Winter Wellness – Part 4 – Lose the stress

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This week I am gearing up to do my first 3 hour exam in over 20 years and I am feeling the stress creeping in with each day moving me closer to it.   It is amazing how sly stress can be! Honestly, just when I think that I’m on top of things and have this study thing sorted life gets on top of me and before I know it, I’m feeling that tension throughout my body.  

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Thankfully we have lots of nature to get out into and de-stress

The bus isn’t the easiest place to study I have to say, apparently if you can be seen you must be spoken to :), and when you’re in a small town there aren’t that many quiet places to head off to either. So, I’m trying my best to get out of the stress loop by using the tools in my kete (basket) that I know work for me.  I figured that in a culture which too often rates your ability to cope under stress as an indicator of people’s success, others may like to try some of these little beauties to remove some of that stress naturally rather than having to ‘cope’ with it.

Get moving.  Exercise (aerobic especially) is proven to help relieve stress and other negative emotions such as depression.  When we move our bodies, it helps loosen and work all those muscles that you may be holding in tension, it gets you changing your focus, in increases oxygen to the brain and best of all those ‘feel good’ hormones get released.  Any kind of movement is good so pick one that you love and try and get out in nature with it to increase the benefits. 

Have a laugh.  Laughing creates a euphoric effect that will instantly release any tension you have. It can trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers and feel good hormone) which helps you to feel better all over and to relax.  Laughter yoga is now offered in many places and can be a great way to connect with new people however failing that it may just be a good excuse to watch those comedies, silly youtube clips and share all those jokes you have!

Count to 10.  Taking deep breathes and a wee bit of time out is an age old classic that costs nothing and is very effective. The key to this is breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth as this helps relax the whole body … it is hard to keep tension in your body with your mouth open.  Research also shows that deep breathing helps trigger the vagus nerve (a cranial nerve which helps regulate the heart, digestion and lungs) and works with the parasympathic nervous system to bring us into that ‘rest and digest’ state of being rather than stuck in ‘fight/flight or freeze’ state of being. 

Meditate.  Even 5 mins a day of meditation will help stress levels though of course the longer you meditate the greater the benefits. This doesn’t have to be a big deal just find a quite spot, close your eyes (or look downwards, relaxing your gaze) and clear your mind of as much as you can.  First thing in the morning to ‘set you up’ for the day or last thing at night to help you unwind and get a good sleep can be really effective times.  There are loads of apps out there now which can help you get into the right headspace.

Essential oils.  Scent has a powerful impact on our bodies and can bring up memories and emotions easily. This is in part due to the fact that the olfactory nerve (whose nerve fibres in the nose allow us smell) are connected to the limbic system in the brain, rather than going through the cerebral cortex (our thinking part) which triggers these ‘primitive’ responses to what we are smelling.  Lavender is the most popular relaxant but there are plenty others to try.  This link may help you to begin your experimentation with scent.

Stretch.  A good stretch can help with the physical symptoms of stress.  Like exercise it gets you moving those muscles that may have been held in tension. Try a class of yoga which will combine breathing, stretching and exercise for a real stress reliever or even a basic stretch at your desk and see how good it feels. Here is a link to a few suggestions.

Bach Flower Remedies.  As many of you know I love Bach Flower Remedies and I’m a big believer that emotions dictate our health unless we intervene.  Bach Flowers are designed to work on emotions and can target the source of your negative emotions helping to increase the positive.  White Chestnut is a classic for those who continue with ‘mental conversations and/or internal arguments’, whereas Agrimony can help those who hide their stress behind a smile.  If you want to learn more and try a treatment bottle then check out my FREE quiz to find your remedies (don’t worry you don’t have to sign up to anything) and e-mail me to make you up a bottle. Otherwise you can find out more about Bach Flowers and have your own guide by checking out my book ‘Finding Calm and Balance’ which is on sale at a special price for the next week or so, along with my other e-books.

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Only 99c (US) at the moment along with my other books

Hope this finds you a little calmer, a little less tense and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Staying on top of things

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This past weekend I spent a full day completing a workshop on how to perform Lymphatic Drainage on the feet.  It was wonderful!! Not only because it was a whole day being an adult (i.e. not being in parent mode), because it was great to learn another way to help improve our immune system and stay on top of dis-ease.

Thanks livescience.com for this image

Thanks livescience.com for this image

Too often we ignore the symptoms that something isn’t quite right in our physical bodies, for whatever reason, and try to move through it because we have to get ‘this’ or ‘that’ done.  I know I have done it many I time in the past to my own detriment!!  That is what I love about Bach Flowers, EFT, reflexology, and now reflexology lymphatic drainage routine, is that we can actually use these tools to stay on top of things in a good way.

