Contributed by: Bridget Fujioka
Stress is an all too common occurrence in our daily lives, and now with the holidays around the corner, we experience the feeling even more. But, why is stress such a common occurrence and how do we cope with it? To understand how to manage it, we must first understand how stress works.
Stress is a response to a perceived threat or danger. It provides a jolt of energy by flooding the body with hormones that adjust our blood flow, respiratory rate, and increase power to the muscles so that we can respond to the danger at hand, whether by running away or putting up a fight. Once we are out of danger our body returns to its normal range of functioning. Stress is a good thing in short bursts. Where it becomes a problem is when it becomes chronic.
In modern society, we trigger the stress response in any number of situations: work deadlines, financial insecurity, complicated interpersonal relationships. Every day we face the same stressors; the pressure never goes away. The body and mind don’t receive any relief. We stay in a heightened state of needing to get the fuck out or kick some ass. Not a pleasant place to always be in.
Over 70% of Americans regularly experience physical and psychological symptoms of stress which include, fatigue, headaches, body pain, and anger, irritability, and nervousness. Chronic stress causes wear and tear on your body, which can contribute to high blood pressure, tension headaches and migraines, back pain, irritable bowel, and depression.
So, how do we get relief from continually being in survival mode? We have the option to change our situation, however, this is not always possible. One way to get relief is by changing our response to the stress in a specific situation. Stuck in traffic? Rather than harp on it, put on some 80s Madonna and belt out a few songs, no one is listening. You will automatically start to breath deeper, calming your nervous system. Before going into a big meeting, take a five-minute conscious walk around the building and focus on deep slow breathing or listen to your favorite comedian. You can find outtakes on Pandora.
To maintain a healthy balance and reduce stress in your life, regularly move your body, practice mindfulness through yoga and meditation, eat well with lots of colors on your plate, drink water and eliminate or reduce your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and drugs. Practice self-care, spend time in nature and get more sleep.
You can also attend December’s Restorative and Acupuncture Mini-Retreat with myself and Erin Kumpf Acupuncture and Herbs. You will be able to slow down and get all the benefits of a retreat without having to hop on a plane and spend a lot of money. Feel relaxed and taken care of as stress melts away.
Saturday Dec. 9th from 2:15 pm – 4:45 pm. Auto-pay members, $45; non-members, $55.
Register here: http://jcheightsyoga.com/events/