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  • Writer's pictureEdie

The Body Never Lies: Stress

A leading factor in most modern diseases is…you guessed it, stress. Although physical responses to stressors vary, chances are, you are quite familiar with the overwhelm of “being stressed”. Our daily lives leave us running in many directions. We are constantly busy, so much so that many people say they no longer know how to relax.

Stress zaps your Qi, or energy levels. Ideally, each organ system will have an ample amount of Qi to function at its potential. But when stress enters the scene, the Liver goes out of whack. At all costs, the body will try to maintain its balance. The other organs will compensate to help the Liver return to balance. The body exerts a tremendous amount of energy to recover from the emotional wear and tear of stress. This negative vibration impedes the flow of Qi and blood through the body. If you’re already running low on energy and are under constant stress, this imbalance can eventually manifest as a chronic emotional or physical condition.

In addition to the feeling of being overwhelmed, stress is often accompanied by exhaustion, insomnia, aches, pains, headaches and/or an upset stomach. Others may display stress in more intense ways, such as an irregular heartbeat, numbness in the face or extremities, arthritis, asthma and/or intense migraines. Since we are so used to moving at a fast pace, we don’t always notice or pay attention to smaller warning signs that pop up. That’s when the body escalates its physical response so that you can take note and make some changes. These physical symptoms are often scary. But instead of being fearful of these warning signs, thank your body for the early cues. Then take the time to re-learn how to relax and unwind.

MASSAGE ON TYBEE'S Tips from Ms. Edie

1. Let it go! Close your eyes and picture a tree in the forest. While it is firmly rooted, its branches sway in the wind. Now notice the way your feet are firmly rooted to the floor/ground. Put your arms out to your sides and begin to sway. Imagine the wind getting stronger and stronger as you shake your entire body out. And as you do, imagine yourself shaking off those burdens one by one.

2. Laugh! The best stress reliever is a good belly laugh. Watch a funny movie or read something that makes you laugh. Or, how about a Viral-Video? “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain,” explains the Mayo Clinic.

Counterintuitively, laughter first activates your stress response and then deactivates it, creating a kind of “rollercoaster” that leads to a feeling of relaxation.

What’s more, even if you don’t find the viral video your uncle Joe sent you to be that funny, just the anticipation that it might be will actually boost endorphins.

3. Put on some Music! While classical music has a particularly soothing effect -- it slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and even decreases levels of stress hormones -- any music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neuro-chemicals like dopamine. And while music can soothe everyday anxiety (crank it up on the drive home!), research shows that it’s particularly beneficial for those in the midst of stressful events. Don’t have your headphones handy? Try humming or making your own music.

4. Seriously, Turn Off Your Phone Smartphones, in particular, are linked to increased stress as more and more people feel pressure to respond to messages at all times.

5. Eat A Banana (Or A Potato!) Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress. Some people find that eating a banana when they’re feeling stressed can help improve energy and recovery. And research shows that it can protect your body from the negative effects of stress, like increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The American Psychological Association recommends it to stave off the physical detriments of stress as well.

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