April is Stress Awareness Month. It's time to talk about stress, finding your zen moments, and living in harmony. There have been several times in my life when I was riddled with anxiety. Looking back, I can see where it all started to fall apart, but when I was in the middle of the storm, I couldn't see the forest from the trees. My hair was falling out in chunks, my skin was breaking out, I was gaining weight, and my whole body was screaming at me to make changes, but at the time, I didn't realize that it was all related. I'm betting that you've had a similar experience. Don't make the same mistake friends! Your body will whisper to you at first, then knock lightly, then knock harder until you literally get sick. You see, there's a mind, body, behavior connection. This is great news! This means we can tap into our body AND mind to lower our emotional temperature. Let me share some tools with you that cost nothing and yet have a huge impact on stress levels.
TIPS FOR REDUCING OVERWHELM
1. Exercise-Your body actually hold emotions. This is physiological response and I won't go into all the science but know that when you sweat, you release those chemicals and emotion. It's a very good thing! 2. Touch-I'm not just talking massage. Your pet will do or hugging a loved one. Touch is primal. What do we do with newborn babies? We swaddle them. When a child is hurt, we hold them. When a loved one needs consoling we touch them. 3. Water Therapy-Taking a warm bath or getting into water period can be very soothing. This can involve many of your senses and help to relax you. 4. Breathing-Where your breath goes, your body follows. Want to increase your heart rate and rev up your emotions by engaging your sympathetic nervous system? Inhale at a quick pace. Want to relax your heart rate and engage your parasympathetic nervous system? Draw out your exhales longer than your inhale. Breathing and muscle relaxation are the fastest way to bring your body back down to balance. 5. Practice Thought Awareness-Your mind is a powerful tool. What you believe becomes your reality. You can't stop anxious thoughts until you recognize you are having them. So pay attention to your thoughts. 6. Self Talk-Now that you're aware of your thoughts, what are they telling you? We have 50-60 thousand thoughts a day. Is your self talk negative or positive? There's no neutral. 7. Mindfulness-Forcing yourself to slow down and pay attention to one task at a time can also help to alleviate anxiety. Focusing on the future leads to anxiety. Focusing on the past can lead to depression. Focus in on the right now. What do you see in this moment? What do you hear? What do you taste? How do you feel emotionally? Focus in on the here and now. 8. Nutrition-Watch your food intake. Every time you eat, you inform your body. Eating a whole food mostly plants kind of diet that feeds your brain and body will lead to clear thinking. The happy hormone serotonin is mostly made in the gut (85%). Our food definitely informs our emotions!
It's unrealistic to think we can completely overhaul our lifestyle. I just want you to take two of these tips. Which two are you most deficient in? Pick two, be consistent, and committed to working on them for the month of April. By the end of the month, you'll have started some healthy habits! Comment below and let me know which two you're planning to pick. I can't wait to hear al about it!