Acupuncture is my favourite way to get relief from stress. Your body is generally in one of two states at any particular time. It’s either relaxed and in “rest and digest” state, where it can take care of bodily functions such as digestion, growth and repair or it’s in a stressed “fight or flight” state, where it is ready to attack or run away from danger.
The problem we have these days is that we perceive danger all the time, from a presentation at work to an argument with a loved one. This puts our body into “fight or flight” too often. Acupuncture regulates the body to return it to its “rest and digest” state and helps restore it to a state where it can manage stress more effectively.
2. Bach Flower Remedies
Bach Flower remedies are based on a system similar to homeopathy, where the energetics of the flowers are used to help the body manage emotions. Rescue remedy is a common mixture, readily available from chemists, that helps in an acute stressful situation. You can also create your own remedy based upon how you are feeling to support you during stressful situations.
3. Deep Breathing / Meditation
Taking 5 or 10 minutes out of your day each day can really make a difference to how you manage stress. It allows the body to return to a calm state before the stress begins again and gives you space to evaluate the stress you’re experiencing.
If meditation sounds a bit daunting try this breathing exercise for five minutes.
– Stand upright and relaxed with your feet fairly close together.
– Place one hand about two inches below your navel.
– Place your other hand over it. Open your mouth slightly and relax.
– Bring the awareness to your breath and notice if you are naturally breathing into your belly, or your chest, or both. Don’t control it. Just observe.
– Deliberately draw the air into the bottom of your lungs on the inhale. Let the abdomen expand and extend out. Then, on the exhale, let the abdominal pressure release and, with minimal effort, slowly pull the belly in. The chest remains still the whole time.
– Repeat this exercise for 5 minutes.
4. Herbal Supplements
There are some fantastic herbal remedies that can really make a difference in managing stress. One of my favourites is Rhodiola. Rhodiola is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to ongoing stresses. They support the bodies functions and help to normalise its response. When taking herbal supplements, speak to qualified herbalist or ask for advice in your local health food shop.
What you eat can make a huge difference to your mood and how your body manages stress. Stress depletes the vitamins and minerals in your body faster so ensure that you take a good multi-vitamin. Try to avoid stimulating foods such as caffeine and sugar, as although the initial effect is great, the crash afterwards is much worse.
Try to include mood lifting foods into your diet, such as eggs, seafood, beetroot, dark chocolate and garlic.
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