June 24, 2022 3 min read

According to The 2020 Stress in America™ report nearly half of adults (49%) say their behavior has been negatively affected by the emotional toll of increased stress.

As first responders, this is only magnified. 

That’s why we need tools that can help us offset some of the chronic, always on, stress we experience. 

To be clear, stress is not all bad. 

In fact, we need stress to perform at our best (and keep us from getting bored) as you can see in this graphic from  Stress.org

So how do we stay in the optimal zone? 


Well, you don’t need to meditate or take a yoga class. 


In fact, you can reduce stress on the fly while on the job. 


Heck, you can even do it to and from the job and even while just driving around town with friends, family, or all by yourself. 


And not a single person even needs to know you’re doing it. 


Here’s the deal…


As first responders, with lives outside of work, our days are filled with very little real down time. We’re always on edge waiting for the next call. 


That’s why we need reminders throughout the day to pause and check in with ourselves.


The reminder we want you to consider today is a red light (by “red light” we mean red on a traffic signal-not an emergency vehicle--although both could work).


When you see a red light, and especially when you are stopped at a red light, here are some things to try…


  1. Sit up straight and roll your shoulders back and down. This forces you notice any tension in your shoulders and release it. 
  2. Take a few deep breaths while you wait for the light to change. Deep breathing is a signal to your body, and your reptile brain, that you’re safe and not under attack. 
  3. Notice your thoughts. If you’ve been dwelling on one negative thought, see if you can focus on something positive just until the light turns green. Even a smile to yourself in the mirror is enough to release some stress. 
  4. Scan your body and notice any other tight or tense spots. Are you squeezing the steering wheel? Jaw clenched? Whatever you notice, see if you can relax it as you breathe out. 


What you’re doing here is interrupting the chronic stress response and taking a brief but powerful time out when you see a red light. Just like traffic is safer when stopped for a red light, so too are you saving your mind and body when you “stop” during red light. 


Today, consider that red lights are there to serve and remind you to stop and take a breather. 


You’ll be glad you did. 


Like this idea? Want to take it a step further? 


Here are three questions you can use to enhance this practice:


  1. What are other quick techniques I can use to relax my mind and my body?
  2. Do I notice a difference in how I feel when I use a traffic stop to compose myself rather than getting annoyed at the delay?
  3. What other familiar prompts could I use to remind myself to relax during my daily activities?


Because you’re always on the go, it can be tought to get the nutrition you need to offset the stress of being a first responder. 


We hope this tip helps you take some time out for yourself throughout the day.


Chronic stress is also exactly why we created two powerful supplements that act as an “insurance policy” against stress. For peak performance and to keep you balanced,  try Reload. For reducing the effects of excess stress,  try Renew.





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