What is stress?
Stress is the bodies response to a threat, being attacked, running away from a dangerous situation. The stress response does certain things to the body. It's releases glycogen (fuel) into the blood stream, your muscles become tense and your breathing and heart rate becomes more rapid.
Why stress can be both helpful and harmful?
In the short term, sometimes we need the stress to get us out of a dangerous situation, that is how our bodies were made to respond to actual threats. Stress becomes harmful when it is constant. The physiological systems supporting the body will burnout, become less effective.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the body's response to perceived or imagined threats; what if I behave like an idiot, what if I fail my exam, what if I'm too fat/thin, what if everyone laughs at me? It is a protective response.
What does anxiety feel like?
We all feel things differently, but symptoms can include, feeling fearful, having the sensation of a knot in your tummy, not wanting to eat, maybe wanting to eat too much, rapid heartbeat, repetitive thoughts (rumination), heightened sensory awareness, inability to focus.....the list goes on.
How can I relax when I’m so strung out?
5-10 diaphragmatic breaths (breathing from the belly) will bring you into the present moment. Try to do this every time you feel a surge of anxiety, or even better before you get to that stage. It’s about knowing you and having the awareness of how you react to stressful situations.
How to do Diaphragmatic Breathing (Belly Breathing)?
Lay your hands on your belly around your belly button. As you breathe in, allow the belly to rise up like a dome shape into your hands. As you breathe out let your belly relax back down towards your spine. Repeat.
Take a big breath in
Really sigh everything out
Then do your 5-10 belly breaths
You can do this standing, sitting....just do it. You body will thank you.
If you can do the above, then check out more meditations and relaxations that I have on the blog, or soundcloud. Baby steps.