We all know it… We’ve all felt it! We’ve all felt the beads of sweats dripping down our forehead, wiped the moisture off our sweaty palms, felt our heartbeat pounding in our chest. It’s a natural part of life! Stress is the body’s physical and mental response to life’s many challenges, whether real or perceived. A little bit of stress might actually motivate us and act as a positive force but a lot of it can have the opposite effect on our health. The body’s “fight or flight” response is, without question, essential and unavoidable but can become harmful when it becomes chronic. And we’re all well aware that overwhelming stress has become a common characteristic of contemporary life and can be triggered by the pressures of everyday responsibilities at work and at home. The adverse effects on your health can include, insomnia, digestive problems, headaches, irritability, lack of motivation or simply feeling, well, off.
I have gathered a few personal tips that I would like to share with you because I know it’s important for you to learn new coping mechanisms and ways to alleviate your anxiety.
When we become overly stressed or anxious our breathing becomes increasingly shallow, disrupting the natural movement of the diaphragm which contracts and relaxes as we inhale and exhale. A sedentary lifestyle further contributes to the weakening of this muscle. Shallow, also referred to as chest breathing, can reduce our lung capacity over time, causing our oxygen intake to decrease. Practicing breathing exercises not only has a calming effect but also can also help us develop healthier breathing habits.
Begin by lying down comfortably and bringing your attention to your breathing. Release any tension you might be holding on to and allow the body to soften. Let the breath flow in and out and notice how your abdomen rises and falls with each inhalation and exhalation. Once you have settled into your breathing place a sandbag over your upper abdomen. This will bring your awareness to this area and the added weight will help strengthen your diaphragm. Allow the breath to flow naturally and evenly through the nose and notice how the sandbag moves to the rhythm. Relax in this exercise for about five minutes then remove the sandbag while maintain your awareness on the movement of your breath. When you feel ready you can sit up slowly.
For this exercise you’ll need: A sand bag weighting between 8lbs to 10 lbs which can purchased at<a href=”http://seaoftranquilityyoga.com/“> Sea of Tranquility</a>. If you do not have a sandbag you can use a bag of rice of the same weight
One of the things I can always turn to to lift my spirits when I’m feeling down is music. We tend to listen to music that reflects our emotional state. Conversely music can have an effect on the feelings we experience. One thing I like to do, is to create playlists based on the state I’m seeking. For example if I am feeling more lethargic I listen to something uptempo, for me this is often Latin music. The same goes for when I am feeling anxious and need to feel a little tranquility. Listening to songs we love can help give us a sense of comfort. One of our favorite soundtracks to play at the center lately is The Infinite Essence of Life by Robert Haig Coxon, which was gifted to us by one of our lovely clients and helps give our space a sense of serenity.
Aroma therapy and has been shown on physical as well as mental and emotional health. These can be used by applying them on the body or simply by breathing in their pleasant aroma. I like to use them in a diffuser at home and at work but also like to carry a bottle in my purse so it’s always handy. The key is to choose an essential oil that we like. If an essential oil has calming properties but we dislike the scent we will feel disturbed and will most likely not experience its appeasing effect. Here are a few of my favorites:
Lavander: Balancing, calming, stimulates the production of serotonin. Helpul in nervous tension, depression and insomnia
Marjoram: Indicated when we are feeling physical and mental fatigue caused by anxiety.
Peppermint: Is often used in emergency cases to alleviate emotional shock. It as also helpuf to releive digestive problems caused by stress.
Mandarine: Calming for the central nervous system. It can be particularly helpful to use when we are feeling aggressive and are experiencing an irregular heartbeat due to stress.
Note: Essential oils are not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid using around pets.
Hope these stress management tips will help you stave off stress-related problems