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. But equally, pessimism, irritability or anxiety can, and often do, manifest in ill-health. Because of this, new methods are being pioneered to treat mental health in the same ways as physical 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 restrictive beliefs and barriers, to make your life more joyful, productive and effective.
We 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 suffers, because we spend too much of our time and energy answering the perceived demands of others. Stress management can help you slow down and examine your life; you can find time to remember what gives you joy, and fit it into you life. When we stop trying to do what we believe others want of us, we usually find we have achieved a much higher level of happiness and well-being.
You have the right to health and happiness—Embrace it!
Quick Tip for Stress Management
Has anyone ever explained to you why breathing slowly and deeply helps relieve stress? It’s simply that in your lungs is a series of ‘monitoring points’, that are constantly checking how fast and how deeply you’re breathing. They supply your brain with the information that regulates your nervous system.
The sympathetic part of your nervous system readies you for the classic ‘fight or flight’ reaction – it’s working overtime if you’re constantly stressed. The physiological effects are many, and include: less energy for digestion and your immune system; muscle tension; over-production of stress hormones; flooding your body with glucose ready for use by your muscles. Clearly, on a long-term basis, this can cause many side-effects – indigestion, even IBS; glucose intolerance or diabetes; tension headaches and migraines; and many others.
So you need to get the parasympathetic nervous system to take over. That’s the part that reverses all the 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, the receptors in your lungs notice that you’re relaxing, and they send 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 start working properly again, reduces the amount of glucose in your blood, and generally 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?