In my practice, I see how stress, (defined as a force that tends to compress or twist the body), impacts almost everyone’s body, causing contortions that alter an existing equilibrium and, in turn, affect thoughts and emotions. The hard work of life — maintaining our homes, feeding ourselves healthy food, caring for those around us – can feel insurmountable.
What if by merely changing your perspective throughout the day, you could transform hardship into fun and adventure and, in so doing, alter your body’s reaction to stress?
Stress can be emotional or physical. In response to stress, the nervous system releases a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenal glands. Elevated cortisol causes:
|Physical Symptoms||Emotional Symptoms|
|Elevated blood sugar||Fatigue|
|Impaired immune system; Slow-healing wounds||Anxiety|
|Brain atrophy||Decreased libido|
|Thin skin/ Wrinkles||Impaired memory|
|Fluid retention||Sleep disturbances / Insomnia|
Humans are designed for the occasional fight-or-flight response. However, continual exposure to stress in our modern life is being linked to cancer, ulcers, heart attacks, diabetes, heart disease, skin diseases, and, possibly, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.
43% of adults suffer adverse health effects from stress and 75% to 90% of all doctors’ office visits involve stress-related complaints.
De-compress Your Stress Tool Kit
I have a secret strategy for dealing with my stress.
It involves focusing on the space around my body — a dynamic bubble an arms-width all around — my Personal Space.
When I keep my Personal Space healthy and roomy, my reaction to the stress of life dramatically changes.
This exercise might be hard to do while sitting at your computer, but let’s try.
- First take a moment to notice your body and imagine the space around it, imagining a large sphere around your entire body.
- Now, think of a time or event in your life when you felt good; go back to that time or place and notice how your body feels. Notice the space around your body; is your Personal Space big or small?
- Now think of a stressful time or event in your life; go back to that time and notice how your body feels. Notice the space around your body; is your Personal Space big or small?
Most people report that their Personal Space constricts under stress. This constriction effects how the body feels.
My second secret for de-compressing stress is the way in which I re-establish my Personal Space.
- When the space around us collapses, we assume that we need to create stronger boundaries.
- In fact, we need to imagine the edges of our Personal Space being drawn outward in all directions like tiny little suction cups pulling space outward. Rather than adding more compression or contortions into our lives, we need to simply give ourselves permission to fill our own Personal Space.
More Tools to De-compress Stress
- Set an hourly chime on your phone or watch; notice what your body and space feel like; re-establish your space.
- Drink water and eat a whole foods diet.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods, as these substances increase cortisol.
- Fish oil lowers cortisol.
- B vitamins support the nervous system; I use a multi-B with methylated folate and cobalamin.
- Herbs to support the adrenal gland such as ashwaganda, rhodiola, and Korean ginseng. I like Mega Stress by Priority One
If you would like to get these supplements from trusted companies, go here. To create your own account, your access code is ‘ahp’.
We can learn how to address our fast-paced lives by changing our relationship to stress, thereby ensuring a healthy body so that we are able to spend more time and energy on the things that we truly love and care about.
May you be filled with a blooming of spirit to inspire yourself and those around you.
What tools do you use to deal with stress?
As always, I love to hear your questions or feedback. Feel free to email me.