Stress Buster Secret

Love Is An Open Door-002

Stress 

Anxiety

Pounding 
Blood Pressure

Heart Palpitations

The sound going off in your body

                                Danger - Danger - Danger


This is what STRESS is, our body's reaction to a harmful or dangerous situation, whether that situation is real or not.  Whether it is being late for an appointment, a fight with a spouse, having no money but a whole lot of bills, not having an answer, or feeling like we can not complete a given task, we all have our list of pressures that cause daily stress in our lives.  


Though we often think of stress as just a mental problem, the truth is that stress has a very real effect on our physical bodies.  Whenever we become stressed, our bodies send a signal to our brain that tell us it is time to take action.  


Chemical reactions take place in our bodies when we feel something is:  threatening us, when we are in a crisis, when we are unstable, uncertain, or at risk.  God in His infinite ways created our bodies this way for good.  


It is the reaction known as "fight or flight.''  In other words, God created our bodies to determine when a danger is eminent so that our brains will kick in to high gear causing a chemical reaction in our bodies to protect ourselves.   This reaction is controlled by one of the three parts of the autonomic nervous system, the part known as the SYMPATHETIC nervous system.  


You know the feeling, your heart starts to beat quicker, blood pressure rises, muscles tighten, breathe becomes shorter and you begin to sweat.  When used as God designed, stress is a wonderful protectant because it causes us to be alert and remove ourselves from vulnerable situations, like jumping out of the way of a moving vehicle or being more alert in unknown surroundings.


Stress overload becomes a problem however when we allow ourselves to stay in that high alert mentality, without allowing our bodies to recover.  Scripture says, it is the little foxes that kill the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15), and that is usually what happens with stress overload.  


When our brain receives the chemical reaction telling us to be alert, not only does it cause the above reactions, but it also shoots a hormone throughout our bodies known as cortisol.  Cortisol is what gives us the vital ENERGY to move FAST!


When cortisol is elevated for too long of a period, in other words it never comes down, or when it is elevated too frequently, constantly firing, the hormonal systems of the body become disturbed leading to such disasters as:  obesity, heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and chronic fatigue.  


Think about this:  When your body releases cortisol for EMERGENCIES, it is meant to be used QUICKLY for FUEL.  It is meant to be depleted, not stored, and this is where problems develop due to hormone levels not being able to adept properly in the body.


SOOOO, WHAT IS THE SECRET TO BUST UP THE STRESS??


The SECRET to busting stress, lowering anxiety, and lowering the cortisol levels in the body, is to counter act the sympathetic nervous system with its counter part, the PARASYMPATHETIC nervous system.  


The parasympathetic nervous system controls the rest and relax system of the body and is quite easy to activate.  When the parasympathetic nervous system becomes dominant, the body goes into a state of relaxation, lowering blood pressure, slowing heart rate and breath, and even allowing for better digestion as the body comes in a state of rest and healing.


It is easy to do, and can be practiced anywhere, which is great news because stress and anxiety go with us everywhere too!


The best method of kicking in the parasympathetic nervous system is through our breath, long slow belly breaths are the goal.


Breathe In Photo-3

To begin:  Put one hand on your belly, just below your abdomen, and the other hand on your chest.  Breathe in through your nose, working to have your belly go up and down rather than your chest.  You can even imagine your belly button is a nose and try and simulate the breath going in and out through that spot, so as to keep from having short, shallow chest breaths.


Breathe in for a count from 2 - 4, hold, then release pushing the air out from the abdomen.  The exhale should be at least one second longer than the inhale count.  If you can double the exhale count of the amount of time you inhaled, all the better.  (I usually have a 4 count inhale and a 6 count exhale).  Wait a second before beginning the process again, and repeat.


It is best if you can practice this exercise while alone sitting in a chair or lying on a floor.  The more often you practice, the better you will be able to put it in to motion when you are out and about in your daily life, needing to practice your breathing, but not wanting to put your hand on your belly in public (though sometimes I subtly do!)  


The body is meant to be in harmony.  Stress is good for energy, and daily tasks.  Rest is good to allow the body to heal and prepare for the next attack.  


Practice your belly breathing to bust your stress and remember this is one secret you don't need to keep to yourself! 


For a visual reminder to practice this, check out this Picture Prayer.   



© margaret young