⭐️Stress Guide⭐️ Firstly, welcome @smoore ! 😄 I'm responding here to your question below because I imagine this is something MANY people here need some help and assistance with, and wanted to create a basic guideline for the whole community that could be applied universally. I agree with @Dina Tibbs - Soul Guide and the others that an individualized approach is necessary to really see where the root of your stress is and specific ways and strategies to address it, but here are some things to consider to help create more resilience and flexibility in the nervous system and bulletproof you from stress in general! ⭐️ It goes without saying that one of the best tools for dealing with states of heightened stress and anxiety is using your breath. It's one of the most immediate ways you can create an internal change in state. Most basically, making sure that you are breathing with the nose ONLY (mouth breathing can trigger natural heightened levels of fight-or-flight, keeping us hyper vigilant). Slow and light breathing is key. In an ideal world, breathing about 6 breaths per minute. Prioritizing deep breathing by breathing into the belly and not into the chest (shallow chest breathing also creates an internal heightened state of stress). Belly breathing downregulates the nervous system. Breathing techniques: Breathe at a ratio of 1:2. E.g. 3 second inhale, 6 second exhale. Extending the exhale activates more of the parasympathetic rest and digest system. 4-7-8 breathing - 4 second inhale, 7 second hold, 8 second exhale for 5 minutes Coherence breathing - 5 second inhale, 5 second exhale for 5 minutes. Visualize the breath flowing into and out from the center of the chest. This helps create very coherent heart and brainwave patterns. Wim Hof Breathing - This is a very intense style of breathing (plenty of YouTube videos you can search up, or you can catch the replay of the breathwork workshop I ran on Guidely that does a modified version of it) that you can do in the morning. It intentionally raises the fire alarm inside the body to help the body adapt to increased levels of stress, thus raising your personal threshold for stress and helping you develop more resilience and flexibility to it. Last technique that you can use in a pinch to help the body dump a lot of CO2 and lower immediate levels of stress is taking 2 - 5 minutes to do the following: Take a deep long inhale, until you can't breathe in anymore. Pause. Take one last sip of air in. And then smooth long, extended exhale. And repeat. ⭐️ Now, as for more day to day things. SLEEP! This one is huge. A solid and consistent sleeping schedule, and QUALITY sleep, is probably one of the absolute most important things you can do to maintain healthy levels of stress, a balanced nervous system, strong immune system, lower levels of inflammation, healthy hormones and much much more. @Monica Le Baron, Sleep is the expert, and if you need help optimizing sleep, reach out to her on here as well! Some advice I can offer: Start your day with bright sun exposure, make sure it hits the skin and eyes for 10 to 20 minutes. This will help set your circadian and cortisol rhythm, priming you for a good night's sleep the following night. No bright lights or devices in the evening (especially an 1 to 2 hours before bed). Having a wind down routine in the evening helps as well. e.g. warm showers (which will help lower the body's core temperature post shower, making it easier to fall asleep); a yoga nidra practice; reading; journaling; meditating A tea blend of passionflower, valerian, and hops is also very good for calming down. Making sure room is pitch black, and somewhat cool as well e.g. 65 degrees F ⭐️ Nutrition And Herbal/Supplemental Considerations Cutting out processed food, sugar, and if you're sensitive to it, caffeine as well, will also do absolute wonders for your mood and levels of stress. Prioritizing healthy sources of fats e.g. avocados, fish, grass fed sources of meat, butter, ghee; real extra virgin olive oil; coconut products The brain is 60% fat in dry weight. The membranes of cells in the body. The myelin sheath that covers and insulates the neurons in your nervous system. These ALL need healthy sources of fat. No vegetable oils, trans fat, etc. as these oxidize very easily and cause excess inflammation. Wild caught salmon, mackerel, sardines are all great sources as well since they provide omega-3 fatty acids which do wonders for inflammation in the brain and body, and can actually cross the blood brain barrier. Healthy sources of protein as well are essential since the amino acids found in protein are used to manufacture neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and GABA, all which can help in creating a more positive mood state. Both protein and fat are also necessary to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Often when blood sugar crashes or swings, excess cortisol is dumped to liberate glucose molecules for energy, which can lead to or aggravate states of stress or anxiety. Water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Add a pinch of pink salt or sea salt to electrolyze it. Optimizing your gut microbiome with fermented foods (if you're not sensitive or have some forms of IBS) as the correct microbes can help produce necessary neurotransmitters. Gut health in general is key, and benefits greatly from things like bone broth and collagen. Supplements: Magnesium is an absolute must universally and most people don't have adequate levels. It's responsible for over 300 different processes in the body, and there's different forms of it that do different things, including lowering stress, helping relax the muscles. Magnesium threonate specifically can cross the blood brain barrier, but I would recommend a complex that includes different forms. