Coping with stress. Or better yet let’s eliminate it.

Stress, it invites a number of physiological changes like an increase in heart rate, and perspiration it can also cause us to lose control of our mental balance, over thinking or concentrating more on the negatives and rushing our thoughts in comparison to being more relaxed and our thoughts are generally more positive and controlled.

But how do we combat stress it sneaks up on us in some way every day, whether it is an exam, traffic conditions, going on a date, being late, the list goes on.

With many of my friends and family in a time of exams and work piling up, I would like to dedicate my next few blogs to them and write about kicking stresses butt, until there is no more. There are many physical and mental exercises that can be practiced to fight stress and what works for one of us may not work for the next; it is worth trying all of them to explore which works best for you.  This first blog to act out against stress is something we do everyday but continue to do it wrong a lot, the simple act of breathing.

1. We need to bring out heart rate back to a relaxed state one of the best things is to just control our breathing. We spend a lot of time in a hunched position with our shoulders and neck forward and back hunched this position will automatically restrict the amount of air we are taking into our bodies and releasing, which in its self can be a stressful thing.

So try within your day to open up your arms nice and wide like you are about to take flight lift your head and breathe. Breathe deeply all the way into your abdomen, let the breath come out to the sides and all the way up to your chest hold the breath and then slowly release it out. This is a simple exercise that allows us to observe our body and its actions, we breath all the time we have to for survival, but do we take notice of it? Our breath will not only help with relaxation but it assists us in movements and muscular executions, it helps to control and support us and cleanses our body.

By simply taking a few minutes in your busy day to really breathe to be a spectator, this will allow you to be open not only in your body to free you of pain but in your mind as well. The action of breathing creates an idea of being open and free. Imagine you were underwater holding your breath this can create stress, all of a sudden you are panicking your chest becomes smaller and less open, you can’t think straight. Now Imagine looking up seeing the surface and emerging up from the water you take in a deep long breath, your body will automatically start to relax your mind will become open and you can think more strategically, you are actually able to make more of the “right” decisions when you are in a state of relaxation.

This analogy of drowning and being scattered is what a lot of us do each day in our busy lives. We allow ourselves to be drowned in our work in deadlines, in the negatives.

My lesson for you is this… like being underwater force yourself to look up and find your light, take back the shoulders breathe in happiness (eg. the smell of spring flowers) breathe in the taste of fresh air, as you breathe tense each of your muscles with each breathe hold it and then concentrate your breath on that part of your body being aware of it and it feeling it move like your blood flow. Do this for each body segment as you deeply inhale and control your exhale to completely RELAX.

“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow” H.G Wells.

The link below gives you a little more information of how a surf journalist deals with his own stress.

Published by jdv05

I'm an Exercise Scientist leading Personal Training and active tours around Parks Victoria protected spaces of Warburton and the Mornington Peninsula. A lover all things movement, incorporating nature into our sessions and personal workouts. I spent 2014 in Japan working as a tour guide and researching trails and writing active trips for both Australia and Japan. I enjoy competing in fun runs and trail runs, with my favourite being the Two Bays trail run. You can check out some of my workouts and fitness tips on my personal blog, Qualifications include: Bachelor in Sport and Exercise Science, Certificates III and IV in fitness, Level 1 instructor in Mat Pilates, Wild fitness trainer, Level I and II boxing instructor, Surf instructor.

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