Managing Stress & Anxiety
‘Stress, is when you wake up screaming, and you realize that you haven’t fallen asleep yet’- Unknown Quote
When something happens, or we recall something, that we don’t like, we create resistance in our body and mind to it. Stress and anxiety are actually our reaction to events. Our body perceives it as a threat. This triggers a stress response in the body called ‘Fight or Flight’. Oxygen gets transferred from the brain and goes into the heart and lungs, to help supply more blood to the muscles in our arms and legs so that we may flee if necessary. Adrenalin and cortisol gets pumped in excessive quantities to help improve muscle function to help us fight. But, if we’re not in a fight or flight scenario, what happens? We feel sick, our breathing becomes shallower; our heart rate speeds up, we can’t think straight, we may get weakness in the legs, nausea, stomach upsets, some people think they are going to die on the spot, they may develop a panic attack, develop anxiety, get angina pains, palpitations etc.
If you are constantly stressed, the cortisol and adrenalin are still being pumped into your body in excess, these are natural and necessary substances that the body produces but they become harmful over a period of time. They weaken our immune system and wreak havoc with all the cells and organs in the body. Your cells are either in a position of growth or protection. When the stress response activates, the cells go into protection, they close off to all stimuli. This is where illness gets a hold.
I’ve personally found the following to be very helpful, I rid myself of anxiety, I’ve eliminated the symptoms of a stress related illness, reduced the incidence of angina pains, lowered blood pressure etc etc.
- Anxiety Breathing Technique
Practice this every day, first thing in morning and last thing at night, and more often if you can. Make it a habit so you can use it easily if in dire need.
Initially close your eyes, but as you get good at this you will be able to do this with eyes open. Slowly breathe in, imagine that you are breathing in from the tips of your fingers all the way up your arms to your head and chest, as you practice you will be able to take longer breaths in. Then slowly exhale, imagine that you are pushing the breath out down through your legs, feet and out your toes, and that you are surrounding yourself with a feeling of calmness. Do it a few times until you feel calm. Say to yourself, ‘I am calm, I can handle this’. This signals your brain to keep the oxygen where it is needed, helping you to think straight, to concentrate more, make better decisions etc. it stops the fight or flight reaction from triggering, and over time it improves your immune system and your health. You can use this technique for anyone having a panic attack also.
- Rest and nurture yourself
Look after yourself or your body will make you pay attention and you’ll have to find the time to be ill!
- Re read some of the previous parts, Thoughts (part 1) Positive Mind Movies (part 2) Self Talk (part 5) Mindfulness (part 7)
Part 9 Emotional Intelligence
Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog email@example.com