Friday, February 19, 2016

Are You Surviving or Thriving? Nipping Stress in the Bud

You know those days when things just go EXACTLY as they should? Where nothing can go wrong, you're smiling at strangers, just because, you're walking with your head held high and a skip in your step. You know those magical days? And on the other end, you know the days when you just feel gloom, you're quick to anger, you feel resistance through your whole being and you just want to hide under a blanket all day? Both come at you blindly without any obvious reason.

As an example. My hubby called the other day and said he had stolen all the cash in his wallet, business deals were going south, he was hungover, and everything was going wrong. He called me, which he never does during the day, and I heard it in his voice right away, his voice gave it all away; he felt defeated.

We know these days all too well. What if I told you it was just negative energy that needed to get out? What if the answer was as simple as breathing and changing your thoughts? Would you want to punch me? Maybe if it was one of your bad days. Stay with me while I explain.

The Mechanism
Whether we get stressed by a perceived thought, or stressed by our environment, our body doesn't separate either one. To our body, we are in danger. And the obvious signal our body gets of stress is through your breathing. When you stop supplying your body with ample oxygen your body picks up on the queue immediately and sends distress signals to all your systems. Your digestion, your cardiovascular system, your lymphatic system, your endocrine system - everybody gets put on alert.

It's a sweet mechanism built to save your life, but can put us into a state of disease and will knock us out of homeostasis if over used. Overuse means you will begin feeling un-like yourself, you will have scattered thoughts, you will be acting from your flight or fight mode, moving like an emotion-less machine. Welcome to Survival Mode. I think most of us Americans live here, though we certainly don't need to.

How does your body know when you're stressed? Your breathing. How does your breathing get off track? Negativity. Doom and gloom thinking. Anticipating outcomes that frighten you. Take anger, for a prime example where does it come from? What feeds anger? FEAR.

Unfortunately stress is easy to do. Why, we are programmed to stress about everything. What we posted on Facebook, how that other person parked their car, we stress about what we ate an hour ago (example: I can't believe I ate that piece of bread before lunch.) And we stress about things that haven't happened. We cause stress just by worrying about things that haven't taken place. We picture it in our mind, and our mind signals our body as though it's occurred. To our body, the real thing and the thing we think might happen are REAL.

If you maintain a negative attitude, that invariably attracts negative vibrations and feelings – which disrupts your body’s natural energy flow. According to Davis Suzuki in ‘The Sacred Life’, condensed molecules from breath exhaled from verbal expressions of anger, hatred, and jealousy, contain toxins. 

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Want to know how to THRIVE when all hell seems to be breaking loose around you? 

Stay in parasympathetic mode. Remember this from middle school? Sympathetic and parasympathetic? Parasympathetic is where healing occurs, it's wear digesting of nutrients occurs and its where your body knows its safe. Sympathetic is the opposite. When you're stressed, you're using your sympathetic nervous system. Use these quickies for help:

1) Breathing is HUGE. Start with a huge exhale of all your breath and then breathe in deep in your nose, to begin the process. Breathing connects us to our inner self, it connects us to our soul. It puts oxygen into your brain which helps you think clearer and it is nourishment for your body is ways we will never fully understand. Your breath is yours, anytime. If you are alive, you can breathe.

2) Get basic in your self talk. Sometimes I am so stressed that I know I should be breathing and yet I'm even too worked up for that. That's when I just tell myself things like, "it will pass." And I don't keep diving into the topic that's stressing me out, you can never think yourself out of a problem when you're under considerable stress. Instead, I make a nonchalant statement like, "Everything is going well" and BOOM. It puts you into a positive spin.

3) Think of something funny. I like to think of one time in particular where I was with Juliet (my oldest daughter) and I was angry for some unknown reason, and then it got worse when she made this face that really got under my skin. We both looked at each other for a second and for some reason we both laughed. And then we immediately cracked up laughing for over 5 minutes and neither of us needed to speak or to explain it. Anger and negative emotions can easily be washed away with positivity.