Two Very Quick Ways To Stop Feeling Stressed!

How often do you feel stressed?

Everyday we try and achieve so much, we always have long ‘to-do’ lists and more often than not, we do not tick everything off our lists. We only need small things to go wrong to trigger feelings of stress and overwhelm.

Continually being stressed is bad for our health, read on to understand what is actully happening to our bodies when we live in a constant state of stress, and why we really need to do something about it……

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HOW HEALTHY ARE YOUR THOUGHTS, BELIEFS AND PERCEPTIONS?

The effect of this in causing you stress or helping to keep you relaxed in quite definite, it works a little like this: The nervous system has two modes of operation- the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is dominant during what Walter Cannon at Harvard termed “the stress response,” also known as “fight-or-flight.” The parasympathetic nervous system is in charge during what Herbert Benson at Harvard called “the relaxation response,” which is the opposite of the stress response.

Only when the relaxation response is in effect do the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms function properly! It makes sense. When your body is preparing to fight or flee, it needn’t worry about preventive maintenance. Why bother eating up cancer cells or repairing broken proteins when you’re about to get eaten by a cave bear?

The stress response exists to protect you. It’s meant to get you out of harm’s way when your life is in danger. But these days, the average person has 50 stress responses per day. It’s no wonder chronic illnesses are at epidemic levels. Every time you have a stressful thought, belief, or feeling, your brain spits out harmful, disease-inducing stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine that shut off your body’s self-repair mechanisms. On the other hand, every time you have positive thoughts, beliefs, or feelings, you release healing hormones like oxytocin, nitric oxide, dopamine, and endorphins that shift you to the relaxation response, where your body can get to work repairing what’s broken.

While it would be lovely if we could just flick a switch and all our stress would just turn off, at the same speed as which we can turn off a light.

It takes just 1 minute using either of the following techniques to refocus and stop stress fast!

FAST BREATH FOCUS :- This simple but effective exercise takes 1 minute!

Close your eyes and breathe in and out through your nose as deeply and quickly as you can for 30 seconds. The noise created and effort required to do this simple action will stop focus on anything else happening at the time and will add lot’s of extra oxygen to your brain which helps it to relax. For the next 30 seconds continue to breathe deeply but allowing it to return to a normal pace, whilst sitting still and focusing only on your breath. Repeat this exercise regularly throughout the day, as often as needed.

HEART BREATH FOCUS:- This exercise only takes one minute and can be done anywhere without anyone noticing!

Close your eyes and breathe in and out deeply and imagine drawing the breath into and out of your heart area. Whilst doing this breathing, try and recall a memory that brought you great joy and made you feel so loved and focus your attention on those wonderful feelings. Continue for 1 minute, even longer if you can.

Both of these simple tools can be used by anyone, and can safely be taught to children. Put them to use whenever you need a little break from the stress of every day life! Enjoy!

What is your favourite stress release technique?

How To Ease Anxiety With Food, And I Don’t Mean Chocolate!

I do love chocolate, and on many occassions have run to it when I am stressed, but really it only hinders not helps, other than for the few seconds it is on your lips!

YUMMY – YES, HELPFUL – NO!

Life does get tough at times, and when I am anxious I can feel it in my body and only when I relax and watch what I eat does that pain magically disappear. Anxiety is such a normal part of life for many, as we get busier, try and take on more, achieve so much in limited time and not take time out for relaxation and repair.

Anxiety hurts, you will feel the tension somewhere in your body, especially on Monday mornings when another busy week lies ahead of you. The right diet and lifestyle choices can make a huge difference in how you feel and how your body reacts to stress. During the week when you are your busiest, try and keep your diet filled with the right foods, and keep the treats for the weekend, when you can relax, and truly enjoy what you eat.

CAREFUL WITH THE CARBS – White flour products and highly processed products like cakes, biscuits and muffins give your that quick sugar ‘high’, but you plummet down again very quickly afterwards. Choosing whole grain, nuts, fruit and vegetables will stabilise your blood sugar levels and ease the craving for more. This stability allows the body to cruise along, rather than the stop/start roller coaster it gets on when highly refined food makes up a large part of your diet.

PAINT A PICTURE ON YOUR PLATE – Fruit and vegetables come in the most amazing colours, fill your plate with a large variety of different fresh produce, it looks good, it tastes good and is so good for you. When you are stressed, another trigger can be ‘what’s for dinner’, keep it fresh, simple and colourful and this will help you flood your system with B and C vitamins which the nervous system requires for optimal function.

NO WINE TONIGHT – We all now how good we can feel after a few wines have passed our lips. Our bodies and tongues relax and all is good with the world, well, that could not be further from the truth. Alcohol causes dehydration and a reduction in our seratonin (feel good hormone), our liver goes into overdrive processing and releasing the alcohol, you feel hungover the next day (your body is working so hard to clean things up again) and guess what – this can all trigger anxiety. The more alcohol free days you can have the better.

STIMULATING STRESS – Coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks just make things worse, increasing nervousness, negativity and reducing our ability to sleep soundly. Sleep is one of the most important things our bodies need for repair and maintenance. Many herbal teas have a calming effect, so they are very beneficial if you ‘need’ a hot drink to get through the day. Mineral water with a slice of citrus juice steeped in it is another really good choice.

A SAVVY SUPPLEMENT –   Magnesium is one mineral that is very good at easing stress. Our soils no longer contain the magnesium they used to, so our fruit and vegetables often no longer supply the amounts we need. This is one supplement that is definately worth adding to your day as it truly helps melt stress away.

POWERFUL PROTIENS – Protiens are made up of amino acids, and many of these help our body to perform vital functions. Protiens are required for all repair, maintenance and growth of our cells, and affect our hormone production. Body builders consme very large amounts of protien to help them build the strong muscle base, but the average person should not overdose on it either. 2 – 3 servings per day from wholegrain products, beef, chicken, nuts, seeds, dairy and eggs will be more than enough. Too much can place excessive strain on the liver and kidneys and that is not going to help.

 LOTS MORE OF THESE PLEASE!

Don’t be afraid to seek medical assistance if anxiety, stress or depression is in control of your life.  There is lot’s of help out there available for you, go get it, life is meant to be fun!

What do you use to help keep your stress levels at bay, I would love to hear about it?