It is so important to be able to reduce stress. Especially right now, in the midst of the Coronavirus and doubly so if you are going through perimenopause, menopause or have a disease such as diabetes as you may already be dealing with hormonal imbalance.
Each morning when I walk I have been taking the time to stop in the park and just sit. There is a bench that looks down on the whole park, taking in all of the trees, lake, bridge and rotunda with the little hearts decorating it. I love to sit in the fresh morning air and imagine a time when everyone is healthy, happy and has amazing abundance. It may sound a little corny but it can’t hurt to put some good vibes out into the world.
Stress is sneaky
Sometimes you don’t even realise it’s there until you turn your head and your neck hurts. Or maybe you feel a constant gnawing in the pit in your stomach, or you notice your heart sometimes beats a little faster than normal.
Some stress is normal … but chronic stress (as I am sure many people are experiencing at the moment) can do a real number on your body.
It can wreak havoc on your hormones, causing you to gain weight, especially around your middle. Of course belly fat is dangerous, it is deep visceral fat that collects around your organs and can cause any number of health issues paving the way for prolonged illness and disease.
Read more on reducing belly fat in this post The Best Ways For Women Over 50 To Lose Belly Fat
Scientists are learning more all the time about how stress can impact your health.
It’s not a big secret that stress causes illness, but until recently, it wasn’t clear HOW it played a role.
Stress And Inflammation
It is now clear that “chronic psychological stress” can affect your body’s ability to regulate its inflammatory response. That’s because one of your body’s key stress hormones – cortisol – also plays a role in controlling inflammation.
As you may know, inflammation is associated with practically every disease process affecting our bodies!
I wanted to do the best I can to equip you with the tools you need to reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of health as we deal with this pandemic.
Over time, having too many stress hormones in your system is linked with increased inflammation … and all the problems associated with it!
We can learn to…
use the powers within our own bodies to cope with stress.
Many of us were taught to “walk it off” and ignore it, in hopes that it would just magically go away.
“Pushing through” is often the WORST thing you can do. Your stress hormones remain elevated leaving the way clear for inflammation to take hold. It is important that you reduce stress to keep inflammation and the possibility of falling prey to the illnesses that inflammation can bring.
Constant stress can also become kind of addictive and become your new “normal,” so you don’t feel like yourself unless you’re feeling the pressure.
Unfortunately, this is the case for way too many of us!
The good news is, you can take back control by learning some easy techniques that will calm your body, ease your mind, and lift your spirit.
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"BEAT THE STRESS"
Here are two techniques to help reduce stress
Shallow breathing and stress go together like wine and cheese. Retraining your body to take deeper breaths will help you feel more relaxed and it can even help strengthen your deep core muscles.
Make time for belly (aka diaphragmatic) breathing sessions every week. You can do this lying down or seated. Note: This one can make you feel sleepy until you get used to it, so if you choose to recline, be prepared to take a nap!
Sit comfortably in a chair, your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed. Place one hand on your belly just below your rib cage, and the other on your upper chest. Breathe in slowly through your nose, feeling your stomach move out against your hand. The hand against your chest shouldn’t move. Next, draw your stomach in as you exhale through your mouth. Again, the hand on your upper chest should remain still. Repeat for 3-5 minutes. Note the breaths should be long but not difficult.
Calm Your Mind Before
stress becomes such a habit that it starts to feel normal.
How do you know if stress has become a way of life?
Listen to the voice in your head and be aware of what it’s telling you. Is it repeating stressful thoughts or phrases throughout the day? That’s one big clue.
Every once in awhile, do a quick body scan: is your jaw clenched? Are your shoulders tight? Are you holding your breath?
You often feel full of dread, sadness, or anger, and wonder why no one else is getting with the (your) program.
If these sound familiar, it’s time to start making some mindset shifts.
Let’s do all we can to reduce stress and have more life.