We are so stoked and proud to introduce our Sea Gal Ambassador Lauren Bristowe- here is L.A with some words of wisdom on stress management…
No matter who we are, or where we live, stress is something that effects us all. What is stress? Stress is the emotional and physical way in which we respond to pressure. It can cause both mental and physical symptoms. As a powerful counter product of the fast paced, consumerist time that we life in, stress manifests itself in many different ways including physiological, behavioral and cognitive responses. Learning techniques about how to protect oneself from its harmful and sometimes debilitating repercussions is necessary in order to continue to live a healthy, productive and balanced life. Although some forms and levels of stress require a more in depth and longer treatment and those who need it should not hesitate or feel weak for searching out help, here are some quick, everyday pointers to help reduce stress.
Relax, you deserve it and it really takes less time than you think.
Take 5. Get comfortable. Either sit up straight or lay flat on your back with one hand on your belly. Close your eyes. Slowly inhale through your nose, letting the breath start in your abdomen and flow up to the top of your head. Exhale through your mouth and feel the breath reverse its way down your body. Repeat. It will get your mind off of whatever is occupying your thoughts and stressing you out. Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. Continue to focus on your breath.
2. Reach Out
You are loved. Having a social network and people to talk to can calm us down at our most vulnerable moments. Talking—preferably face to face but if not, maybe on the phone or through Skype. This can help us gain perspective, feel connected to a sometimes seemingly solo and disconnected world and allow us to get whatever we are feeling off our chests. Holding everything we are feeling inside will just create more inner turmoil. As an individualistic society we feel like we need to handle our own and do everything for ourselves. Community is what holds society together, you have it, let your pride fall to the side and utilize this gift.
Although exercise is proven to be one of the most useful techniques in reducing stress, it is hard for a lot of people to find the time to fit it in to their busy schedules. Good news. Virtually any form of exercise, from weight lifting to yoga can act as a stress reliever. Aside from increasing your overall health and sense of well-being, exercise has direct stress reducing effects.
Its a form of meditation. As you go through the motions of whatever your chosen activity is, you will find that you have forgotten the days irritations and are sub consciously focusing on your body’s movements.
It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps increase the production of your brains feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Increased endorphins equals increase in mood. Starting your day off with some sort of exercise will keep you feeling positive and happy into your day.
It helps you sleep. Lack of sleep due to stress perpetuates the cycle of negativity and the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise improves your quality of sleep thus helping to ease your stress levels.
4. Slow down
Nothing is going anywhere. Your 2 page list of things you need to accomplish will still be there. Allow yourself the small luxury of being still. Take 5 minutes and focus all of your thoughts to one behavior or experience. Go for a walk. Notice how the wind feels on your face, or the different colors of the trees and foliage look or how your feet feel when they hit the ground. Eat. Eat slowly and do not try to multi-task while you do so. Focus on what your food tastes like, the texture. Sit down and eat. Don’t eat in your car or while walking. Listen to music. Put on something you love and let the music take you away for a minute. The melodic sounds and rhythm that is the basis of music has a soothing effect on our physiological selves and we often associate music we love with times that made us happy or memories that are dear to us. Being present in moment and focusing on your senses, will help reduce feelings of tension and you will probably get more done then you would have if you had rushed around panicked and in a state of fight or flight.
We are what we eat. How many times have you heard that “your body is a temple.” Well, it is. Fill your body with vegetables and fruits and protein and whole grains. They give us the energy we need while making us feel good which increases our sense of self worth and overall well being. Because we are so rushed we grab the “cheap and easy” alternative. Meal planning can help with going towards the latter option. Give yourself less than an hour a few times a week so prepare yourself some meals that you can have ready in your fridge or freeze for future use.
There are even some foods that are known to tame stress.
Complex carbs- such as whole grain breads and oatmeal, easy to buy in bulk at your local grocery store and is affordable, is know to boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical.
Spinach- full of magnesium this power food helps keep those levels intact. Too little magnesium may bring on headaches and fatigue, compounding the effects of stress. Other leafy greens also do the trick if one is not keen on spinach.
Fatty Fish- to keep stress in check, make friends with naturally fatty fish. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon and tuna, can prevent surges in stress hormones and may help protect against heart disease, depression,
Raw Veggies- great for you and even the physical component of actually chewing them may relive a clenched jaw and help one to relax.
These are just a few of the many beneficial foods that can have a profound effect on stress.
Stress is a serious problem and needs to be addressed without prejudice or judgement. We don’t know what each other is going through, so find compassion within yourself for those around you who seem like they have stuff going on and also find compassion for yourself. Try not to be so hard on yourself. We are our worst enemy and our greatest ally. Hopefully these techniques will help ease some of the everyday stress in your life.
Namaste from Papayawellness xo