You’ve heard about the “fight or flight” mode before. You’ve lived in that mode. Maybe you’re in it right now and are furiously reading this on the run. The problem is that being in “fight or flight” mode for too long has many damaging effects on your body and I see the effects of this in many of my patients.
Here are 3 strategies to use to “stress less” & all are important components of my classes.
We know that chronic stress can cause a permanent change in your breathing pattern. Causing problems further down the chain and have implications for our pelvic floor, abdominal muscles and even our bowels. Recalibrate your system and learn to breathe again properly so you can switch on the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) and dampen down the stress response (fight or flight).
Place one hand on your chest and one on your belly button. Breathe in. Often we breathe with the top part of our lungs so you may have only fet your top hand move (the one on your chest). Try to breath deeply into your belly so that your hand on your belly moves as you breathe.
Breathe in – belly moves out and expands into your hand.
Breathe out – belly button slowly lowers back towards spine.
Now if you’re anything like me you just did that in record time. IN/OUT/IN/OUT Phew!
N o w s l o w i t d o w n
Breathe for 4 seconds. Hold it for 2 seconds. Breathe out for 6 seconds.
Slowly, completely and deeply. Being aware of the changes in your body as that breath enters your nose, your lungs, and your belly rises.
“There is more to life than increasing it’s speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
2. An Attitude of Gratitude
We’ve all heard the saying: “Turn that frown upside down”. When it comes to dealing with stress, we need to make a conscious effort to seek out the positive in the negative, to find the silver lining and consistently nourish our attitude to be one of gratitude.
We need to create a culture where we can tell our friends over coffee “I am just so grateful for ……” Rather than a constant whinge and bitch session that would rival the drama of Bold and the Beautiful.
So take a moment right now and answer this:
Who do you appreciate?
What abilities do I have that I am grateful for?
Which relationships in my life am I thankful for?
What experiences have I had that I am grateful for?
“ Stress is something that’s created in the mind, basically. It’s how we look at things, so our greatest defense against stress is the ability to change our minds; to change our thinking.”
– Goldie Hawn
Have a sedentary job? Studies say you’re at higher risk. Get outside, go for a walk, run, swim, ride, join a gym, find an exercise buddy or come to a clinical pilates class 😉
Whatever you do – make it a minium of 30min per day, get the heart racing, get a glittery sweat and enjoy the feeling of moving your body and clearing your mind.
We are designed to move. And when you don’t – it actually stresses your body out.
And if you’ve just skimmed through and want a summarized version of the above:
Breathe deeply, completely, slowly (and properly!).
Make gratitude your new attitude.
Move your body in whatever way you like – just do it!