In her final blog examining the link between emotion and physical pain, Tone gives practical advice on how we can help ourselves.
So, how can we mitigate the stress in our lives?
It starts with awareness, observation and then change.
As we mentioned in the previous blog, when we are stressed our breathing becomes more shallow focussing in the upper part of the lungs and rib cage. But interestingly we have parasympathetic receptors in our lower part of our lungs, so when you practice deep and calm breathing such as in mindfulness meditation and exercises such as yoga, Pilates and Thai Chi/Chi Gung, we breathe deeper and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system allowing our body to rest and digest.
Give your body a pause
By sitting or lying still in meditation, even for 10 minutes, you give your brain and body a well-earned PAUSE, and this is incredibly healing for the body and brain allowing us to rest, recuperate and heal.
Practising mindfulness for 20 minutes daily has been shown to change the way the brain reacts to stress in as short time as 8 weeks. This is can be more powerful than any medication. And it has no side-effects, just side-benefits!
If you are struggling with chronic worry, anxiety or stress it is very nurturing to start moving gently and slowly. We have gentle exercises on our Luck’s Yard app (add link) called spine flows allowing you to move and stretch while deepening your breathing slowly, expanding your ribcage and gently move your spine in all directions. This will help the body to communicate to the brain that you are safe and increase oxygenation to the body and brain.
Walking is another simple, yet effective way to help your mind to relax and know that you are safe.
A gentle hug
It is believed that hugging a loved one for a longer time can help to reduce stress hormones just after 20-25 seconds. See our article for more information: The Power of Touch
Massage and physical touch
Therapeutic touch has been shown to reduce cortisol and other stress hormones in the body. Here is our article with more information about this.
We hope this piece has made you think and reflect how stress might affect you and your body and given you some simple tips to navigate stressful times when they next occur in your life. The study of emotions and how they link to the body is a very intricate new science, but we hope we have been able to untangle it a little for you to help you navigate it better.