All of us have our lives affected by numerous forms of stress. The amount of information that we receive is constantly increasing, added to this, are the many forms of communication we all now use. The media does a good job of portraying uncertain times with lots to fear. People from all walks of life are suffering from stress, this includes children.
Stress is proven to be a major contributor to disease and ill health. The chemistry that we produce as a result of the stress response adversely affects most bodily systems. Our immune systems are compromised when consistently exposed to the biochemistry of stress. Stress ages us prematurely and stress related conditions are responsible for over 75% of visits to the doctor in America.
The good news is, there are simple daily techniques that can be used to reduce stress and bring balance to the system. The key is learning to trigger the opposite branch of the nervous system, to initiate the relaxation response. With regular practice these techniques can be used at any time to reduce stress and calm the system. We all have an amazing self-healing ability, which works most efficiently in the absence of stress.
Deeply relaxing the mind and body is a healthy habit to form, this can also be known as meditation. The recent research into relaxation/meditation shows that regular practice can cause positive changes to the brain and genes. The type of rest that we achieve using these practices is different to what we experience during sleep. There are various techniques that can be learned and practiced.
Breathing techniques can also be used to initiate the relaxation response. Breathing exercises have been included within the practices of Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Gung for thousands of years. There has been a large amount of research confirming the many physiological benefits of focussed breathing techniques. It becomes possible to positively influence nervous system activity through the use of breathing techniques.
Acupuncture has proven itself to be an excellent approach at stress relief. Acupressure has shown to be even more effective than the use of needles for the relief of stress and anxiety according to some research. For the reduction of stress, self-applied forms of acupressure can easily be learnt and used. Acupressure can be applied as tapping techniques which are easy to master. The results are felt straight away from this quick and convenient technique.
A great deal of stress can be generated from fearing the future or dwelling on the past. The best antidote to this form of stress is to practice consistently bringing yourself back into the present moment. There are a number of ways to achieve this and it becomes easier and more natural with practice. An effective technique is to use your senses whilst spending time in nature. Whilst taking a walk in a park or in the countryside try to smell, touch, hear and actually look at what you are experiencing.
Stress is likely to be a part of our lives and it’s hard to avoid it completely. The secret is to make time in our busy schedules to practice calming and relaxing our systems. As with anything we practice, these techniques get better the more we use them. Triggering the relaxation response becomes easier and more natural. More health benefits from reducing stress are being discovered all the time, so it’s a good idea to try harder at doing less.