Stress is part of our daily life. Some stress is good: it can help motivate us to perform tasks, work more efficiently and face the challenges that greet us every day. However, too much stress is bad and can overload your body.
Stress is a response in the fight or flight nervous system. When we operate excessively in the fight or flight, we inactivate rest and digestion, key components that contribute to a healthy life. The stress that remains for weeks or months fills the body with chemicals that increase food cravings and heart rate, weaken the immune system and contribute to hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
Signs that you are under too much stress include: difficulty concentrating, getting sick frequently, outbreaks of autoimmune diseases, muscle tension, digestive problems, drug and alcohol abuse, fatigue, depression, headaches, irritability and increased anger or the anxiety. While I encourage my stressed patients to eliminate excessively stressful situations, I realize that it is not always realistic to do so. Traffic, deadlines and unexpected demands and delays are part of life. Fortunately, there are a number of lifestyle improvements you can make to help combat stress. Below are some practices that I incorporate as rituals in my life to keep the inner dragon goddess in peace and calm.
Acupuncture expands the container for stress, giving you a little breathing space to make your stress response more manageable. With acupuncture, instead of going crazy like you normally would in a stressful situation, you can face and respond in a more appropriate and positive way.
In Chinese medical theory, your body consists of fluid pathways of energy or qi. Stress essentially causes a traffic jam. With acupuncture, the circulation of blood and energy is restored, ways are opened to relax muscles, chemicals are eliminated from stress and natural analgesics called endorphins are released. That's the same thing that gets you so high after the exercise. Acupuncture puts you in a deep state of relaxation and tranquility.
CHINESE HERBAL TES
Chinese herbs play a role of thousands of years in reducing stress. Adaptogens are a particular group of herbs perfectly suited for times of stress. Remember the energy bottleneck I mentioned earlier? The liver is the main route that works overtime during environmental, physical and emotional stress. Detoxifying and reducing stress in the liver is essential.
I love the beautiful chrysanthemum flowers, which make a relaxing and refreshing tea to drink during stressful moments. Refreshing during these hot summer months, the chrysanthemum is cooling, supports the liver and promotes healthy skin and a healthy immune system.
Take the time to appreciate the multitasking skills of the small chamomile daisies. Place a cup, hot or cold, in a quiet space. Soothing chamomile helps your digestion, fights inflammation, reduces pain and helps you find your zen.
We could all learn from some characteristics of effervescent dandelion root. Among gardeners, it is a weed known for its persistence in survival. Using force and energy, he is determined to prosper. One of my favorite teas is dandelion root tea combined with aromatic spices, such as cloves and cinnamon, to create a warm and spicy chai that nourishes, detoxifies and strengthens the liver.
VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
Especially in women, a chemical released during stress called cortisol increases the cravings for carbohydrates and sugars. Instead of that cookie, look for a cleanser and detoxifier for the liver: berries, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, cabbage, avocado, cilantro, spinach or pomegranates. Not only will it cleanse your liver, but it will also charge your body with essential nutrients that promote heart health, healthy aging and the fight against cancer and chronic inflammation.
Yoga is where I find my peace, calm and balance, literally. It truly is a whole body experience that calms the mind, while working the abs, glutes and arms. When I manipulate my body in the stress relief position utthita trikonasana, the flexibility and strength that I acquire physically, are parallel to the flexibility and strength that I acquire in mind and spirit. This conscious abandonment of rigidity allows us to be more open and less stressed by people different from us or by ideas different from ours.
Gaining popularity quickly, meditation is receiving all the attention it deserves. The MayoClinic now recommends meditation as a simple and quick way to reduce stress. It can be done almost anywhere, at any time, and does not require equipment. Meditation helps you find and maintain a calm state of mind, reducing negative thoughts and increasing self-awareness, giving you a clear perspective. Even just a few minutes of closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing can be powerful during a stressful time.
What helps you manage your stress?
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