Stress and You!
Do you feel stressed? Have you noticed you feel constantly stressed? Do you know if you are stressed?
From personal experience I can identify with 'I don't feel stressed but everyone asks me if I'm stressed'! Often we're not aware of our stress levels until others question what they observe!
Short term stress is actually good for us, it means our Sympathetic side, Fight and Flight element of our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is operational. Short term stress allows to work hard, think faster and react more quickly. Short term stress even has a name 'eustress'!
Short term stress allows to complete that marathon, sit those exams, pass our driving test, perform in a meeting, move away from the oncoming vehicle. Once we have achieved our aim we'll feel relief and an improved a sense of wellbeing.
BUT, isn't there always a but! Persistent or long term stress does quite the opposite and can be detrimental to our nervous system.
So bad stress - what is that? Persistent, negative feelings that last days, weeks and months, day to day tasks are not completed, or partially started but never finished. We stop feeling calm and relaxed and feel irritated, anxious, short tempered and erratic.
Persistent stress elevates the Sympathetic, 'Fight and Flight, part of our Autonomic Nervous System. Our bodies release stress hormones, Cortisol and Adrenalin. If left unchecked these two hormones will weaken our immune system, causing Adrenal Fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue creates havoc with our immune system; increasing cough/cold, bouts of flu, increased inflammation in the body causing pain and sensitivity in the skin. In addition stress has been linked to increase levels of Anxiety, Depression, Heart Disease, Weight Gain, Self-Esteem Issues, Fatigue and Memory Issues.
Simple Techniques to Manage Stress
This is about stopping and noticing your surroundings, paying attention to the present. Notice as you make your morning cuppa the sound of the water as it splashes into your cup, notice the steam coming off the hot water. Watch the water rise in the cup and notice the soaking of the tea bag.
Notice your feelings and your mood as you pour the water. Notice how you are standing; weight on the toes or heels. Paying attention the present moment will quieten the mental chatter and allow us to breathe more easily.
Mindfulness can be used throughout the day, from locking the front door or going for a walk in the countryside or by the sea. We use our senses; sight, touch, feel, hearing and taste to notice the moment.
Set a timer for 5-10mins. Seat in a chair, kitchen chair is perfect. Take your shoes off and place both feet on the ground.
Place your hands on your tummy and close your eyes.
Inhale through the nose, using your hands feel the belly rise as it forms a dome under your fingertips.
Exhale through the nose, feel the belly button pull back to the spine and empty the belly of air.
If you have a busy chatty mind, start to count on the inhale 1,2,3,4 and as you exhale start a new count 1,2,3,4,5. See if you can lengthen the exhale. If you counted to 4 on the inhale, try and count to 5 on the exhale.
It is the exhale that stimulates the Parasympathetic, 'Rest and Digest' part of the ANS. Lengthening the exhale will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. If you feel slightly anxious shorten the breath cycle, count to 3 on the inhale and 4 on the exhale.
Complete as many times through the day as you can.
There are so many ways to meditate, the above 2 techniques are meditative by their very nature. Meditation is about calming the mind using a technique such a guided meditation. Taking your mind on a journey clears your mind, reduces the mental chatter, reduces your stress levels, allows your body to let go of the stress, leaving you feeling calmer and relaxed.
My personal favourite is the Headspace app, this app can be used on the train, bus, walking or before you go to sleep.
At Complete Balance I use a number of Stress Management techniques these include Restorative Yoga and Chair Yoga, Remedial Massage, Sports Massage, Massage Therapy, Advanced Clinical Massage and can include the EMMETT Technique all will ease and manage the symptoms of stress.
To find out more about me and the treatments that I offer click www.completebalance.co.uk
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