might be a good idea to burn off the energy in a non-threatening, practical manner.[4]
    • Engage in aerobic activity. Go for a jog or hike in safe, familiar territory. Jump rope or do a few jumping jacks. Go for a quick swim at a community pool (as long as you know how to swim).
    • Let it out. Scream into a pillow, punch a pillow, or throw pillows across the room. Release your negative energy in a safe, controlled manner instead of trying to fight or hide it.
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    Relax. An alternative way to calm down after your adrenaline surge is to engage in activities that relax you both physically and mentally. Everyone relaxes using different methods and techniques, so you'll need to identify an activity that you usually find relaxing to help yourself calm down now.
    • Talk to someone friendly and supportive. Discuss your experience and your current feelings.
    • Try taking a relaxing bubble bath. Set the mood by dimming the lights and adding a calming fragrance, like lavender, to the bathwater.
    • Play appropriate mood music. In particular, play music that sounds soothing or upbeat. By choosing music that matches the mood you want to be in rather than the mood you're in, you can guide your thoughts in that positive direction.
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    Analyze the experience. Once the adrenaline wears off, analyze your controlled adrenaline surge from an objective, rational perspective.
    • Focus primarily on what you accomplished, but also think of constructive ways to improve.
    • Consider discussing the experience with someone else. Describe what happened in detail, and ask for helpful opinions and feedback.

Part 4
Seek Additional Solutions

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    Practice often. It isn't enough to practice controlled adrenaline responses only once. You'll need to turn these practice sessions into a habitual exercise. Doing so will make you more familiar with your adrenaline response, and as you grow more familiar with it, you'll learn how to control it even when unexpected circumstances trigger it.
    • Consider repeating the same activity multiple times. This may allow you to overcome any fear you have regarding that activity itself, and when you overcome one fear, your mind may begin viewing fear in general as something no longer insurmountable.
    • You should also practice the exercise with different activities. By presenting yourself with a range of adrenaline-inducing experiences, you can develop a more well-rounded response to adrenaline overall.
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    Change your lifestyle. Living an unhealthy lifestyle may make it harder for you to control your own adrenaline. By improving both your physical and mental heath, you might be able to simultaneously improve your adrenaline response.[5]
    • Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
    • Exercise on a regular basis. Jogging or running for at least 30 minutes three to five times a week can help burn calories, improve circulation, and enhance your overall health.
    • Develop healthier eating habits. Reduce your intake of sugar, processed fats, and caffeine. Try to develop a more balanced diet that includes food from each food group.
    • Spend time doing things you enjoy, especially when those things relax you. Talk with loved ones, hang out with positive people, go for a soothing walk, or participate in a favorite hobby.
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    Talk to your doctor. If your adrenaline response seems extreme or you're unable to control it on your own, there might be some chemical imbalance or deeper psychological issue behind it. Consider talking to your doctor about possible conditions and professional treatment options.
    • Your doctor may diagnose you with some form of anxiety disorder. Depending on the severity and specific circumstances, treatment may include medications, herbal remedies, cognitive behavioral therapy, or some combination of the three.

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Categories: Relaxation Techniques | Calming Techniques