Do the following at least twice a day: close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Instructions: take a deep breath in (4 seconds – count one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four to set a slow and steady pace), then hold your breath for 2 seconds, and release slowly through slightly pursed lips (8 seconds count)
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
-Sydney J. Harris
Unfortunately, you’ve all probably had to deal with stressful situations before, right? Those are pretty much unavoidable in the modern world. Moreover, a vast majority of our planet deals with stress on a daily basis.
Sure, it depends on your character and personality how well you can deal with stress, but all in all, it’s bad for every single one of us. Even if you have one of those super strong characters and you’re able to deal with stress very easily, your body is paying the price.
What happens to our bodies in stressful situations?
First, our senses pick up a signal from the surroundings and they send a message to our brain – a part of it that is responsible for the regulation of emotions (i.e. amygdala). Amygdala alerts the region of our brain that is responsible for hormone control (i.e. hypothalamus).
Latter causes our body to produce a hormone cascade – starting off with the adrenaline and the corticotropin-releasing hormone, which eventually causes the production of the stress hormone cortisol. As hormones enter our bloodstream and travel through our body, practically every cell gets hit by them. The adrenaline causes higher heart rate, increasing the oxygen flowing into major muscles, while the cortisol boosts the level of sugar in our body. And we all know that elevated sugar level is bad for our health if stays that way for a longer period of time.
“Wake up, relax, breathe, and smile. That feeling is called living! Enjoy the moment.
Types of stress
There are two types of stress – acute or short-term and chronic or long-term stress. And the surprising fact is that acute stress is not bad for us.
Moreover, scientists have proven that short-term stress is actually good for our health since it causes our body to produce small proteins that help regulate the immune response – which can enhance our immune system.
So what counts as an acute stress? Well, here are some examples of it: if something surprises you and you get scared, if you almost get hit by a car, if you get really nervous a few minutes before a job interview, etc.
“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”
On the other hand, chronic stress, which is caused by unpleasant day-to-day stuff (money problems, traffic jams, school or work to-do lists, unemployment …) is really bad for us. Those kinds of situations can cause our body to activate nonstop stress response – putting our hormone levels out of ordinary, which damages our immune system. That way we’re more likely to get sick.
Ways to relax your mind
It’s up to us to fight the long-term stress, so we should do our best to relax our mind. When we relax our mind our body relaxes automatically.
There are many different ways to relax, such as breathing exercises, Yoga, massage, meditation, etc. Yoga and meditation usually combine breathing exercises into every exercise.
If you’re dealing with a lot of stress we suggest you dig deeper into one of the mentioned stress-reducing methods. Here are our recommendations on where to start:
- if you think yoga will do the trick;
- if you’re into breathing exercises;
- if you want to give meditation a try.
There are many scientific proofs that the right music can significantly reduce stress. Here’s our top choice.
But you can also find some useful stuff online. Go to google homepage and type in free online relaxation music or even youtube relaxation music. Or go directly to youtube, we’re sure you’ll manage to find something useful.
We don’t know any psychiatrists that perform hypnosis, but you can try it by using an audio CD.
There are many different essential oils created to help you deal with stress. They don’t work for everyone, but if you’re willing to try you can find it here.
long-term stress is bad for your health;
don’t let the stress get the best of you;
there are ways to fight stress;
take a moment of your time every day to perform breathing exercise (this week’s challenge).
“The best cure for the body is a quite mind.”
Have a calm, stress-free week. 😉
With love and care,