One of the best ways to eliminate stress costs very little time and no money. Your breath and perception of gratitude will be your saving grace. Learning the simple act of taking long deep breaths and always finding something to be grateful for will instantly change your bio-chemistry and have you change your state instantly. If it seems to good to be true, this week’s Self Love Quicky will be a good one to tune into!
How on earth do we get off the stress express and take some time for ourselves when we feel overwhelmed and strung out, stressed or worried?
I had the pleasure of listening to Dr Libby Weaver recently talking about the challenges for women to get off the stress express. She said women have less energy and are now more stressed than ever. Many have father’s jobs as well as mother’s responsibilities.
She said one needed to think of energy like a bank account. If you are not depositing (with things like eating healthy, sleeping well, meditating, exercising, getting sunshine and doing all the other ‘right’ things) and always withdrawing, even going into overdraft, you will soon pay interest.
When the body is stressed (or in danger as our ancestors would see it) the body will choose glucose to support it to run from that danger. Not such a bad problem thousands of years ago, but today we are more stressed and eating more sugar than ever before.
Sugar has fast become our energy source and this is playing havoc with our bodies, hormones and wellbeing. Nothing replaces an amazing way of eating. Real food is the foundation of everything. Good fuel in will give your body the best chance to survive and even thrive through stressful and challenging times.
You don’t have to be perfect with your eating but it’s what you do consistently that matters. Look also at the chemicals in your environment. Unknowingly there may be many unnecessary chemicals around your home that could be wreaking havoc and causing stress on your system. There are 50trillion cells in your body. It is essential each one of them receives the right nutrients and the right care for optimum output.
Check out Self Love Podcast show number 2 on aromatherapy and how powerful it can be as an alternative to everyday chemicals and products that you may be unknowingly using in your home.
Let’s take a closer look at what stress is doing to our nervous system and eating habits. The CNS (central nervous system) is seen as the conscious mind; the ANS (autonomic nervous system) the unconscious. This breaks down into the SNS (sympathetic nervous system – the red zone!) the fight or flight response and the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system the green zone!) the rest, digest, repair and reproduce centre!
When you are in stress mode or fight or flight mode the adrenaline needs kick in. Blood supply to the digestive system digresses from the gut to the extremities. Interesting that one in five women have IBS – irritable bowel syndrome. When the body feels in danger or stressed it will choose glucose to fuel it.
Thousands upon thousands of people use glucose not fat as their fuel. And if you are constantly in SNS it changes your desires to consume. Your body naturally will want more sugar, more sweet foods. And this is where many reach for refined sugary foods – like a muffin or cake at 3pm in the afternoon for example.
The worse part about this is often eating like this can lead to guilt. Many women get home and figure they have ruined it for the day so they have wine and cheese when they get home and then think stuff it – have blown it might as well have dessert too.
Then they lie in bed trying to sleep feeling so guilty beating themselves up. And whilst you might think start again tomorrow and you will find the will power we have to remember we are built on ancient mechanisms and these will override and dominate behaviours. We forget and seem to think that we cannot choose what we do. That something else is controlling us.
Well, in fact we can and with the right perception – with gratitude – you simply cannot be stressed. If you can begin your day thinking about how ridiculously grateful you’re you are giving your body the best chance to be in the PNS – the green zone. You wake up feeling energised and avoid long periods of time in the red zone. Better still add in the Daily Body Boost (a two minute all over body massage using natural oils) and you are really setting yourself up for a great day.
Check out the Self Love Podcast number 18 to know how to do the Daily Body Boost ritual.
But here’s one step further. It has been proven that along with the right food and as small amount of toxic load as possible, the biggest thing that truly helps to change the bio-chemistry is your external breath and extending it. Taking nice long deep breaths into the belly where your tummy extends as well as your chest has been proven to massage internal organs and create internal calm.
Aim to take 20 nice long slow breaths each day. First thing in the morning might be a good time for you to try or just as you are going to bed. When you breathe slowly fat is used way more efficiently. Become breath aware. Simply place your right hand over your naval then the left hand over that. Practice breathing by moving your tummy as well, see your hands move as you breathe.
Dr Libby believes most people believe the opposite to stress is calm. She believes it is trust. Two things in particular. Things that cause stress tend to be about:
So much stress comes from your beautiful heart. It is remarkable that you care so much or are worried about something… And most women are raised to be a good girl. It is the highest of human needs to serve and contribute. But what is this really doing to your health?
Think about the things that really stress you. Even take a moment to write them down just so you are aware of them. Do you wake each morning feeling like – Wow! I have such a busy day today, I am so excited! Or do you feel like – OMG! I have got so much to get done today… Now ask yourself if you are stressed about it – is it fear? Fear you will miss out? Or fear of letting other people down? Your emotions drive a lot of behaviours and experiences.
Sometimes a change in perspective can help. Good nutrition is obviously important. Just remember that any diet change should come from a place of kindness not harshness. This is where eating more SLOW food (seasonal, local, organic and whole), more greens and water will certainly serve you.
And try the breath exercise. Here’s the bonus – add in essential oils to your breathing exercise to truly anchor in its benefits. Use essential oils in place of harsh chemicals in your skincare, personal care products and even cleaning products.
One of my absolute favourites for the Daily Body Boost is Sandalwood.
Sandalwood is one of the most beautiful, grounding and most of the precious oils to create a sense of oneness. It is renowned for promoting a profound sense of well-being. It can soothe nervous tension and anxiety and is ideal when you are worried or feeling like you have little control. It is a wonderful oil to help relieve stress and support an increase in confidence and self-esteem. Take your beautiful bottle of Sandalwood, try this amazing ritual and see what unfolds.
Sandalwood Ritual – Place a drop of Sandalwood on a tissue and tuck it into your top. Light your vaporiser, add 4 drops Sandalwood, 2 drops Geranium and 3 drops Lime or Orange. Find a place of rest, either sitting on your bed, on a comfortable chair, even the floor. As long as you are upright and comfortable and your vaporiser is close.
Now sit quietly, take three deep, relaxed breaths and centre yourself. Now focus on the breath and as you take a breath in say aloud or within ‘I am at one with the universe, I am grounded and embrace all that is.’ Then breathe out relaxed and slowly. Repeat it again and now really focus on those words and what they are actually saying.
Now, allow your breath to carry your thoughts for another few minutes or for as long as you desire. And trust when you feel the time is ready to slowly bring your awareness to the present moment, you can smile and be grateful for all that is.
I hope you love Sandalwood too… In my humble opinion it is pure magic in a bottle!
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MUSIC INTRO & OUTRO
Many thanks to Wes and Charlotte Carr – https://wesleydeanmusic.com/