Keeping Mentally Charged
Stress Survival Tips
Did you know stress can be physical, mental or emotional?
STRESS -> ADRENALINE -> BODY'S "Fight or Flight Response".
Excessive adrenal activity can cause: High Blood Pressure, High Blood Cholesterol , Anxiety &/ Depression, Blood Sugar Abnormalities.
Prolonged stress affects the heart, blood vessels, adrenal gland and immune system.
ADRENAL EXHAUSTION -> "Stressed out" feeling, fatigue, prone to allergies.
The key to stress management is... HEALTH PROMOTION
Deep breathing, meditation, progressive relaxation, prayer, biofeedback, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, or whatever relaxes you.
Exercise Affects Mind and Body
Improves heart function, lowering heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Improves oxygen & nutrient use by all tissues.
Increases energy, mood, self-esteem, endurance.
Increases ability to cope with stress by reducing excessive adrenaline release.
Support Key Systems
Adrenals, Immune system, Nervous system all are affected under chronic stress.
Certain nutritional factors required for immune support & to manufacture adrenal hormones.
Vitamins C, B6, B5 (pantothenic acid), Minerals (Potassium, Zinc, Magnesium), Antioxidants.
Supplementation is neccessary as levels required are higher than dietary allowances.
Avoid Bad Fats - Subsitute Good Fats
BAD = Saturated fats & Trans fats in red meat, dairy products, margarines, fried, frozen & fast foods, refined, processed & packaged foods.
GOOD = Essential fats in olive & flax oil, sesame, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts & cold water fish.
Avoid Caffeine and Excessive Carbohydrate Intake
Increases INSULIN hormone -> fat formation, prevents fat breakdown, increases hunger, mental confusion.
Sugar decreases immune function - already affected by high stress levels.
Identify and Elimate Food Allergens/Sensitivies: You are What You Eat
Pure, uncontaminated, filtered water.
Lean protein (varied) - cold water fish, soy products, legumes, nuts & seeds.
Whole, unrefined grains - amaranth, barley, brown/wild rice, buckwheat, kamut, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt.
Take Charge Because You Create Your Health
- Close your eyes.
- Take a few deep, easy breaths.
- Recall a place and time when you felt relaxed and peaceful.
- Imagine being there.
- Noticing in detail - sights, sounds and smells of this place
- Focus on specific feelings of peace and relaxation.
This simple practice can be used in combination with other relaxation techniques or alone as a quick stress reducer.
Guided imagery can also be used to accomplish specific objectives besides relaxation and stress reduction, such as increasing immune response, reducing susceptibility to disease, controlling pain, losing weight, or dealing with anxiety or depression. The relaxing-imagery process can also serve as a method of evaluating current belief systems and altering those beliefs.
Progressive Relaxation Exercise
- Find a quiet place with a soft lighting. Sit in a comfortable chair, feet flat on the floor eyes closed.
- Become aware of your breathing.
- Take a few deep breaths, and mentally say, as you let out each breath, "relax".
- Concentrate on your face, feeling any tension in your face and eyes. Make a mental picture of this tension - such as a rope tied in a knot or a clenched fist - and the mentally picture it relaxing or being untied and becoming comfortable, lying limp, like a relaxed rubberband.
- Experience your face and eyes becoming relaxed. As they relax, feel a wave of relaxation spreading throughout your body.
- Tense your eyes and face, squeezing tightly, the relax and feel the relaxation spreading throughout your body.
- Apply the previous instructions to other parts of your body. Move slowly down your body - jaw, neck, shoulders, back, upper and lower arms, hands, chest and abdomen, thighs, calves, ankles, feet, toes - until every part of your body is relaxed. Mentally picture the tension in each part of the body, then picture the tension melting away; tense the area and then relax.
- When you have relaxed each part of your body, rest quietly in this comfortable state for two to five minutes.
- Now let the muscles in your eyelids lighten up and prepare to open your eyes and become aware of the room.
