Plenty of people come to me for help with stress, expecting that a session or a workshop will make it all go away, which, of course, it doesn’t. Looking around I am not entirely surprised over this naivete, stress is on everybody’s lips and the definition of what stress actually is has been lost along the way. No matter where the stress comes from or what the stressors are, stress is always personal. Each and every person that comes to me with problems of stress are different; personalities, results of stress, what the stressors are etc. (An informational tid-bit: The word stressor (stress + or) was “created in 1955)
As I have said before, negative reactions to stress is a lifestyle problem. Knowledge and understanding is needed to isolate and understand the problem, and very often some important life-style changes are needed to heal. But this is individual so I won’t go into it here. If you have serious problems you should find a therapist or a coach to help you. For daily measures following advice makes a big difference; if you do this every hour it will take 5 minutes of your time and increase your effectiveness and well-being: But you need to remember to do it, nobody will do this for you…
- Smile, even if it is fake. The mere muscular movement of pulling your mouth into a smile sends signals to the limbic system in the brain to secrete more “feel-good-hormones” and boosts your immune-system: Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine found that laughing also “lowers serum cortisol levels, increases the amount of activated T lymphocytes, increases the number and activity of natural immune system killer cells, and increases the number of T cells that have helper / suppresser receptors.”
- Stretch; stand up and stretch your whole body, really feel how circulation increases in your muscles – like bubbly water, making them warm and free. Do this every hour and you will experience much less tension and aches.
- Check your posture; how do you carry yourself? If you straighten up your body automatically sends signals to the brain, making you feel strong and positive. How to do it: Stand up with your knees slightly bent, arms by your side. Lift your chin and do forward shoulder-rolls, 3 times (really lift your shoulders up and around and release them to feel your arms growing longer), and then do backward shoulder-rolls 3 times. Now your chin should be lifted, your back straight, your arms are longer and your shoulders lowers. Your chest should be open and lifted. Do this exercise every hour and each time you think about it. You will find that it makes a huge difference to your energy-levels. Constantly check your posture in mirrors and shop-windows, correcting as needed.
- Drink water: One 25cl glass each hour keeps you hydrated. You will have better energy, improved mood and no head-aches or heavy feeling. It helps flush out toxins in your body-system, keeping you healthy and balanced. Every cell in your body needs fresh water to function well. With every soda, coffee or alcohol intake, drink extra water to balance the dehydrating effects, and help the body to handle the toxins.
- Breath; 3 deep breaths deep down in your stomach. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep it nice and slow, really filling up with fresh air and breathing out all staleness, exhaustion, irritation from your system. Do this every hour, every cell in your body needs oxygen, stress and sitting still deprives you of oxygen.
- Thoughts; Pay attention to your thought-patterns. Every time you notice negative patterns, change them to the positive. Think of beautiful places, somebody you love, something that makes you happy.
- Re-connect with yourself; Every hour take stock of how you feel; both physically and emotionally, and give your body what it needs; water, relaxation, movement, nutrition.
- Cut out sugar; this is a tough one, I know, but sugars (especially fake sugars) are pure toxins to the body. It wreaks havoc with your hormone-systeme, digestion, mood… Eat fruit and nuts (unsalted, non-sweetened, non-roasted) if you need a quick fix. Your body and mind will thank you for this.
- Stimulants; coffee, tea, alcohol, cigarettes; try to keep it to a minimum. Go for green tea or herbal teas (mint-tea is great for added energy) Check out all the natural teas in the health food store.
Once you start listening to your body and give it these hourly relief-moments you will also learn what you need. The greatest stressor is not paying attention to inner needs. Nutrition, sleep/relaxation and exercise are the 3 most important ingredients to staying healthy and combating stress. Learn about nutrition and proper eating because everything you put in your body will be used as fuel, so what you eat and drink really matters greatly to your health. Your body and mind are totally connected; all what you think/feel will be lodged in your body, and whatever is going on in your body will affect what you think/feel. Here is a small example; when you feel fear, you round your back, pull up your shoulders and cross your arms in front of you…feelings influence how you use your body.
- Nutrition and proper eating: http://www.gillianmckeith.info/
- Exercise: http://www.londonpersonaltrainingstudio.com/
Remember: All what you do or don’t do to yourself today will influence the quality of the rest of your life.