As you reviewed your results from the Stress Questionnaire in Part I, I hope that you had an extremely low number that made you feel proud, and not a number that made you fall out of your chair.
Being in the field of health and wellness for a good part of my life has allowed me to realize that most Americans (even those who are considered “healthy”) are juggling more stress points than they can handle. In time this out of balance teeter totter begins to display itself as high blood pressure, regular headaches, achy joints, or other common ailments.
As you begin this 2013, allow yourself a few moments to cultivate a wellness plan including stress reduction in areas that are appropriate for you. There is a common quote about knowing what you can and cannot change and this is the first item to tackle as you look at your life.
There are stressors that you cannot change such as: the death of a loved one, a medical diagnosis or illness, loss of a job in a tough economy, or the end of a relationship. These are stressors that can be debilitating, to say the least. Often, just trying to wake up in the morning and plastering a smile on your face is the best you can do to function. Beautiful people accept what they cannot change and take steps to find positivity and avenues to filter the emotional roller coaster that ensues.
On the other hand, there are many stresses that you DO have control over: busy schedules, poor eating habits, watching negative images on your computer or TV, poor lifestyle habits such as excessive drinking or smoking, or negative thinking, to name a few.
Your physical body reacts to a negative image or thought in the same way it would if you were actually experiencing impending doom. For example, many of us watch shows before bed about crime scenes and criminals. If a scientist were to look at your brain waves and take your vitals while you watch these, you would have similar stress related responses as if you were actually in your TV experiencing these crimes in real life.
Keep the above in mind when you look at the suggestions to follow.
You must first begin by giving yourself permission to authentically release poisonous emotions that may want to fester, and then try one or two of the suggestions below to keep a positive and hopeful outlook on your journey into a balanced 2013.
- Take time to sit with your thoughts and feelings. When calming your nerves and sitting in silence we can hear our heart. This is often a great place to start observing how we are truly feeling. If you feel anger or sadness, take action to release it in a healthy way. Sometimes when clients are silent in a safe place with me I will encourage them to emote in the way that they need without judgment. This proves to be quite cathartic. Tears are allowed. Punching a pillow is a great idea.
- Exercise. Find a way to move your body that is fun and that leaves you feeling refreshed. The hormonal affects of exercise are great anecdotes to stress. 30-60 minutes, 3-5 days per week is the recommended dose. Exercise does not need to be painful or strenuous. You should enjoy it!
- Create positive affirmations for yourself. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, create a safe place where you can affirm something like, “I am peaceful. It’s OK for me to relax. I expect the best to happen.”
- Nix the guilt. Look over your schedule and ask yourself, “What can I say NO to?” Often we feel stressed when we are trying to please everyone else. Many of our “to dos” CAN wait.
- Listen to your favorite music, and by all means, sing along…with fervor.
- Use Heart Healing Posture. I have mentioned this in past articles. The act of sitting and crossing your wrists and ankles while thinking about a stressor will allow your brain to balance the perceived stress and will calm your nerves.
- BREATHE. Calm your breathing. Tell it to slow down.
- Try a relaxing tea to induce the parasympathetic (relaxation) nervous response in your body.
- Learn about meditation. Meditation is about LISTENING to your heart.
- Pray outloud.
- Eat well. Regular meals 3-4 hours apart in balanced quantities will keep your pancreas happy and your mind alert.
- Touch someone. A pat on the back. A hug. A smooch. Enjoy your partner, and allow yourself to feel loved. We are created for connection.
- Add to this list. Where are you when you feel the most peace? Who are you with? Cultivate these moments as much as possible.
I wish you all a happy and peaceful 2013!
Tamara Joy Patterson was raised in Northern California and lives in Palo Cedro with her husband and their two children. She is a graduate of CSU, Chico, and Clayton College of Natural Health with degrees in Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, and Natural Health, and is a certified mind-body expert and ACSM certified exercise specialist. Tamara has been in the health-and-wellness field professionally for more than 12 years as a wellness expert, college health instructor and yoga teacher. To learn more about Tamara Joy you can visit her website at: www.tamarashealinggarden.com