Stress refers to the physical, emotional, and mental response when facing circumstances that require adjustment to maintain balance.  More important, how to release and relieve stress and live a healthy balanced life?

The stress response, also known as flight or fight response; activates the sympathetic nervous system by releasing epinephrine and norepinephrine.  The central nervous system triggers many involuntary changes in the human body; short-term memory, papillary dilations, increase heart rate, decreases secretion of digestive enzymes, and increases release of glucose.  Stress can be a casual or contributing factor to virtually all major illness because chronic stress can lower immunity. 

The body is an incredible machine, with built-in feedback loop.  The parasympathetic nervous system is activated by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  When the parasympathetic system is activated under relaxed conditions, naturally returning the body to homeostasis, slowing the heart rate and breathing, decreasing blood pressure, decreasing blood flow to skeletal muscles, and increasing digestive tract activity.  This is referred to as the rest – and – repose system. 

Healing, at the physical, mental, and emotional level occurs in the rest-and-repose cycle.

Breathe Deeply

The easiest step is to first return to your breath.  Deep, full breathing reduces many of the symptoms triggered by stress.  Practicing breathing techniques: 

Releases toxins from the body
Heightens awareness, concentration, and control
Increases control for physical and mental balance
Decreases anxiety
Deepens relaxation for the mind and body
Provides optimal oxygenation of our cells
Pumps the disease-fighting lymph through our lymphatic system and return venous blood to our lungs and heart
Promotes the health of our internal organs and turns on our stress-busting parasympathetic nervous system.

Practice Body Awareness

The body also provides a wealth of information if we pay attention.  Take the time to actually feel your body – your skin, muscles, fascia, organs, and bones.  A sample body scan practice, start lay down on your back, practice the focused breath.  Starting at your toes and moving upwards to your head, on the inhale soften and deeply relax and on the exhale release any tension.    Inhale, focus on your feet, exhale and let go of any tension.  On the next inhale move your awareness to your legs, exhale release.  Move throughout your body, your buttocks, back, shoulders, arms, neck, and head.  Take note of any tightness, stiffness, or tension.  Tightness or discomfort in your body can be alleviated by sensing the specific area and allowing the breath to engage and activate the tissues, organs, fluids, bones, and energies in the area. 

Receive a massage

“Biological changes occur as a result of even a single session of massage” – Mark Hyman Rappaport, MD, professor, and lead researcher of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study about massage and its positive impact on immunity. 

One of our basic human needs is touch, and massage offers the healing benefit of touch.  People come in for a massage sore and stressed from their day-to-day lives.  Massage works miracles.  People leave happy and relaxed!
Stay hydrated
All known forms of life on this planet are completely dependent on water. To function properly, the human body requires between two and seven liters of water per day to avoid dehydration; the precise amount depends on the level of activity, temperature, humidity, and other factors.

The average human body is comprised of approximately 70% water. It is no exaggeration then to say that water is “the basis of vitality and long life”. After all, water makes up 82% of your blood, 75% of your muscle, 25% of your bone, and 76% of your brain tissue!

And staying well hydrated keeps all your vital organs humming along, helps to beautify your skin, lubricate your joints, and boost your energy levels.  Add one full glass of water to your day, preferably early in the morning.  In fact, if you are able to consume 16 ounces in the morning on an empty stomach, you’ll get the incomparable benefit of a daily early morning detox.  And you’ll notice a difference as early as day one!  Perhaps you can bring a big bottle to sit on your desk and sip it throughout the day, or find another means of H2O delivery that works for you.  But if you aren’t drinking enough, don’t start out trying to drink a gallon at once.  It won’t work.  Try one glass a day, and see how it feels to you.

Rejuvenating SLEEP
Healthy sleep is required for healthy living.  Look around the people around you, how many are fatigued and exhausted.  Sleep deprivation and sleep debt causes feeling run down, apathetic, irritable, and / or loss of concentration.  Sleep keeps our mental equilibrium.  Sleep is necessary for the regeneration of cells throughout the body the most important and most quickly affected are the brain cells.  

Getting just the right amount for you is best achieved when you set the stage for a good night’s sleep – turn off the computer and television at least an hour before bed, decompress with a good book and some tea or some meditation and a hot shower, and try to clear your mind.  Hopefully you’ll have gotten some movement during the day, which always helps you sleep better at night.

Attitude of Gratitude
Create a GRADITUDE journal.  Pick three categories.  Some examples are work / career, family, money, accomplishment, food or exercise choices; the list is endless.  Keep it simple, once you start, it is amazing how your gratitude list expands.

Journal entry example:

  1. I am grateful we shared a dinner as a family and had a nice conversation.
  2. I am grateful for walking with my friend today.
  3. I am grateful for the rain to water my garden.

Healthy Relationships
No one has ever achieved optimum health all alone.  We are a social species, and we need other around us for support, community, guidance, and accountability. 
Research shows that good, strong relationships simply keep us healthy.  They keep stress at bay and thus prevent illnesses brought on by stress.  Healthy relationships are even more important that eating your recommended requirement of greens every day.

If you need additional support, get acquainted with a health coach!  Your first conversation contains no obligation, but you will gain such clarity about your current situation from the very start.   You’ll begin to understand the factors that are getting in your way, and you’ll see the path to health and wellness beyond what you imagined.  I specialize in helping you create a simple, abundant life, and I am part of a vast network of professionals educated through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition who specialize in many different areas.  There’s a health coach who is just right for you.  After your consultation, you’ll know who can best help you!

Author's Bio: 

Diane Lauer creates a simple, abundant life for herself, her family, and loved ones. Diane shares her extensive experience and knowledge when working with individuals, groups, and community at large, empowering each person to choose to create an abundant and nurturing life for themselves.

Diane started her journey at the age of 14, when diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. She would never accept a clinical diagnosis of a chronic and (at times) debilitating disease to limit her life. Her journey has been filled with growth opportunities and major life changes. Over the 24 years, Diane has learned to work with her whole self at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level and continues to create a truly abundant and beautiful life.
Diane offers Wellness Coaching, Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and Yoga services. She utilizes a unique blend of training, knowledge and personal experience to develop a treatment strategy to help each individual reach their full potential of health and wellbeing.

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