Essentials of Stress Management: Part 2
Breathing diaphragmatically decreases your level of stress FACT! This happens because it facilitates or “heightens” the activity of the rest and relaxation part of the nervous system. Thus learning to breathe correctly and doing it regularly will greatly reduce your stress levels.
To breathe correctly; the first third of the breath the stomach expands the second the ribs expand and the chest may lift a little for the last third. On exhalation reverse this., e.g. chest-ribs-stomach. The breath should also be through the nose as this further facilitates rest and relaxation. Ask me for a CD you can listen to in your car or at home to help with this.
A low level of dehydration results in a lower volume of fluid in the circulation, this is detected by pressure recepetors “baroreceptors” which cause a facilitation of fight and flight part of the nervous system. There are several other mechanisms where by low level to high level dehydration causes stress. It is easily cured though drinking 0.333 x body weight in water.
The impact of nutrition on stress is huge and there are so many different possible effects a paragraph here is disrespectful. However an easily felt one is through eating excessive caffeine, sugar or complex carbohydrates relative to your personal metabolism. This varies depending on your metabolic type. This again is easy to address, test your metabolic type and eat the highest quality food you can in proportions suitable for your metabolic type.
Exercise is a stress. Cardiovascular exercise in particular stimulates the fight or flight part of nervous system and is an efficient way to de-stress. However relaxation exercise such as zone exercises or walking at tempo that you can feel improves your digestion will help. Some of the most effective forms of relaxation exercise are tai chi, yoga and qigong.
Lack of sleep is stressful! I really know this! The key is effective planning. Allow sufficient time for sleep and if you struggle to sleep seek help from me on addressing the underlying cause. Interestingly research at the National Institute of Health has found that people who can’t get to sleep but lie in bed and relax with their eyes closed get similar benefits to those of deep sleep. Obviously deep sleep is better preferable though!