Sometimes I sit down to write a blog post and wonder what it is I am going to write? It’s not that I don’t have loads of ideas in my head buzzing around, but the block is around selection. I want to write something useful to my readers and this very conundrum started me thinking about busy minds and the topic of stress. Everyone feels stressed sometimes in their lives and some of us feel it often as we are constantly doing too much and juggling too many things. When I start having daydreams of taking time out to go and sit on a empty beach with my nearest and dearest, I know it’s time to step up the things that help me de-stress. Here are the things that help me most when my head and/or life feels over loaded.
Increase Your Protein Intake:
Stress makes me want to stop my usual healthy eating habits and reach for the sugar. This would be so easy for me as my adrenals are a little on the low side in terms of function and the cravings for sugar can sometimes be very strong. However, if I resist it and eat exceptionally healthily instead, which means frequent protein snacks and meals and drinking lots and lots of filtered or alkaline water, I feel so much better!
Move Your Body More:
Exercise is my friend and yours too! Although when beginning an exercise regime it can cause cortisol levels to rise; once the regime is regular and established, it diminishes the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. It’s the endorphins that give that runner’s high that you might have heard of.
This one is very important. We all know that breathing is essential but did you know that when you are stressed you tend to breathe in a shallow way? This helps ramp up the activity of the Sympathetic Nervous system (SNS) which manages the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. So what we want is to turn this dial down and turn on the Parasympathetic Nervous system (PNS). Well, it is actually very easy to do this with your breath. To do it you have to initiate and practice diaphragmatic breathing. I teach this to my anxiety or adrenally fatigued clients all the time. This is how you do it simply and easily:
Breathing for Stress Relief Exercise
You can do this standing, sitting, in a queue, car anywhere but when you are trying it out I suggest sitting or lying in a place you can concentrate.
Place your hand on your belly and one on your upper chest. Take a normal deepish breath sufficient to allow you to feel your belly pushing out as your breath fills your lungs. Allow yourself to completely exhale. Then WAIT until your body wants you to take another breath. Repeat. Start counting the counts of the exhalation. If you exhale for 8 counts, wait at least 4 to take your following breath. If you exhale for 6 counts, wait 3 and so on. The secret is to not HOLD your breath but make this light, easy and relaxed.
Repeat for 10 breaths.
If you are stressed, I promise you that doing this at least 3 times a day will make a huge physiological difference as your PNS takes over from your ANS and those stress hormones subside. This has far reaching health effects.
Walk in Nature
It is known that being outside in nature rather than in a city or inside buildings facilitates great relaxation. If you are working in a city try and find a green space that you can sit in or walk in for 10 minutes during your lunch break. If you are lucky enough to live in a beautiful city like Sydney, get to the water and feast your eyes on the blue water. If you can take your shoes off for a moment and stand on the green grass.
There are many things you ca do to release stress and manage your busy mind. What kind of things do you like to do?