As a society we are experiencing EPIDEMIC proportions of stress….and it is killing us.
We process in one day what biologically we were meant to process in a year.Just think…..your phone calls, e-mails, texts, Facebook notifications, work tasks, home tasks…….the list just doesn’t end.We’ve all heard how bad stress is for us. It increases blood sugar, hinders our digestion, wreaks havoc on our hormones, keeps us awake at night, and keeps us in emotional knots. (Just to name a few.)
A few years ago when I was working at my job as a radiologic technologist I would visit the chiropractor almost every 3-4 weeks to help keep my headaches at bay. While I really like my chiropractor, I asked him once, “What do I need to do to visit you less often?” He looked at me and said, “GET RID OF YOUR STRESS!” I wondered how I could better manage my stress while staying at my job. About a year afterwards my mental breakdown taught me exactly how.
Here’s what I learned on my journey:
1.Self reflect and re-define expectations. I imposed SO MANY expectations ON MYSELF. I had to be the best at my job. The best wife. The best cook. The best gardener. The best daughter/friend/sister. I needed the cleanest home. I needed to have a good body. And guess what?I was the only one who thought all of this.
I blamed my husband many times that they were his expectations. He responded calmly, “When did I tell you that?” Guess what? He never did.
I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO THOUGHT THAT.Ask yourself, “Who’s expectations are these?” Are they yours? Do you exactly know what your husband expects of you? (It’s much less than you think.) Do you know exactly what your boss expects of you? Are there people in your life who expect too much of you? Examine your relationships and re-define expectations. Affirm daily: “I am free from all expectations.”
2. Be Present. Be ever present in whatever task you are doing right now. As you read this, notice your breathing. Notice how your back side is sitting in the chair. Notice your posture. Notice the smells. Notice if you’re holding tension in your face. Stress happens when we are guilty about the past worrying about the future. Take in each moment as you go. A book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle was a life changer for me in this category. Check it out!
3. Kick the sugar and the caffeine. I know. Throw rotten tomatoes at me. But caffeine throttles your adrenal glands (these are organs that sit a top of your kidneys and are responsible for releasing the hormone cortisol when your body is in “flight” response.) If you are stressed to begin with, your adrenals are already depleted, and caffeine only makes it worse. Sugar and refined foods put us on the blood sugar roller coaster and really messes with our energy levels. That’s why we want the coffee at 3 pm. Drink 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon of water per day. Make sure you get 8,000 to 10,000 steps in. Notice your energy levels then. Eliminating caffeine and decreasing sugar were huge for me in getting rid of my panic attacks.
4. Identify if the stress is yours or someone else’s. Since we are energetic beings living in an energetic world, energy affects our emotions, our mind, and our physical body. How do you feel after you’ve been around someone who’s really wound tight? Do you feel anxious? Energy always seeks balance so you are probably carrying someone else’s stress. How do we get rid of this energy? Close your eyes and imagine your energy field as a big white bubble that extends 3-5 feet all around you. As you inhale imagine all of your energy back to you (other people may be carrying our energy too) up through your feet, out through the crown of your head, and into your energy field. As you exhale, imagine everyone else’s energy in your field as specks of dust being blown away and out of your field by your exhale. Repeat 2 more times.
5. Take an epsom salt bath. Most people with stress and anxiety are low in magnesium levels. Fill your tub up with hot water and add epsom salts and relax for 15-20 minutes. The hot water will open your pores and the magnesium from the epsom salts will soak into your skin.
6. Do diaphramatic breathing. Most Americans breathe very shallow through their chest. To activate the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest part) slowly inhale and exhale with the intention of pushing your belly out. This moves your diaphragm (the muscle between your lungs and your abdominal organs) and this diaphragmatic movement is what sends relaxing signals to our nervous system. Do this as often throughout the day as you can! If you feel a panic attack coming on, this is the key to keeping things from escalating.
7. Friggen relax. Life is supposed to be fun. Smile. Crack a joke. Dance a little bit. Watch babies laugh or puppies on YouTube. Don’t take this life or any of it’s components too seriously. We are all just here to learn lessons and to love each other. That’s it. 🙂
Have a happy, healthy day!