Qualification: Diploma in Stress Management, School of Natural Health Sciences
Everyone suffers from stress at times, and few of us have techniques we can use that really help. For some people, stress occupies most of their waking lives, and may disturb their sleep, too. Too much stress for too long can have a wide range of adverse effects on our physical and mental health. As Caroline Myss so eloquently puts it – ‘your biography becomes your biology’.
Stress management is very much a case of mind over matter. The saying, ‘if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter’, is truer than you know. Only what we care too much about to let go of it is capable of causing us stress!
I believe that health, happiness and well-being are the birthright of everyone. Science is beginning to prove what complimentary therapists and eastern philosophies have long believed; that mind can influence matter, just as matter influences mind. Poor health can make us more pessimistic, irritable or anxious. And these feelings can, and often do, manifest in ill-health. If you are able to think healthy thoughts, you will likely be more physically healthy.
Often we sabotage our own health and happiness – without knowing it – through beliefs and limitations we have picked up unconsciously. I don’t just treat the symptoms of stress, or even just give clients strategies to control their stress response. I also help you find and demolish those restrictive beliefs and barriers, allowing your life to be more joyful, productive and effective.
So many of us have forgotten who we are and why we’re here. We may wonder why we have no time for the things we enjoy; why we neglect our favourite pastimes. Relationships suffer, physical and mental health suffer, when we spend too much time and energy meeting the perceived demands of others. Stress management can help you slow down and examine your life, find time to remember what gives you joy, and fit it into your life. When we stop trying to keep everyone else happy, we usually achieve a much higher level of happiness and well-being, which can benefit others, too.
You have the right to health and happiness—Embrace it!
Quick Tip for Stress Management
Breathing slowly and deeply is often suggested as a way to relieve stress. But why? It’s simply that your parasympathetic nervous system (the opposite of the ‘fight or flight sympathetic nervous system) is wired to check your breathing to see if it’s OK to relax.
Your sympathetic nervous system is working overtime if you’re constantly stressed. The physical effects are many, and may include: reduced digestion and immunity; muscle tension; over-production of stress hormones; excess glucose in your bloodstream. Long-term, this can cause many issues – indigestion, or IBS; glucose intolerance or diabetes; tension headaches and migraines; and many others.
When your parasympathetic nervous system takes over, it reverses all those symptoms of stress and helps your whole body to relax. And that’s where slow, deep breathing comes in. Because when you breathe more slowly and deeply, it sends a signal to shut down the sympathetic nervous system and power up the parasympathetic. That instantly starts to relax your muscles, allow your immune system and digestion to work properly again, reduces the glucose level in your blood, and chills you out on a physical level.
Simple, really! But unless you knew that, would you really believe that such a quick and easy exercise as taking 3-5 deeper and slower breaths on a regular basis could have such a beneficial effect? And of course, if you’re concentrating on your breathing, all those thoughts that were running round your head are pushed aside, doubling the effect. Try it and see for yourself!