Ask anyone how they are these days and usually, you’ll get the reply “I’m so busy”. Not sure about you, but I’m becoming rather bored with hearing it and bored of saying it myself. So a few months ago I made a conscious effort to flick my dialogue and reply “things are great we are all happy, healthy, and loving life”.
Living It & Loving it!
Loving and doing so many things does have a tendency to lead to stress. So instead of flippantly replying with the same boring line of “I’m so busy” flicking my dialogue has kind of tricked myself into thinking I’m not that busy, has lower my stress levels and helped me slot into deeper mindfulness about my everyday antics.
The word ‘stress’ does actually stress me out. We are often told to avoid stress, walk away from people who stress us out, leave the job which has become too stressful and end a stressful relationship. Stress is harmful to our health there is no question about that. Ask any health expert and most will agree that stress and inflammation are the two underlying causes of many of our health conditions today. There is no getting away from stress in our modern society so we are left with one option. To accept stress.
We all make mistakes, take some wrong turns in life, spill our coffee down our white shirt, knock someones drink over, have that infuriating family member who drives us insane, have arguments with our partner and get stuck in a traffic jam. Maybe we might find it helpful to flick our perception and internal dialogue on these situations. Maybe next time we are in a traffic jam, be grateful we are in the traffic jam and not in the crash that is causing the traffic jam. Stress is everywhere so accepting and managing stress might be a simpler option.
How To Manage Stress
Learn the master pose of yoga - ‘pranayama breathing’. Once mastered you can use this, almost magical, breath to calm your stress response like a pro.
During our daily lives, most of us don’t use our lungs to their maximum expansion or contraction. At first ‘pranayama breathing’ feels strange, which is perfectly normal.
Inhale deeply through your nose, mouth closed, for a slow count of six.
Fill up your lungs by expanding your belly to allow your lungs to stretch to their maximum expansion.
Hold your breath for a slow count of six, followed slowly and steadily exhaling through your mouth for another count of six.
Repeat this inhale and exhale cycle ten times.
If you’ve never indulged your mind, lungs or body with so much oxygen you may feel slightly dizzy at first, so I suggest begin practising this powerful pose sitting or standing next to a wall with your eyes open. Dizziness will disappear as you gain more experience with this breathing technique. Once mastered practise during your daily tasks, at your desk at work, while washing your hands, cooking or ironing. Most importantly get into the habit of accessing your breath during a stressful situation.
Expanding your lungs capacity with pranayama breathing may help prevent and ease respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and shortness of breath. Your diaphragm is one of the largest muscles in your body. Yoga gurus suggest that by activating your diaphragm, which Pranayama breathing does, you are tapping right into calming your central nervous system. So simple, so effective and so doable!
Wholefoods To Help With Stress
Avocados - may help lower blood pressure, full of healthy fats and may prevent sugar cravings.
Nuts and seeds - packed with healthy fats and B vitamins, which may support and improve your stress coping ability.
Turkey - may help release your happy hormone serotonin which in turn help produce melatonin required for a night of quality sleep.