Stress Free? You gotta be kidding! (Part 1)

“The place of absolute tranquility… the gentle water bubbles are surfacing to the blue serenity of the mountain lake… Ah… what a joy…”

“MOM!!!! WHERE IS MY DINNER??? “ “DAD!!! I AM TAKING YOUR CAR!!!” No kidding, the blue lake just popped in front of your so-called third eye and vanished into who knows what. As a mother of active nine year old boy I personally would laugh out loud at anybody who preaches the wonders of a stress-free life – it just seems impossible in many life situations. Is it really impossible or there are ways to not only cope with stress but to glide through it and come out at the other end unscathed?
It is known that stress, especially the chronic stress can create huge havoc on the physical, mental, and emotional levels. However it is very important to distinguish between the “stress triggers” and the “stress response mechanism” activated by your body. While encountering a stressful situation your body automatically shifts to the “fight or flight” mode. This response is very beneficial if you are about to run away from the grizzly bear chasing you in the woods. Your body is capable of immediately shutting down hundreds of ongoing processes such as digestion, reproduction, hormone regulation in order to activate other processes important for your immediate survival.

Now, the body reacts the same exact way either if you are stressed about running away from the grizzly bear or if you are sitting on your couch watching TV about 700 billion dollars bailout. With one simple difference – there is absolutely no physical need for your body to shut down your digestion and hormone regulation while watching news on TV. But it is happening anyway. Now, think about how many times you encounter stressful situations during your typical day.

It is not the fact of stressful events occurring in our life that wear us out – it’s the way we react to them. It means we can control some of the impact affecting our life by changing our lifestyle and our way of thinking. And it can be fun to do!

These are the three basic components in stress management:
1. Learn how to shift your attention quickly and how to use your primary senses to lessen the impact of the stressful event.
2. Nourish your body with a balanced diet supporting your well-being and avoid foods that aggravate stress.
3. Adopt a regular and fulfilling spiritual practice.

We will talk about all these topics, and in my next article I will share with you the ways of re-patterning your mind in order to handle stressful situations effectively.

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  • g

    Everyone talks how exercise is the best stress relief. I wonder what you think about that.

  • Regular exercise routine is very important to support healthy body functions, to regulate metabolism, to keep lean body mass, etc. And it should be balanced with healthy diet.
    Exercise as the best stress relief – works for some people and in some cases. I wouldn’t generalize simply because I never generalize about people’s health issues and life conditions. Stress can aggravate the body’s discomfort depending on what is already going on. Some kinds of exercising for some people can also aggravate the body’s discomfort depending on what is already going on.
    I personally get my stress relief from punching speed bag for 45 minutes…sometimes…
    In Chinese medicine we are talking about energy/Qi free flow in the physical body. There can be not enough of Qi for various reasons, Qi can get stuck and cause discomfort, and some other interesting staff can happen to Qi. I will give you two stereotype examples.

    Example 1: A. is chronically tired, pale, and sad. Upon standing up she gets dizzy and experiences buzzing in her ears.
    Just from these few symptoms I would doubt she will benefit from exercising for specifically stress relief simply because she doesn’t have enough energy to move the energy around. She might get exhausted, dizzier, and sadder. Regular exercise routine and balanced diet will benefit her.
    Example 2: B. is an energetic person, ‘type A personality”, often gets irritated, experiences tightness in the chest, and likes to walk after dinner to feel better.
    Exercising for stress relief might help him to free Qi and move it around so he will feel better.
    Also we should remember there are people who can’t exercise for stress relief – disabled, women in late complicated pregnancy, very old people, people who are recovering from debilitating diseases, etc.
    So, yes, exercising is an excellent idea – on a regular basis!