Check out this month’s article in the St. Louis Argus Newspaper.
Relax. Release. Flow
How to create peace in stressful situations?
Let’s talk about stress, shall we?
“Stress is the human body’s psychological and physiological reaction to any event or condition that is considered a threat or challenge”. Stress affects our overall well-being and impacts many fundamental systems within our body. When we are stressed our brain sends signals to our adrenal glands to release more adrenalin and to produce more cortisol hormones which put our bodies into flight or fight mode. These stress hormones affect our health physically, emotionally, and intellectually and attribute to 3 main types of stress. Acute Stress, Episodic Acute Stress, and Chronic Stress.
Acute stress occurs frequently and can occur several times a day. It appears when there is a perceived threat, a challenge, or something unexpected that happens throughout the day. Late for work, for example, an argument, a traffic jam, you can’t find your keys, a disturbing phone call or news. Acute stress is short-term and easy to manage. And the symptoms of acute stress don’t last long. Acute Stress Symptoms: Anxiety, irritability, memory loss, metabolism, heart palpitations, sweating, headaches, stomach discomfort, and decreased immune system function.
Episodic Acute Stress is when Acute Stress happens frequently. Episodic acute stress happens in repetitive situations. Overworking, overburdening, Overthinking, grief, sadness, and worry are episodic acute stress symptoms. Also, when we allow known stresses to enter and reenter our lives, we are creating episodic acute stress. Episodic acute stress can result in more serious health problems if not managed properly, such as heart disease, and clinical depression.
Chronic Stress Is the most harmful type of stress to our overall health. Chronic stress is constant stress that persists over an extended period of time. Poverty, abusive situations of any kind, unhappy relationships, or chronic illnesses. Symptoms of chronic stress can be debilitating such as lethargy, extreme fatigue, insomnia, changes in appetite, migraine headaches, neurological issues, psychological issues, memory loss or difficulty concentrating, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Also, Chronic Stress can lead to unhealthy management habits, such as addiction, self-harm, or compulsive disorders.
Although, stress is a normal reaction and affects everyone not all stress is bad stress. We sometimes need stress to motivate us. Working late at night to finish a project for example may require a bit of nervous energy to get the job finished. Activities like exercise can cause physical stress, but, unlike the acute stressors discussed earlier, these are brief moments of productive energy and the outcome is always positive. Positive stress is always in our control and is manageable. Negative stress feels as if we are not in control and feels difficult to manage.
So how do we manage bad stress? How do we create peace in stressful situations?
First, it is important to note that stress is how we perceive it. Life changes and transitions don’t always have to be stressful or tense. Sometimes it’s necessary to have a bit of tension to catapult us to our divine destinations and when it’s combined with the right mindset, positive change is inevitable. Stress management training can help us deal with life changes in a healthier way.
Follow the (RRF) Mindfulness Technique. Relax, Release, Flow.
Don’t resist the change in reality. Stay present in the moment. Sometimes the more we resist the truth of a situation the more hurt we cause ourselves, and when we put more effort into resisting instead of easing into present awareness we prolong positive results like problem-solving or resolution. So, tell your mind to calm down and relax. Relax, when stressful moments happen and focus on the moment. Don’t revert to past situations and hold on to the emotions attached to them. View each change as a new event, and provide a different outlook.
Take deep purposeful cleansing breaths. (RELEASE) Breathe out any anxiety, fear, or apprehension about the stress. Deep breathing techniques enable more air flow into our bodies and calms the mind, and eases pain and anxiety. Learning to release (blow out) negative energy also allows positive energy in and creates a strong sense of balance within the body and mind.
Now that you are Relaxed and Releasing negative energy and stress, you are entering into the Flow. Your mind and body are becoming more connected and you are becoming one with the current situation and flowing naturally. Your mind is open, your thoughts are clear, and your senses are heightened. You are flowing in the present state of existence and capable of entering into a deep meditative state free of distraction.
Training our minds to train our bodies how to react to stressful situations takes practice. But, by Incorporating the RRF Mindfulness Technique into our daily stress management we can achieve ultimate results in clarity, peace, and happy well-being.
Other proven techniques for relieving stress are:
- Exercise: any form of exercise helps create feel-good endorphins.
- Meditation: Puts you into a listening state with yourself and helps you find inner peace that will give you courage and strength.
- Smiling: Smiling helps with stress and pain because cortisol levels are decreased. You feel better, you look better and you are better when you smile.
- Connecting with others: Social interaction is important because family and friends can provide support and sometimes just talking with others about a problem can be the best medicine.
- Asking for help: Never be afraid to ask for help when feeling overwhelmed.
- Getting Adequate Rest: Sleep helps the body recharge.
- Eating Healthy: Eating various fruits and vegetables supports a healthy immune system and reduces stress by providing extra energy to cope with stress.
- Setting Boundaries: Don’t be afraid to say “NO”, Protect your Peace. You are always in control of whatever you allow into your space.
Author Mantra Lotus, Founder of the Loose Woman’s Sanctuary (A Global Network of Women Empowering Women) and Host of the Hello Goddesses Podcast is a St. Louis, Missouri native. Currently, she teaches meditation classes at Bayer YMCA in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the author of “Brownslip, A Loose Woman’s Memoir”, which has sold hundreds of copies and has been the topic of newspaper articles, feature magazine articles, and discussion groups. Mantra is also the author of the children’s books “Shades of You, 100 Shades of Black”, an uplifting color therapy book for Black Children, and “Sarrah’s Ice Cream” A creative expression of a child with Autism. Her latest releases are a collection of Mindful Meditation Handbooks and visual animations; “4 Ways to Have a Purposeful Life” and “I Believe in Miracles”. Mantra Lotus’s Books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. To learn more about Mantra Lotus, visit http://www.justmantra.org