It’s that overwhelming feeling you get when you’re slammed with deadlines and life is pulling you in twenty different directions and you don’t know what to do first! Whew!
That panicked and overwhelmed feeling is actually having a profound effect on your body, and if you are in a state of CHRONIC stress, it will impact your health in a very negative way.
The autonomic nervous system is what controls our heart rate, our breathing, and our blood pressure, as well as numerous other normal bodily functions. You may remember from biology class that the system is divided into the sympathetic – fight or flight response and the parasympathetic – relax and restore response.
Let’s go way back in time to when we hunted for food… and we were hunted AS food! Now suddenly you find yourself face to face with a saber tooth tiger! Your body immediately produces a massive adrenaline surge, and your breathing, heart rate and blood supply to your muscles soars immediately so you can run, and run FAST!
After the danger passes, your parasympathetic nervous system now drifts across you to calm you down and allow your body to restore itself after all this excitement.
That’s all very well when we lived in caves and only came face to face with a predator infrequently. So, let’s bring you forward to the present.
Living life today with all the stresses built up in our lives – including emotional and psychological stress, chemical stress from pesticides, and even stress of the exposure to the sun’s radiation, can put the body into a continuous and CHRONIC state of stress, which isn’t good. It is associated with lots of illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, a poor immune system, sexual dysfunction and even rashes, to name just a few! Many of these problems are due to a chronic release of the stress hormone CORTISOL, from the adrenal gland, which is designed to help our bodies cope with stress… but in the short term only, not for the long periods we may find ourselves suffering.
There is an antidote for this, and it isn’t going on a meditation retreat for the rest of your days!
Part of the ZOË 60 program is to help build your RESILIENCE, in other words, your ability to cope with stress. Just by committing to this journey toward a better-balanced, YOU, you’re benefiting from good nutrition, restful sleep, and regular movement!
We would also like to show you some simple, but powerful breathing techniques to help you quiet your mind and body, and help shift the body out of its stressed out state.
So let’s start! First, lie down, and tighten the cheeks of your buttocks. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your lower back to keep it straight, and then inhale through your nose for three seconds… then exhale from the mouth for seven seconds. Slowly repeat!
OK, let’s try another! Raise your arms above your head and then suck in air through your nose for three seconds and exhale from your mouth for seven seconds.
Both of these exercises take around two minutes to complete and should be repeated six times each.
Here’s one more: Lie on your back in bed or on the floor with something – preferably a pillow – under your head and knees. Breathe in through your nose and let your belly fill with air. Now breathe out through your nose.
If you are not able to lie back, then try this! Stand up and bend forward from the waist, and now Inhale slowly and deeply. Roll your body up slowly, lifting your abdomen, chest, and shoulders before your head. Once you’re back into a full standing position, hold your breath. As you begin to bend forward again, exhale slowly.
Try these breathing techniques for an instant stress beater!