If you live anywhere near a populated area, you have likely experienced feeling frazzled at some point. The regular din of car horns, ambulances, reactionary emotions that are verbalized on the city streets, and the frenetic pace of city life can become an undercurrent in the subconscious. The frenetic energy of daily living, that has now become normal, can become a source of stress for many individuals who may not even be aware of it.
What can we do when we feel inundated by life?
- Unplug: Take a day off from technology! One of my patients enjoys unplugging herself from her iPhone and tv on certain Saturdays. She admitted that, at first, it made her very nervous to do so. However, she soon found out that when her phone was on, she was constantly bracing herself to spring into action at any given moment, and that unplugging for that one day allowed her the time to breathe more fully and reset her sympathetic nervous system.
- Breathe: When we are stressed, we become shallow breathers who breathe from the chest. This stunts the flow of oxygen to our whole body, which can result in feeling even more stressed! When you’re about to go ballistic from distress, take a moment to breathe into your navel, and exhale slowly from your lips. One trick I like to do when I’m feeling anxiety rearing its head is this immediately calming technique: breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale slowly from your mouth for 8 counts. It’s simple, and it works! When I shared this with one of my patients during one of her visits, she immediately tried it out. She said, “Wow. It does work!”
- Make sure to get adequate rest: Some of my patients experience insomnia. Whether it be because they have trouble getting to sleep, because they wake up multiple times during the night, because they wake up too early, or a mixture of the three, it often seems to be in anticipation of what to expect, the next day, or sometime in the future. If this is the case for you, and sleep remains elusive, despite the major amount of hours you put into your day, see if a nap may be in order. Naps can be very rejuvenating, and can help you make up for the lack of sleep you’re experiencing. In general, 7-9 hours is a good amount for most people to achieve optimal rejuvenation. Some folks may function just fine on a little less, others may need more to be fully rested.
- Eat well: There are calming foods that are great to eat when you’re stressed, such as: raspberries, asparagus, avocados, blueberries, cashews, small amounts of dark chocolate, garlic, grass-fed beef, and oatmeal. Nourishing herbal infusions (large amounts of dried herb steeped for a long period of time, like 4 hours or overnight) not only nourish your body, but can be extremely calming for the nervous system. I recommend oat straw herbal infusions for calming the nervous system. Also, it is important to take your time savoring your food! Take your time to chew it (it’s part of the digestive process) and enjoy it. And, enjoying food with others is also a wonderful way of celebrating connection with others, and taking in nutrients at the same time!
- Receive a wellness treatment: Receiving a wellness treatment, such as Acupuncture or Reiki, is not only a way to show up for yourself in self-care, but it helps reset your sympathetic nervous system, reduces stress, manages anxiety, releases endorphins and affects chemical neurotransmitters for your benefit. And, that’s only on the physical level! Emotionally and spiritually, it helps us realign our energies so we become more connected to ourselves, we feel more grounded, and old energies that no longer serve us are willingly released. I say willingly released, because sometimes we hold onto what no longer serves us, often from fear of the unknown, especially if we’ve held onto them for a long time. Acupuncture and Reiki allow us to get back to true center, so that we may realize that these old energies are no longer useful, and thus, ready to be let go.
There are so many that I haven’t included in this list, but these are good ones for starters.
What’s your favorite way of finding peace?
May your mind be at ease,
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