Stress Relief Techniques
Stress Relief Techniques
Stress Kills. It can come on quickly or slowly, but it is a killer none the less. Stress creates a fire inside the body of inflammation and poisons the mind with worry.
Knowing more about how stress works will give you power over its grip. It will also help you to identify where stress is attacking you. Then you can use specific stress relief techniques to help heal your body and mind.
All the stress in the world can be boiled down to 3 forms.
1. Physical Stress
2. Mental Stress
3. Chemical Stress
Physical stress is when the body is impacted by some trauma. This trauma can be a large one time hit or a repetitive type that will build up over time. Think of a car accident versus Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. They will both put you in the hospital just one much faster than the other!
To reduce physical stress on the body it needs to be made stronger and more flexible. In the event of any trauma the physical body will fare better the better shape it is in. So it becomes very important to have a regular exercise and stretching program in place. This exercise program is one of my favorites for a good home workout that incorporates strength and flexibility. WORKOUT LINK
Mental Stress is the one everyone thinks about when the “S” word is mentioned. Mental stress is when the mind is focused on a perceived fear or event that may or may not actually come to fruition. Or in other terms…WORRY! Mental stress causes alteration of normal brain function, hormone production, and metabolism. Over time it leads to increased inflammation and can then seriously impact the physical body. With increased mental stress comes increased blood pressure, altered hormone function and reduced mental clarity.
There are many stress relief techniques to reduce your levels of mental stress. One of the best is to practice deep breathing on a regular basis. When you focus on the breath it tends to take your focus off of what is causing you stress. I like to instruct my patients on this basic deep breathing exercise when they get started. I have them picture themselves at the ocean. Then as they watch the waves roll in, they inhale. When the wave rolls out, they exhale. It is important with this exercise to get a real mental picture of the ocean before you begin. Think of the sounds, smells, and feelings you get while at the ocean.
I like for patients to do this exercise as much as they have time for throughout the day, but at least 3 minutes in the morning upon arising and 3 minutes before bed. It can be completed seated or lying down. Once they have done it for a while, they report that when they begin to feel stress that just thinking of the ocean will bring stress levels down. This is the exact result of having completed the exercise enough times while conditions were relaxed.
Chemical stress is a sneaky little bugger. Our environment is polluted with over 12,000 chemicals that are allowed in the air we breathe, the water we drink, water and the food we eat. Earth is now a dangerous place just to exist. We have no choice in having some of these chemicals enter our bodies but there are some things we can do in making our bodies less of a toxic environment.
Many people eat “comfort foods” that are toxic and do nothing but cause more stress in the body! Talk about poor stress relief techniques! They do cause an endorphin or “happy hormone” release in the body but that high is short lived and the body suffers from having to deal with the sugar and toxic chemicals often associated with “comfort foods.” So one way to control the toxic load inside your body is to eat food that is un-processed and drink clean water. You can also filter the water and air in your house.
One thing to remember, if you are going to filter your water I recommend a whole house filter or at least filter your drinking water and the water in your shower. The skin is your largest organ and will absorb impurities in the water. Hot water also forms water vapor that is breathed in through the lungs.
All three types of stress interplay with each other. For instance, if you were in a car accident and needed time to recover before returning to work, you might have bills piling up and this would increase mental stress. Or you could have increased chemical stress in the way of bad food and it could cause cholesterol to rise and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke (physical stress).
The good news is that it works both ways. If you improve your level of chemical stress in the body by taking in healthy food then you will reduce cholesterol and other risk factors for heart attack and stroke. This would also relieve the mental stress associated with knowing these risk factors are reduced.
The worst thing you can do to fight off the effects of stress is to do nothing. Incorporating stress relief techniques for one or all types of stress with specific stress relief techniques will make a positive impact on your health.