The Six Letter Word That’s Killing Your Vitality……..STRESS
We talk about our stressful lives like it’s a badge of honor. Yet if we understood how all this stress was negatively affecting our health and vitality we wouldn’t consider it an honor.
Stressful situations can raise adrenaline, which is necessary if you’re being chased by a mountain lion or needing to lift a heavy object off of a person, but this usually isn’t the case. Adrenaline is corrosive to the body much like battery acid is to your car’s engine. If we are in a stressful situation like a mountain lion chase and adrenaline gets released we use up the adrenaline while running away. It’s the situations we perceive as stressful but don’t require fleeing that cause our bodies harm because the adrenaline doesn’t get used up it just sits around disturbing our internal systems.
Another side effect of stress is that when your body has a stress response to a situation it directs all your energy reserves to your extremities so that you can flee the mountain lion or lift the heavy object. This redirection of energy takes the energy away from your digestive tract. The lack of energy in the digestive tract creates sluggish ineffective digestion. Your food doesn’t get digested properly and your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to replenish the energy stores that get depleted by a stressful reaction nor do you get the nutrients needed to stay healthy and vital.
There are other reasons that stress is harmful to our health and wellbeing but let’s just concentrate on these two for now and ways to counteract stress and be more peaceful.
Three things that I do to bring more calm into my life are herbal teas, deep breathing and shaking.
Herbal teas are great for three reasons. They are none caffeinated so they do not increase stress in my body, they have nutrients my body can use for greater health and vitality, and some herbs help relieve stress and anxiety. I like nourishing herbs like nettle, oat straw and alfalfa as well as herbs that help with stress and anxiety such as rosemary and sage.
Deep breathing is an activity that you can do at anytime anywhere which makes it an amazing technique against stress. Deep breathing activates the rest and digest nervous system with as few as 4 or 5 deep breaths. Breathe in for about the count of 5 to 7 and out for about the same count. Do this anytime you feel stressed or even when you want to relax or are preparing to eat a meal.
Shaking is a technique that animals use when they are in a stressful situation. They shake or shiver until the stress subsides. When adrenaline is released you can shake or shiver until it’s used up so that it doesn’t cause damage to your body. I like to stand with my feet hip-width apart and start bouncing at the knees and let my arms shake like noodles. Doing this for a couple of minutes usually does the trick.
The holiday season is upon us so it is even more important to revisit your toolbox of stress relieving techniques and decide which ones you will be using to reduce stress during this hurried season.
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