Approximately 83% of workers in the United States report suffering from stress and it’s a $300 billion dollar productivity killer.
You try whatever is the latest craze online and it’s just not helping. Is there a natural way to cure stress ― especially one that doesn’t involve eating some random food?
The answer is yes and it involves slowing down certain brain patterns.
What does that mean and how do you do it? Read on.
Moving the brain toward positivity
The brain acts as many things, including the command center for our being and doing. The infinite number of neurons are working together, creating electrical currents of high and low frequencies.
The Hypothalamus, which controls the autonomic system of the body, dictates emotions and the Amygdala controls responses to threats. They correspond to messages through brain waves, moving from the left and right hemispheres of the brain. These brainwaves are responsible for how you deal with circumstances, either internally or externally, that require a response. They are the source of how your body deals with stress.
So, the goal is to shift the brainwaves from a fast to a slow perspective through positive alignment. Research shows us brain waves that move from the right part of the frontal lobe to the left exhibit a move from negativity to positivity. By decreasing beta activity in the brain, you can also move into a relaxed state and lower stress.
Slowing my brain down is great but what does this look like for me now?
Especially dealing with self-quarantine?
Promoting a relaxed brain requires a multi-layered approach and training but it’s very doable.
In a recent webinar in dealing with the COVID-19 virus, which is causing a lot of stress and anxiety, several healthcare professionals talked about ways to help mitigate stress during what’s become known as the “stress olympics”. Not all of us have trained for it.
Dr. Stephanie Best, a trainer with the Neuromeditation Institute, noted several ways to help downshift the nervous system and promote the shifting of brainwaves. Meditation is a long-held way to help cure stress. Even for experienced meditators, this time is very taxing. So for those new to meditation, Dr. Best recommends self-compassion and taking baby steps.
“Can you take a pause and focus on your breathing for as little as one minute?” she says. “Set a one-minute timer, put one hand on the heart, one hand on the belly and tune into the sensations of the belly.”
Informally, take a gratitude pause during the day. Wherever you are in your headspace, think of something to be appreciative about. Everyone in your family is well, it was nice to speak with your colleagues in that virtual conference call. Even having toilet paper…that’s something to be grateful about!
Jenna Spector, a project manager with INOVA Well offered several ways to help cure your stress response:
Exercise: It’s a great way to relieve stress and stay healthy. You may be out of our routine because of the quarantine but it’s important to keep moving! Fitness studios are putting out videos on Youtube and other channels to help you.
Nutrition: We want to make sure we’re feeling good and the mind and physical health are all connected. Get those fruits and vegetables in! And be mindful of your snacking.
Notice your breath: Deep breathing is a great tool that doesn’t need equipment. It really is an immediate stress-relieving technique.
All these things help. But remember: the natural cure for stress starts within you.