We can use preventative measures to ensure we are promoting our health and well-being while avoiding dis-ease in our bodies. The Lymphatic system is important in this and it is this network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.  Keeping it flowing and healthy makes sense and is important.

You may not be able to have a reflexology lymphatic drainage routine (or maybe you can) but you can do things at home, in your every day lives, to ensure that you are keeping a healthy lymphatic system which will help to have a good immune system too.

  • Exercise – this will help to keep your lymphatic system flowing and moving as it ‘massages’ it into action
  • Good Food – a healthy diet means that less toxins and waste products end up in your system.  Eating over processed, sugary foods may over load the lymphatic system.
  • Drink plenty of water – the body needs water to keep everything working properly, including the lymphatic system.
  • Deep breathing – this ensures that your cells are healthy and oxygenated along with stimulating the lymphatic system.
  • Dry brushing – long strokes towards your heart for around 5 mins before a shower will stimulate the lymphatic flow.
  • Herbal teas – they are great mixture of hydration, favour and medicine (depending on what you have).
  • Use natural beauty products – means less toxins coming into your system via the skin which gives the lymphatic system less of a load.
  • Wear loose clothing – this lets the lymphatic fluid flow where as tight clothing tends to slow the whole thing down.

Well there are a few tips for staying on top of things by keeping your immune system healthy and happy.

Hope this finds you enjoy the moment and breathing deep.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Creating a Stress-Less life

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Thought I would share this article I wrote for Resonate e-magazine in September – now that I’m allowed to. Copyright 2014 Yossarian Fay 🙂

We all know about stress right?  I mean, in this busy, online, interconnected world where there is a ‘need’ to update, up-skill or up our performance daily there is hardly a moment that goes by without stress! I doubt that there is anyone reading this who has not felt the weight of stress on their shoulders at some time or another.  If there is someone out there who hasn’t felt stress then…..  Can you please, please e-mail and let us all know how you do it!

Stress, a term borrowed from physics, basically describes a force which produces strain on a physical object. Sometime in the 1920’s though, the term stress began to be used within the medical field and became a way of describing a huge range of non-specific issues which caused the human body to function irregularly.  The stress itself is a result of the hormones released in our ‘fight or flight’ response to events in our lives which strain us. In short, we ready ourselves for the perceived dangers in the world. Unfortunately for us though, in our modern age these dangers have changed from actual ‘physical’, external dangers to ‘mental’ dangers we perceive internally, more often than not.  Stress then perpetuates itself as there is no outside trigger to signal that the threat has gone.

Charles R Swindoll once wrote ‘…..life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it…..” So it is with most of us, emotions and attitude dictate everything. The same applies with stress so I’d like to reword Swindoll to say that ‘Stress is caused by 10% of what actually happens and 90% of how we react’.   Our own mental arguments, inner critics and pushers keep us wired.  When we have a deadline to meet it is just that a deadline, there is nothing more to it.  We can either meet it or not. Our brains however begin to perceive it as so much more, as a possible danger to our sense of well-being or our position in life, and this is when the stress begins to creep in.  We feel that if we don’t meet deadlines then we have failed in some way or that others will think badly of us.  We create a ‘demon’ out of it by letting it loom over us with all our other tasks and deadlines. In the end the deadline becomes the force which gets the adrenal glands started, the cortisol pumping and then the stress reactions begin to descend.

The thing is that there are different kinds of stress, both good (the stuff that makes us productive and creative) and bad (the one that causes anxiety and illness), and by changing a few things we can begin to convert some of that bad stress into a more positive one.  Imagine again our deadline. What if upon feeling the stress kick in we began to break the task down into smaller chunks so that we can see the deadline is manageable? What if we began thinking of all the other times we have succeeded in meeting a deadline and in doing so change our outlook to a more positive one. What if we went for a gentle walk (strenuous exercise can actually cause more cortisol to be released) and let the exercise release some endorphins to counter-act the cortisol?  Even thinking of all those times we haven’t met deadlines or completed tasks and the world didn’t collapse will help to put the ‘perceived’ danger into perspective.

Stress will always be there, however it is completely within us to turn that stress into a positive motivator rather than allowing it to build into a destructive force which halts us in our tracks. So at this point I offer you a few simple ideas to change that negative stress into something more positive and in doing so help to create a stress-less life.

