With the fast pace of modern life most of us feel overwhelmed at least some of the time. There seems to be more to do than we have enough time in our day. Certainly none of us feel at our best when we are rushing around madly and we can get to the end of our day and wonder what the heck it’s all for.
Here are a few strategies that can help us cope when the adrenaline related stress rush gets too much.
Breathing is the key to our nervous system. When we breathe out our nervous system relaxes. If in a state of anxiety breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7 and breathe out for a count of 8. This allows your calming parasympathetic nervous system a chance to bring your adrenaline levels down. Do this for 4-8 breaths.
Changing what we bring our attention too can also have a very quick effect on our emotions. Get out into nature and soak up its peace or take your shoes off and feel the sensations in your feet. Imagine all the stress pouring out of your body and into the ground. Our nerves and brain is an elaborate electrical circuit and we can literally earth ourselves into the ground calming its overactivity.
Exercise is a very effective way of channelling and venting adrenaline and other stress hormones and can quickly lower anxiety levels. The feel good endorphins that are produced in our brain from exercise also help give us a lot more tolerance to deal with stress.
Stabilising blood sugar levels also dramatically helps. If we eat too many simple carbohydrates like bread and pasta, 2 hours later our blood sugar levels can drop and the body needs to produce stress hormones to elevate the sugar level and this makes us feel more anxious. I have found that spirulina is a very effective nutritional food supplement to help stabilise fluctuating sugar levels and increase energy. The fermented form of spirulina is more reliably absorbed and also provides a source of healthy bacteria for the gut.
It is important to understand that our gut and brain are intricately connected. 75% of our calming neurotransmitter serotonin is made in the gut. Increasing probiotics and resting the gut with detox programs such as the 5:2 diet especially incorporating probiotic rich fermented foods into these detox programs helps reduce inflammation in the gut and the brain. This improves the production of serotonin and brain derived neurotrophic factor. This powerful factor plays a role in neurogenesis which helps us to not only feel calmer but allows our brain to change its pathways and protectively adapt itself helping us to cope better with stress over time.