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Annie Coyle

4 Vitality Hacks to Release Stress

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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

1. BREATHE

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.

Box Breath: 

  1. Breathe in for a count of four. 
  2. Hold your breath in for a count of four.
  3. Breathe out for a count of four. 
  4. Hold your breath out for a count of four.

2. GROUND

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.

3. MOVE

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.

4. RESTORE

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: 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.

REFERENCES:

  1. Lakshmi Srinivasan, Laurie E. Kilpatrick… (2017). Cytokines and Inflammatory Response in the Fetus and Neonate inFetal and Neonatal Physiology (Fifth Edition).
  2. 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
  3. 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 exercise35(6), 978–986.

Understand & Encourage Alkalinity and Lymph Flow

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Your body is an ecosystem

Over the course of a few billion years, life evolved and adapted from single-celled organisms living in the oceans, to plant, animal and eventually human life out of water. Because humans evolved from organisms that originated in the ocean, we still carry a salt-water environment within us.

We all know how important water is for sustaining health. The human body is anywhere between 55-75% water. Water is essential for biochemical reactions to occur and for communication between cells. Water helps maintain pH balance of bodily fluids, and aids in the functions of digestion, absorption, elimination, circulation, transportation of nutrients, detoxification, and maintenance of body temperature.

Imagine a river flowing downstream. Water moving freely until it approaches an area where fallen trees and rocks have created congestion. The water begins to slow and pool… the conditions begin to change. Anaerobic, stagnant, and acidic conditions become a breeding ground for mosquitos and undesirable bacterial, viral, pathogenic, parasitic life-forms to thrive… 

Water contains energy. It is the movement of water that provides energy to any given biological system. Just like debris caught in a stream will yield slower water flow and less energy, the water-ways within the body also become congested when there is a buildup of toxins and waste particles without proper flow allowing for their excretion. In order to maintain proper flow for detoxification and a clean, fresh, and healthy environment for your cells, we must take actionable steps to support these natural processes. We can either thrive or decay from the choices we make… And if we do get sick — who will we blame — the mosquito or the condition of the water?

Toxicity is the wildcard

The unfortunate truth is that we live in a toxic world. Pollutants, pesticides, preservatives, heavy metals and unregulated chemicals pervade our water, food, air, products, and even furniture. All urban dwellers are disfavored by daily exposure to thousands of airborne contaminants.

When we breathe or ingest chemicals into our system, these contaminants build up in the blood and urine, creating a “body burden” or “toxic load.” As toxic load increases, the body experiences physical stress, creating greater susceptibility for development of chronic disease. Short term exposure can increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. Long-term toxic build up can increase risk for neurological problems, damage to kidneys, liver, and other organs, development of lung cancer, heart disease and more.

It’s not so much the exposure to a toxin here and chemical there that makes a difference for our health, but rather the overall buildup deluging our systems that we must address and lighten.

Your detox pathways

The ECM, interstitium, and lymph are three components of the detoxification system that work closely to neutralize, bind, and excrete toxins, regulate and maintain pH balance of internal conditions and uphold a strong immune system. They are also susceptible to the accrual of toxins from our environment and can easily become congested without active support.

  • The Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM) is a three dimensional network existing between our cells, made up of macromolecules such as collagen, glycoproteins, elastin, and fibrin.
  • Interstitial fluid flows between these macromolecules. The matrix and the salt-water fluid provide structural and biochemical support to surrounding cells. 
  • Lymph vessels are made up of the same salt-water fluid as the interstitium and acts as a transport system for moving waste out of the body. Lymph also works closely with the immune system to detect invaders and activate an immune response.

What are some signs that your lymph and interstitial fluid is congested by toxins?

  • Inflammation 
  • Fatigue 
  • Infection 
  • Disease 
  • Headaches, brain fog
  • Swollen lymph nodes or tonsils 
  • Recurrent sore throats 
  • Mucus in the morning or after dairy/gluten
  • Ear popping/ringing 
  • Frequent colds or flu
  • Constipation or sluggish bowels 
  • Unable to lose weight 
  • Soreness in the morning 
  • Bloating or swelling of extremities 
  • Pain or stiffness of the spine and shoulders 
  • Sore or swelling breasts with menstrual cycle 
  • Itchy skin 
  • Acne, dry skin, other skin issues 

Ref: 16 Ways to Detox Your Lymphatic System [https://branchbasics.com/blogs/healthy-living/16-ways-to-activate-your-lymphatic-system]

8 Ways to Encourage Alkalinity and Lymph Flow

  1. Alternate hot and cold shower.
  2. Move, stretch, bounce.
  3. Infrared Sauna, steam sauna.
  4. Hydrate! Increase efficacy by hydrating with living systems (such as cucumber, watermelon).
  5. Dry brushing.
  6. Lymph massage.
  7. Avoid glyphosate. 
  8. Breathe and practice breath techniques.

Our oceans are 30% more acidic than they have ever been in the last 800,000 years (Scientific American). Our bodies are not removed from nature, and as the oceans become more acidic and toxicity levels in the atmosphere rises, we as humans also experience greater acidity and toxic build up in the body.

As a human living in this day and age, we are at greater risk of lymph congestion, and immune compromisation as a result of increased toxic build up from our environment than ever before in the history of our species. It is therefore of utmost importance to adopt daily action steps to protect and stimulate detoxification support for overall health and wellbeing.

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