Making a plan – Today’s Negotiable Trio (TNT)

This simple tool ‘Today’s Negotiable Trio’ (TNT) will help you to define just three things which you wish to achieve. The idea is to just focus on three things that need doing and feel GREAT when we complete them! These will be your TNT which you need to focus on for the day.  To gain a bit of balance maybe choose one which is personal, one which is business related and one which is family related. Of course when the deadlines arise all three can be whatever you need them to be 😉

Creating Energy – Exercise and movement

You knew it was coming, didn’t you!  Yes, it is vital for us to move our bodies as part of creating our ‘Stress-Less’ life.  Gentle exercise helps us to renew our energy and refresh our minds while the body releases endorphins which are our ‘feel good’ hormones.

Not only will exercise and fresh air help you sleep better, it has also been proven to improve your mood and mindset in life which will help you deal with difficult situations better. Getting out of the environment which is ‘stressing’ you and expending energy will actually beget you more energy while reducing stress.

Clearing the negative – Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Much of the stress we feel is caused by our emotional reaction to what is happening to us or around us. EFT is a great tool which you can use to help lessen that emotional response. EFT works on the principle of tapping acupressure points at the same time as talking. By tapping on the acupuncture points you ‘free’ trapped energy and by talking about the issue at hand you also gain ‘headspace’ through releasing your internal chatter to the world.  Science also shows that tapping calms the amygdala. This is the part of the brain which is the body’s ‘alarm’ , signalling when it is time to go into ‘fight or flight’ mode, essentially when it is time to stress out! To learn more about EFT head to Becoming Healthy or EFT Universe for a guide on the Emotional Freedom Technique.

Counting your blessing – Re-enforcing the positives

It is exactly as it says above, when the stress creeps in take some time out to focus on all the positives happening in your life. Focus also on all the successes you have felt in the past along with those times when everything turned out just fine despite a rocky start.  In doing this you will be actively changing the way your mind is operating and so when you come back to look at the ‘situation,’ which is causing stress,  you will be able to view it more objectively.

Nourishing your body – Eating and drinking well

Just as your car eventually won’t work if you are putting in diesel instead of petrol, your body can’t work with the ‘wrong’ kinds of food in it.  Nourishing our bodies with good food so that it can work at its best is important when creating a ‘Stress-Less’ life.  When the body is ‘stressed’ from combating the ‘wrong’ kinds of foods for us it begins to come into a state of dis-ease and from there more stress occurs.

In order to create the ‘Stress-Less’ life we are aiming for we need to be listening to our bodies, nourishing it and also giving it time to rest in between meals. How this occurs will be different for everyone.  It is so important to take time to really listen to your body and how it reacts with foodstuffs to find the ‘right’ nourishing foods for you.  Considering the amounts we eat, the frequency at which we eat and the quality of the food are all important to creating a ‘Stress-Less’ life in our physical bodies.

So there they are; a few ideas for creating your own ‘Stress-Less’ life.  A fact of life is that there will always be stress; however how you deal with the stress which occurs is up to you. Try the ideas out, give them ago and use them to help you create a life where you are in control not your emotional response to stress.  You create your own realities; changing stress into a positive motivator is a far nicer reality to live with.

Arohanui

Y

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Becoming-Healthy-NZ/687015657978205

One day till departure time…

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Well it has arrived!  Yes, our move day is just one sleep away now and as I type this the house is fill with boxes (filled and empty), there is a lingering smell of cleaning products (desperately trying to get most of it done tonight) and themselves are snuggled into my bed where I will do be joining them.

Stacked and ready to load on the truck.

Stacked and ready to load on the truck

I am happy to say that while today truly tested my powers of calm, life has been very stress-less (until today :)).  The issues which surfaced just 6 weeks ago have long since gone as I have really focused on my health, partly due to the half marathon I ran a week ago (which was probably the thing that kept me on the healthy straight and narrow) and mostly because I just didn’t want to feel crap!

Coming up to the finish line of the half marathon.

Coming up to the finish line of the half marathon.

I realised sitting here just how far I have come in my health and wellbeing in a little over 2 years.  Where as before I would reach for energy drinks to keep me going, stay up late and eat for comfort I now aim for ways I can feel better about myself and happier in my days.  It isn’t always plain sailing however the rough patches have certainly lessened and become less frequent.

I can see that tapping, eating well, exercise, Bach Flowers, meditation and learning to love myself is a way of life now rather than a quick fix to be dropped once the going is good.  Writing on here and other online articles has really helped to remind me of that and the reward is a lot less stress in my days.

Hope this finds you enjoying a few stress-less days of your own.

Arohanui

Y