Here we explore what stress is, how it is unhelpful for health and healing and practical ways to less stress. Learn quick and easy daily practices to enjoy less stress.
what is stress?
I define stress as reacting to a perceived challenge in a way that causes distress.
why do we get stressed?
Stress is a natural reaction that helps us survive danger. If we were out in the wilds and saw a pack of lions stalking us, stress would put us in a state where our muscles, nervous system and brain functions dedicated to survival, would be at there optimal.
At the same time all functions that are not necessary for immediate survival will be suppressed. So digestion, repair, immune functions and general healing either stop or operate at reduced levels. Even our ability to think clearly, constructively and optimistically will be reduced.
Unfortunately our body does not distinguish between real danger and self imposed stress. So, for example, being stressed at work or in a stressful relationship puts us in a similar flight or fight state as though we were being chased by lions. Long term stress therefore predicates us to poor health as we spend too much time in survival mode suppressing our healing functions.
how do we get ourselves stressed?
The steps to getting stressed are often that we perceive a situation, analyse it in terms of good / bad, right / wrong, fair / unfair… out of which we create a sense injustice, exaggerate problems or imagine danger. From an event we project ahead and if we are negative, create the worst possible scenario. Any of these lead to a state of stress.
what are the risks of long term stress?
Long terms stress has been implicated in many common illnesses, which suggests that les stress will help prevent them or form a valuable part of any healing process. Typical stress related illnesses include;
- Heart disease
- Skin rashes
- Infectious illness
emotions of stress
- Fight or flight
- Feeling overwhelmed
emotions of less stress
- Self Belief
- Feeling in Control
foods that can increase stress
Some foods can stress our body in a way that makes it harder to enjoy less stress. Most of these foods are also acid forming.
- Strong spices
- Unhealthy diets
food for less stress
These are foods that Zen monks have used to feel calm and meditative. These foods are alkaline forming.
- Tofu, Tempeh or Natto
- Sweet vegetable soups
how to enjoy less stress?
The more time we can train ourselves to be in the moment the less stress we experience. I recommend spending a few minutes ever hour practicing being in the moment through practices like meditation. After a while we become so good at getting back into the present that when a potentially stressful event occurs, we can stop our brain from spiraling into a negative stressful pattern of thought by using the techniques we have practiced, to come back to the moment.
daily steps to less stress
- 1 minute meditation every hour
- Drink a daily cup of tea and experience all 5 senses
- Go for a walk outdoors and feel every step
- Try to get out into nature
- Describe life rather than judge it
- Create flexible expectations
- Try not making assumptions
- Be open minded
acid and alkaline
Being stressed creates a more acidic internal environment in our bodies. We can help change this by eating more alkaline forming foods.
Try eating more vegetables, teas, sea vegetables, fruits, miso, tofu, tempeh, natto, umeboshi, almonds, quinoa and millet.
yin and yang
Generally we can say that feeling stressed or being in our fight or flight mode describes someone whose energy is faster, hotter and more concentrated, therefore more yang, in terms of yin and yang. Sometimes we feel a different kind of stress where we are overwhelmed, giving up and feeling hopeless, which we can describe as more yin.
Most of the time we feel less stress becoming more yin. So meditation, being in nature, having a massage, eating more fruits and vegetables, enjoying calming teas all help.
Becoming caught up in dramas, conflict and arguments, rushing, having too much to do could all be described as an excess of yang fire chi in the five elements. The remedy would be to build up more of the opposite, yin metal and water chi. Yin metal chi can be increase by gently focusing on inner strength through practices like yoga, meditation or tai chi. We can encourage more yin water chi through sleep, rest and various healing practices.
It is also possible to feel stressed as a result of any of the elements, for example earth / jealousy, metal grief, water fear and wood anger. In each case we can explore ways to build up other energies to compensate.
less stress at home
Creating a relaxing, loving home where we have a sanctuary to return to is helpful in creating less stress. Wabi sabi and feng shui have much to offer in creating that nurturing, safe space to relax. Some people find clearing clutter therapeutic and leads to a more relaxing home.
stress free living
Ultimately whether we feel stressed or not comes down to our own trust in ourselves and life. If we believe in ourselves and that somehow, despite all the challenges thrown at us, we will succeed, there is much less to get stressed about.
How much we love ourselves, love life and act out of feelings of love will determine our perception of life. If we generally have a loving disposition, it becomes easier to feel optimistic, positive and constructive. These emotions keep us free from stressful emotions.
It is not whether a thought is right or wrong but how we feel as a result of it that matters.
Ultimately life is a state of mind.
Reading these Connection Therapy articles will create new options on how to perceive life.
help for less stress with Simon
You can have an in person or skype / facetime session with Simon to explain why you feel stressed and explore practical strategies for living with less stress. Simon will help with meditation, food, thoughts and daily activities that will lead to less stress. You may have a single session or a series of sessions to help through difficult times. The fee is £60 per hour. To book your session call 07543663227 or email.