- Finally, let your eyes open. You are ready to continue with the day's activities, refreshed and relaxed.
- Learn to love yourself: This may take time and practice. Write down ten things you love about yourself every day. Be creative.
- Let down your guard: Reach out to others.
- Forgive yourself: It takes practice. Reciting affirmations "I forgive myself" may help.
- Forgive others: Holding onto grudges only serves to hurt you. Write out your grievances and destroy the paper.
- Nurture a spiritual practice: Recognizing yourself as a spiritual being having a human existence can help you to feel more connected to the planet and to other people. It can also help you to establish greater meaning in your life.
- Find things to appreciate in your life: Start a "gratitude journal". This maintains a positive attitude and puts a smile on your face.
- Stop to smell the roses: Slow down. Put your health on top and make time to enjoy the simple things in life.
- Do something nice to nurture your relationships: Call someone to say "I love you" or spontaneously do a kind gesture to someone.
- Let people know how you feel about them: Expressing it does wonders. Muster some courage and express your loving thoughts and feelings. It gets easier with time.
- Love your body by treating it well: Feed your body food that nourishes it, exercise, practice meditation or deep breathing. If you don't love your body or aren't sure if you do, return to Tip Number 1.
Beating the Blahs
The blahs affect a number of us and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) typically begins in the fall and persists through the winter as the period of light shortens.
Symptoms include: sadness, irritability, anxiety, increased appetite, lethargy and increased sleep.
As winter's darkness approaches, consider adding full-spectrum bulbs to your home. Also to beat the winter somber consider:
- Increase wattage in existing bulbs.
- Light therapy (10,000 lux for 30 minutes).
- Paint walls with a light colour such as green or magenta.
- Hang mirrors near walls, lamps or overhead lights to double the illumination.
- Decorate with flowers, perhaps, bright yellow ones.
- Increase mental stimulation: brain teasers, chess sets, crossword puzzles.
- Eat more fish and flax seeds, but if not possible increase omega 3s.
- Bach Flower remedies.
- Get rid of bad foods: sugar, alcohol, coffee and quit smoking.
- Consider increasing vitamin C, Bs.
- Take a walk at lunchtime when the sun is high.
- Cut low-lying branches that block sun into your house.
- Take 2- 25 minute breaks per day and really rest your body, mind and soul.
- Go away for a week-end.
- Get fresh air every day.
- Have a glucose tolerance test for hypoglycemia.
- Get a massage.
- Go to bed early and get a good night's rest.
- Laugh and smile more often.
- Associate with congenial people and avoid negative people.
- Get your mind off yourself by doing something to help someone else; volunteer.
- Challenge yourself with new projects-do something expressive, such as writing or drawing.
- Vent your frustrations to a trusted friend, relative or colleague.
- Avoid spending too much time alone.
- Indulge yourself occasionally with fresh flowers, a night out with a friend or a new item.
- Substitute positive thoughts for negative ones (Think I Can, not I Can't).
- Exercise to upbeat music.
- Pray and remember how much God loves you, and draw close to Him in prayer.
- Ask for a hug.
- Set a goal, and spend time each day reaching it.
- Rent funny movies.
- Learn a new hobby-try new things.
- Stop criticizing yourself for past mistakes.
- Forgive yourself, like you forgive others.
- Learn to love yourself, and take care of your needs.
- Set boundaries. Learn to say "No".
- Live only in today. Don't be worrying about tomorrow.
- Accept your limitations and shortcomings, yet always strive to improve in small ways.
- Bolster your self-esteem by remembering past successes and triumphs.
- Keep a journal of joys and sorrows.
- Eat at least 3 wholesome meals per day.
- Breathe - practice relaxation techniques.
- Look for the best qualities in friends and family.
Disclaimer: The goal of this website is to inform patients and potential patients on the benefits of Naturopathic Medicine. It is not to be considered as medical advice without a physical exam, medical history and appropriate laboratory work up. Dr. Reina Persaud, BSc, ND does not assume any responsibility of how the information on this site is used.