Bliss Bite 78: National Stress Awareness Month

Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month?  Listen, we all are affected by stress in some way or another.  And just as each one of us manifests the effects of stress differently (headaches, stomachaches, acne, insomnia, high blood pressure…), each one of us manages stress uniquely as well.  I think it’s vital to have tools in place to help us manage stress so it doesn’t become chronic and debilitating.

As we’ve talked about in the past, when we are in a chronic state of stress, it’s like we are constantly being chased by a tiger.  The body’s fight or flight response kicks in, increasing our heart rate, blood pressure and mental alertness.  Our adrenal glands, which are located above the kidneys, secrete adrenaline when there is an emergency or perceived danger. When we are in a chronic state of stress, our adrenal glands can become overworked, leading to adrenal fatigue, negatively impacting our overall health.

Deep rest and relaxation are key elements for dealing with stress.  In her book, Relax and Renew, my teacher, Judith Lasater writes, “The antidote to stress is relaxation. To relax is to rest deeply.”  When we practice relaxation techniques, we slow down and make as little effort as possible so that we allow the muscles to stop engaging, bringing the body to stillness, thus allowing the heart rate to drop and the blood pressure to decrease,  creating the environment for the brain to quiet.  And when I talk about deep rest and relaxation, I’m not talking about zoning out in front of the T.V.  I’m talking about conscious rest, like you would explore in a yoga class (e.g. restorative yoga, savasana) or might experience during meditation, a Reiki session or a massage – anything that would trigger the “relaxation response”.  The relaxation response is a physiologic response where our blood pressure decreases, our heart rate slows down, and digestion/metabolism returns to normal.


In honor of National Stress Awareness month, here is a yoga practice you can do daily to help you manage your stress.

Let me know on our Facebook page how it goes and please share if you have other great stress-management techniques!

Peace, Love, and
Bliss,

Beth

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