“We live in interesting times,” my pastor always says. He’s right. But things have been a little too interesting lately, don’t ya think!
You know things are bad when a gal comes into YOGA and starts talking about the European money markets. On that note, our leader took us right into relaxation poses rather than our usual stretches.
I’ve spent a lot of time researching ways to self-soothe. I feel I’m on expert in this topic and have spoken often about self-care. By the way, if you’d like to hear me speak in person click here.
In the meantime, I wondered if any of you saw Dr. Phil’s show last week on how to deal with stress?
He had some great ideas for fighting stress, but they are ones with low “face validity.” In other words, people aren’t really going to see how powerful they can be because they don’t look like much.
However, you will be amazed at how effective they are. I challenge you to incorporate at least one of these this week if you see yourself getting stressed.
What happens when people get stressed is that the frontal part of the brain shuts down. This is the part that is responsible for executive functioning…thinking & making decisions. So the cure involves getting that part up and running again. Here are a few ways to get your pre-frontal cortex back on track:
1. Flowers – the scent goes directly into the limbic system, and changes the way you feel. The smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls does the same thing. Lavender is notorious for it’s relaxation qualities, so how about a splash in your bubble bath? Mac Davis had a song called, “You Got to Stop and Smell the Flowers” – looks like he knew what he was talking about.
2. Mantras – rather than saying, “I’m so stressed” or “I’ll never get this project done,” change your self-talk to, “I’m okay” or “Things will work out.” Your brain believes what you tell it.
3. Monotonous Drumming – Beats, rhythms, and swaying your body has the power to change your brain waves. Upbeat, steady music will literally change how you feel. Enrique Iglesias’ “Escape” album will do wonders for your mood. Put it on in your car, with volume up loud, and start swaying. I promise, you will feel your emotions blast off, in a good way!
4. Breathe – During stress, breath becomes shallow. That is what is responsible for causing your frontal-lobe to shut down. The remedy? Deep, slow, belly breathing. Wanna know if you’re doing it right? Lie on your back and make a book lift up and down on your belly button. YOGA is especially good for making you belly breathe.
5. Complex carbohydrates and fish oils – Complex carbs and fish oils improve brain functioning. Things like beans, lentils, potatoes (with skin on), whole grains, veggie are filled with complex carbohydrates. They are good for combating depression, and help with brain functioning, especially learning and memory. You can get the Omega-3s from flax seed, winter squash, walnuts, fish (mackerel and salmon), soy foods, bell pepper, and spinach. I like to take a few capsules of fish oil every day. Fish oils help your brain, your heart, and they even ward off depression. The brain uses 20% of the calories we consume each day, and bottom line, the brain needs fat in order to run.
Let me know what you do to de-stress? And tell me how these tips are helpful to you. Thanks!