My fibromyalgia doctor told me that living with chronic pain places a lot of stress on the body. That was something I didn’t realize in the beginning. On top of that, there’s the economy, and shootings at schools, elections that press on us, too. More and more people are suffering with stress from all the negativity around them. We have to make an Extra effort to stay ahead of it. Negative stress takes a toll on our daily life and our health. Stress can lead to tightening muscles, increased pain plus high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, anxiety and depression.
Important effective natural stress reducers
Sleep reduces Stress! Too little sleep can leave us feeling unbalanced or not centered. Too much sleep can leave us with symptoms of disease, sluggish and depressed. Try to find the right balance that allows you to feel well-rested and ready for the day. Promote better sleep by establishing bedtime rituals that signals to your brain that it’s time to fall asleep. Avoid vigorous exercise in the three hours before sleep or try a warm bath.
Certain foods can also promote sleep, such as carbohydrates, bananas, figs, dairy and – of course, my certain holiday favorite – turkey. These foods all contain tryptophan, However, avoid having a large meal three to four hours before going to bed, because it may result in indigestion, or heartburn. Your body will be very busy digesting your meal. It’s helpful to stop use of cell phone and computer for a while before bedtime. It’s the lit screen you stare into that may stop melatonin production which is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
Massage is under the category of bodywork. Those of us with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain need to be careful what type of massage we try. The after-effects can be very surprising in the days after. There is manipulation of muscles and other soft tissues. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, used friction for physical healing treatments. In China massage is used to open blocked energy channels in order to improve health. For those who can tolerate it massage can be very beneficial.
Massage helps to:
- release muscle spasms
- reduce pain, soreness from injury
- break up scar tissue and adhesions
- help relieve headaches
- increase blood flow through the muscles
Massage reduces pain by promoting relaxed muscles and by increasing lymphatic circulation.
Deep Tissue Massage is used on deeper muscle tissue for release of chronic muscular tension, and is applied with greater pressure.
Esalen Massage is a technique to bring about a sense of well-being through a deep and beneficial state of consciousness. Esalen focuses on the mind and body as a whole. It is a very soothing method that uses slow rhythmic movements to bring about a general state of relaxation. This is one I want to try.
I have been blessed to find a very gently body worker. Always begin to drink lots of water after your massage. You will need it to wash away the toxins that were released.
Humming can make such a positive difference in our mood and lifts our spirit. But it has a scientific side. Some use humming for their mind/body connection. Our voice has been recognized as an instrument for healing. Our voice carries healing energy and vibrations. Every living thing vibrates with life. When we hum with intent, it’s possible to bring the body into harmony and health. Our voice vibrates and so do our organs, bones, and our cells. Vibrating at their own ‘resonant frequency’ or sound like a orchestra. Sound is vibration and vibration tunes the body instrument.
The herb passionflower has long been considered useful for anxiety and insomnia. It has a gentle sedative effect, also helpful for hyperactivity and stress related disorders. A few studies have shown that the herb may actually be comparable in effectiveness to benzodiazepine drugs, which are used to treat stress. Though not proven, it is believed that passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This lowers the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed.
Passionflower is available in a variety of forms, including infusions, teas, liquid extracts and tinctures. It is not for children or women who are nursing. Amino acids and calcium are some of the nutrients in passionflower.
Meditation, or mindfulness, or practicing staying in the ‘now’ only takes 10 to 20 minutes a day, which is possible even in a packed schedule. It’s also incredibly affordable, considering the only tool you need is your own mind. Just give yourself some silent time to just focus on your breathing. When you are learning you will have to make a habit to Stop, pull aside, and just do it. That small amount of peace in your day can help you deal with or even release stress.
Exercise is a tried-and-true stress reduction method. Whether it’s yoga, Tai Chi or walking, exercise works much in the same way as meditation because it gives you the time to be alone with your thoughts (or an opportunity to let them go). However, exercise also has the added benefit of releasing endorphins into the brain, which improves your mood. It also prevents obesity and other health problems, giving you less to be stressed about.
Magazines and television programs are full of ideas on how to organize your kitchen, or your winter clothes. Organization offers a sense of control and peace of mind. If you’re the kind of person who’s always running searching for lost items, spend time on finding a place for everything, and put everything in it’s place. In offices where papers are thrown about, you will find a frustrated worker.
Choose better foods
It’s actually been proven that junk food can make us depressed (not to mention fat) so think twice before indulging. Healthy foods like fresh vegetables and protein can improve your mood and give you long-lasting energy to tackle everything that comes your way during the day. Scientists suggest that blueberries, salmon and almonds are especially effective for stress-busting.
Also, put down that extra cup of coffee. While studies have shown that some coffee during the day can offer health benefits, too much caffeine can make you jittery and anxious, and eventually lead to an energy crash.
The B vitamins are known to promote proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as help you relax and fight fatigue. In fact, indicators of low levels of vitamin B include irritability, depression and apathy. So to stave off those symptoms, increase your intake of foods rich in B vitamins B vitamins are typically found in the germ and bran of cereal grains, as well as nuts, peas, eggs and milk.
In some cases, scents have been shown to have immediate stress relief effects by raising mood, reducing your anxiety and help you focus and concentration. Experts say it’s because the smells stimulate the lymphatic system, which in turn releases chemicals that affect the brain, promoting feelings of relaxation, calmness, love and happiness. We all could use more of that. Buy oils of vanilla, lavender, and rosemary. Vanilla is my favorite. It takes me to a contented place. Also try a combination of your favorite scents.