At Bodywise we encourage you to be kind to your body & soul by reducing stress
Stress is the most often cited link to feeling unwell and all health problems from immunity to depression, hormonal imbalances to inflammation, and problem behaviour to obesity. In an era of abundant stressors from excess food and alcohol to overwork, inadequate sleep and down time, never mind big calamities, is it any wonder we may lose our way. When overwhelm and anxiety lead to stress, take control by choosing and practicing a thought/action that will positively reward you and alleviate the situation. YOU can be in charge of your reactions!
The human fight/ flight response has evolved as a protective primal instinct to remove us from life-threatening situation. However the same mechanism is encountered as a result of modern life’s hectic pace to be on time, reach our goals and to meet standards our culture may expect of us. This starts very early in life as children and continues as we navigate our way through often overwhelming situations and can be character building or detrimental to our wellbeing. Too often, when stressed, our bodies operate in a state of panic and this takes its toll both mentally and physically.
When stressed, a host of biological processes are activated so that you can operate on high alert. Your digestion slows and breathing, heart rate and blood pressure increase, mental clarity reduces and adrenaline is distributed throughout the body to prepare you to run away. This is process uses plenty of energy and therefore lots of nutrients, and can leave you exhausted and deflated.
Here are some tools so you may utilise stress as friend to mobilise you but not overwhelm you.
Be kind to body & soul by taking a journey of self-awareness
You are your best physician (or an advocate for a child) and can help heal yourself. Knowing when you are feeling helpless or agitated may result in more stress toward yourself and those around you, so understanding your triggers and learning what you can do to mitigate your own stress response are key self enhancement tools.
So what are the stressors? Here are some questions to think about.
- Is there a pattern to feelings of stress?
- How do your work and relationships affect you?
- Do you procrastinate or practice avoidance, and if so, sort what’s holding you back?
- Have you regularly eaten too little or too much, if so why?
- Does your mood affect others, if so what are you doing to help yourself?
- How easily can you accept others with differing opinions?
- Do you often skip exercise and then find sleep difficult?
- Are you woken at night by snoring, road noise or for teenagers, texting all hours?
- Do you allow yourself to see to your own needs first so that you can serve others better?
- Are you really listening to those dearest to you?
- Are you afraid of asking for guidance or help?
- Can you take time to chill regularly?
- Are you avoiding health or relationship issues because you are worried where they are leading?
I am sure you now have some thoughts going around. Listen to them, write the most pressing concerns down and then make a plan to find ways to sort them. If answers do not come easily that’s fine, now you know you need some guidance and there are plenty at your local community centre who can head you in the right direction. Also try your doctor, naturopath, counsellor, bank, gym or anyone in a relevant field. In other words go on a journey of self-discovery and get sorted. It will lift your spirit to know you are doing something, one kindly step at a time!
Be kind to body & soul by eating really, really well; the right fuel is key physically and mentally.
Tip; prepare double portions at mains meals and make one of those portions into lunch, as a soup or salad for the next day. Saves; money, time and you eat a great lunch!
- fresh local (organic if you can) colourful vegetables at least 3 meals per day.
- healthy fats ( coconut, olive butter),
- complex carbs and quality protein fish, chicken meat, soaked nuts and seeds.
- drink at least two litres of water a day and especially as herbal teas such as oats, holy basil, melissa
- Take a potent and quality nutritional supplement to provide extra nutrients.
- Find a herbal dispensary that will prescribe herbs that meet your individual needs to minimise the effects of stress and enhance your ability to cope with it while attending to other seemingly unrelated health issue.
Be kind to body & soul by being active.
Oxygen is also a fuel so diarise an enjoyable burst of exercise to dispose of all that adrenaline waiting in the muscles to be used, reducing nervous energy and eliminating the destructive cycle of stress. Exercise will also promote circulation, remove wastes, reduce insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes) and promote the wonderful feeling of from the release of endorphins and mental clarity follows.
- After dinner, create a relaxing evening routine that will help you wind down and sleep well.
- Prepare a relaxing tea like our Wind Down Tea and rest up without the TV, computer, phone at least an hour before bed.
Be kind to body & soul by de-cluttering mind and your environment
The art of growing from a young un to an elder is not just about just learning how to make friends, money or a career, it is also about learning to accept yourself and others and loving yourself for all that you are, as they say “warts and all”.
Some people show us how we do not want to be, so giving yourself permission to say no to people whose behaviour or expectations do not align with your own will lift you spirit and reduce your stress. That is a life-changing thought for many.
De-cluttering our physical environment can also lift our energy. So sell or gift away the excess baggage at home and work.
Be kind to body & soul through hobbies, relaxation, meditation and sleep
We can be active or passive relaxers. The active ones may cook, paint, walk, fish, garden, taichi, yoga etc. The passive ones will enjoy yin yoga, or meditation. There are many health benefits from meditation, the most important being stress-reduction, lower blood pressure, reduced levels of the stress hormones.
Simply focusing on your breath is an easily accessible method of meditating especially if you can look out into a beautiful vista and be undisturbed for even 5 minutes. Sit in a comfortable position, breathing deeply until you feel a clearing of your mind where your thoughts drift past like the breeze or clouds in the sky. Meditation involves observing your thoughts, but not engaging with them unlike when you concentrate your thinking. If you find yourself engaging your thoughts, gently return to your breathing without reprimanding yourself. Meditation provides a level of self-control and self-awareness that is powerful in counteracting the stress response.
However you switch off, it will happen more easily if it is not on your “To Do” list. Grab a few minutes anywhere, any time, breathe by focusing on a lovely painting, a great view or a flow pot. If you can get outside and on to a lawn, beside a river or the seaside, all the better. Even if you only have 5 minutes just tell your body and mind you have been there for hours. Imagine you have had such a lovely period of relaxation. Imagine how the tension in your body has decreased, the mind has cleared while you keep breathing. With a little practice the body won’t really know the difference in how long you have been sitting quietly
Be kind to body & soul through mindfulness and gratitude
Deliberately counting our blessings has a truly uplifting effect on our mood and mental endurance.
A diary can be your happy place to record the achievements and gratitude for the day just passed (never mind how difficult) and the prospects for the day ahead. Our mental and emotional wellbeing gets a lift and this quite naturally reduces our stress levels. By taking some time out to make a note of the days blessings followed by some deep breathing, and conscious muscle relaxation last thing before sleep, could be the kindest action you deliver to your body and soul each night and each morning.
Sleep well & be well!
Take the first steps now and contact us with your question!