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5 Key Ways To Deal With Stress

Written by: Heidi Jennings, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Stress is a word that is thrown around a lot these days. It seems we are all suffering from some kind of stress, from relationship stress to financial stress to work stress. To a large extent, our modern lifestyles have a lot to answer for here. We’ve got mortgages, relationships, businesses, jobs, interviews and to-do lists. These are all real forms of stress. But wait, there’s more!

Stress doesn’t only relate to being busy and wound up. We’ve also got food stress, environmental stress, chemical stress, historical and unresolved stress, and electronic device stress. Let’s not mention pandemic stress! Is reading all that stressing you out? Me too.


As a society, we are more stressed than ever. I hear you saying: “But what about people who lived through world wars and depressions and plagues? What about back in the old days when hunters had to run away from lions and bears in the jungle? Surely that was more stressful than the world we live in now?”


Yes, those events were incredibly stressful for those who had to live through them. The difference between that stress and the type of stress we have now, is that many of us are now living in a state of stress 24/7 for years and years on end, and it’s wreaking havoc on our health.


When we are constantly stressed, we end up living in ‘fight or flight’ mode. This side of the brain activates when something happens to threaten our survival. Any of the stressors mentioned earlier can activate fight or flight mode. When this happens, the first priority of the body is to keep us alive, so it suppresses the non-essential functions of the body, and releases stress hormones such as adrenaline. When our bodies stay in fight or flight for too long, we become fatigued and certain functions of the body grind to a halt. This is where serious health conditions start to arise.


Below are five simple strategies we can use to get us out of fight or flight mode, and into ‘rest, digest and repair’ mode, where the body feels safe and can function well again.


1. Deep Breathing. Lie vertically on a foam roller with your head and spine on the roller and your feet on the floor with bent knees. This position calms the solar plexus, opens up the rib cage and allows the free flow of oxygen to indicate to your body that it’s safe. Do this for 15 minutes at least once per day. Even better, pop in some ear buds and listen to a relaxing meditation at the same time.


2. Correct Your Posture. When a hunched posture reflects our internal state of stress, nerve impulses are unable to flow freely from the brain to the nerves and muscles in the rest of the body. An upright posture indicates to the body that it’s safe and doesn’t need to be in fight or flight mode.


Correct your posture by standing up straight and imagining there is a straight piece of string running through the length of your body and through the top of your head, which is attached to a hook above. This will automatically pull your chest up and out and tuck in the buttocks, creating an upright stance.


Set up your work desk ergonomically to ensure you are looking straight ahead at your computer screen, not down at it. Be aware of the natural hunched position that results from working on a laptop and try to sit up as straight as possible.


3. Meditation This is a life-changing technique when used regularly because it trains the brain to be quiet and the body to relax. There are three main forms of meditation that are particularly effective in dealing with stress: guided imagery, body scans and deep breathing.


4. Assess Your Lifestyle Things like unresolved trauma, an abusive relationship or toxic work environment will continue to force your body into fight or flight mode. If you want to get on top of your stress levels for good, you must deal with your immediate environment and remove yourself from the root cause of stress.


5. Identify Food Sensitivities Have your hair tested to identify food sensitivities, then remove these foods from your diet for three to six months. Food sensitivities can cause leaky gut syndrome, and because the connection between the gut and brain is so strong, this can affect our mental health and ability to deal effectively with stress.


Stress is something we can’t escape in our modern world, but fortunately there are things we can do to give us the best possible chance of dealing with it effectively. Start the process of being honest with yourself, identify the sources of stress in your life, then put in place an action plan for how you can start to overcome them.


I’m not saying it will be easy, but it’s definitely worth it.


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Heidi Jennings, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Heidi Jennings is a Holistic Health Coach specializing in Plant-Based Nutrition. After a health crisis left her bedridden and disillusioned with conventional medicine, she embraced a holistic approach to help her heal. She now runs her business alongside her husband Steve, and together they deliver holistic coaching programs to their clients. They specialize in chronic pain, anxiety and depression, stubborn body fat, menopause symptoms, autoimmune dysfunction, and sleep issues by focusing on the five pillars of health; nutrition, exercise, gut health, sleep, and managing stress. Heidi is also a guest speaker and the author of ‘From Living Hell to Living Well’. Her mission is to change the lives of 500,000 people around the world by empowering them to take control of their health and happiness.

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