FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
In a world moving so fast, it can seem challenging to slow down and still accomplish all daily tasks at hand. Much of the Western world is rushing through their lives, without truly pausing to enjoy it.
Stress is an inevitable aspect of life. It can shake the very pillars that are ought to create comfort and ground. With wavering foundations, it’s easy to feel unsure, unsafe, and scared.
Rushing through the day, receiving over stimulation from electronic devices, navigating financial circumstances, relationship trials, human rights injustice, and health, are all aspects of human experience that gives rise to stress.
Your stressors may look unique from your neighbors or friends, but it is all valid. Stress can present itself in many forms, including psychological stress (e.g., anxiety, fear), environmental stress (e.g., pollutants, toxicants, noise, EMF radiation), or physical stress (e.g., sleep deprivation, lack of nutrition, high energy expenditure). All stressors impact overall health and wellbeing, and left unmanaged can be cause for chronic illness down the road. Managing stress can be one of the most effective ways to reclaim health and vitality.
Read below to learn simple tools and practices to help initiate relief, and upbuild resilience in the face of stress.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
Biologically, prolonged stress produces an immune response, which causes the body to release pro-inflammatory cytokines. The ultimate purpose of pro-inflammatory cytokines are to respond against infection. But, regulation is key, and if this process is perpetuated in an inefficient manner fueled by stress, an overabundance of inflammation in the body is able to persist. This vicious cycle then creates more stress, eventually increasing risk of infection, illness, and chronic disease.
Stress reduces overall biological resilience, and lowers the body’s natural responses. Ever notice digestion or bowel changes in times of panic? Stress weakens digestion, and can cause microbial imbalances, as well as “leaky gut,” where undigested food and waste particles seep into the blood stream. This then places a stress-burden on the body in the form of more inflammation.
Stress can feel all consuming. Its ability to initiate a vicious cycle that can affect all facets of wellbeing (physical, mental, emotional) is serious cause for action. Vitality Coaches at the Human Universal Health Institute recommend these 4 simple vitality hacks to adopt in your daily routine to upbuild biological resilience and combat stress.
4 VITALITY HACKS FOR RESILIENCE AGAINST STRESS
Humans breathe an average of 23,040 breaths a day (2). Most of these breaths are performed unconsciously as part of autonomic nervous system regulation, allowing the chemical exchange of oxygen to carbon dioxide to occur continuously. A downside of living in today’s age is that we are constantly consuming a multitude of pollutants daily through our breath. When the majority of our breaths are shallow, we are at risk for accrual of toxic buildup from the environment, which our bodies experience as physical stress unless excreted through the lungs or other detox pathways. The good news is, simple breath techniques have the power to not only support the body’s natural detox pathways, thereby reducing physical stress, but also influence tangible changes in the nervous system, furthermore releasing stress, and bringing the body and mind into a calmer and more relaxed state. Next time you are feeling stressed, take a pause and try this breath technique that has been used by Navy Seals to entrain greater nervous system resilience in times of great stress.
- Breathe in for a count of four.
- Hold your breath in for a count of four.
- Breathe out for a count of four.
- Hold your breath out for a count of four.
Ever notice how relaxed and at peace you feel hiking through the great outdoors, digging your toes into sand, breathing in spray from a waterfall, or taking a barefoot stroll through the park?
There is not only an electro-magnetic field surrounding the earth, but the same electro-magnetic field exists on a smaller scale surrounding the human body. When this electro-magnetic field becomes disrupted (which can occur as a result of disease, injury, stress, or even wifi/5G electro-smog) the body and mind can be thrown out of balance. Grounding is the ancient science of rebalancing and re-attuning to the electro-magnetic field of our bodies and the earth.
Synthetic shoes and structural foundations disable the transfer of electro-magnetic current, so practice Grounding by walking or standing barefoot on the Earth.
We all know that exercise is necessary for overall health and wellbeing. Regularly increasing heart-rate actively reduces stress and improves sleep quality.
According to a study exploring effects of moderate exercise on nervous system function, researchers found that moderate exercise decreases the fight or flight response to stress, yielding overall greater biological resilience in response to external stressors (3). Movement also increases lymph flow. Lymph flow is important for sustaining energy throughout the system, carrying waste to be eliminated from the body, and working in tandem with the immune system to provide protection against foreign invaders.
We suggest getting as much low-moderate intensity movement as possible sprinkled throughout the day (adding up to at least thirty minutes). This can be anything from a brisk walk while on break at work, a quick dance session, yoga, shaking/jumping, going to the gym, or even simple stretches done from a chair.
The link between stress and insomnia has been long been documented. Surely most have experienced sleepless nights driven by unrelating worry, anger, or other stress-induced thoughts coursing through the mind.
If you are experiencing negative impacts of stress on restful sleep, it can be helpful to adopt certain practices and routines to maximize healing through deep rest. We suggest the following:
- Meditate! Learn a technique from a teacher and meditate at least once per day for best results. Meditation apps, such as Insight Timer or Headspace can be helpful to begin right away.
- Create a sleep routine. Examples:
- Journal or read before bed and create a sleep haven without use of electronics.
- Take a melatonin supplement.
- Drink chamomile, valerian root, or passionflower tea to calm the mind.
- Take a calming magnesium bath.
- Practice restorative yoga.
- Ditch the phone before bedtime.
Breathe, Move, Ground, and Restore are four fundamental principals for combatting stress, increasing resilience, and creating firm foundations for healthy living. While these tips may seem rudimentary, their power ought not to be overlooked. We have simple tools at our finger tips for maintaining balance and increasing vitality that require nothing but a human body, nature’s elements, and willingness to put these actions into practice.
- Lakshmi Srinivasan, Laurie E. Kilpatrick… (2017). Cytokines and Inflammatory Response in the Fetus and Neonate inFetal and Neonatal Physiology (Fifth Edition).
- Brown, Ann. (2014, April, 28). How Many Breaths Do You Take Each Day? https://blog.epa.gov/2014/04/28/how-many-breaths-do-you-take-each-day/(3) Physical Activity Reduces Stress. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st
- Brownley, K. A., Hinderliter, A. L., West, S. G., Girdler, S. S., Sherwood, A., & Light, K. C. (2003). Sympathoadrenergic mechanisms in reduced hemodynamic stress responses after exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 35(6), 978–986.