Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Holistic Approaches to Stress Reduction

Stress is a real problem in our society. Chances are you have experienced stress today that has caused you to be uptight or fearful, along with any other combination of negative emotions. Here are a few things you can do that will certainly be beneficial to help you chill and refocus, and to find your "Happy Place." 

Drink Water: I say this a lot, and believe it or not, being dehydrated can increase anxiety and stress symptoms in your body. I have experienced this first hand, and it is not a good feeling to be dehydrated, especially in this summer heat. Remember that the Mayo Clinic suggests that you should drink half your body weight in ounces every day. So drink up! 

Exercise: A good cardio workout each day, and some form of strength training, even mild, can improve stress levels and improve your mood. Part of the reason is because your body produces increased endorphins when you exercise, and that can boost a positive physical and mental reduction in stress. 

Deep Breathing: We all breathe, but often pretty shallow, and maybe not even very consistently. When you take focused time to breathe, calm your mind and focus on your inhale and exhale, just this can reduce stress. Try this; sit in nice posture. Close your eyes and relax, and for a minute forget about everything except your breathing. Here is a practice: Take a nice deep breathe into your belly and lower lungs region for the count of 4 seconds, then breathe out for a count of 6 seconds. Once you feel like this rhythm is working for you, increase the in breath to 6 seconds, and the out breath to 10 seconds. This stimulates your body and mind to relax and triggers the para sympathetic nervous system which will allow greater restoration in your body, mind, and spirit. It also brings more oxygen to your brain and body. 

Essential Oils: Essential oils have become a very regular part of our family's every day life replacing all sorts of chemicals and other products, from bug sprays to antibiotic ointments, pain killers to hand sanitizer. Some essential oils are really great for decreasing stress and clearing the mind. One that I have used recently is Vetiver. This oil has been shown to relax an overstimulated brain and can be helpful for ADD and Hyperactivity in kids, as well as mood enhancement for stressed out adults; me included. Other oils that do a wonder on stress symptoms are Frankincense, Lavender, Chamomile, Rose, and Bergamot to name a few. You can diffuse these in your environment, or apply them under specific direction topically. I find that a very small touch of essential oils on my temporals, or on my wrists, or, if really stressed out, right under my nose above my lip. Just a dab will do, especially with Vetiver, it is very potent and does not take hardly a smudge to be effective. There may be a few different oils you don't like, so you have to see which one is for you, and which ones, at this time, maybe are not. Enjoy this practice, as it can really alter your mood for the better. 

Prayer and Meditation: Probably the most beneficial and easy to do, and when combined with all of the above is a powerful conduit to a healthy and more peaceful life. Clearing your mind and communicating with the Higher Source of all life is a valuable, and in my opinion, necessary practice for contentment in life. This is another tap into para sympathetic stimulation also, so when accompanied with breathing, prayer and meditation are very relaxing. When you give all your worries to the Creator, and let go of the stress of everything happening as "you planned," you will be amazed at how much more calm and peaceful you begin to feel with each moment. 

Of course, you can come get a Therapeutic Massage with us at Snapp Therapeutics. We love to help you relax, and restore... that is what we do! And Massage has massive benefits to reduce stress, by reducing cortisol, increasing serotonin and dopamine levels, as well as inducing a deep para sympathetic response.  

I certainly hope you find all of these tools helpful and applicable to increase your contentment in life, and reduce the stressful responses that we all have in our daily lives. Thanks for reading!

James Snapp LMT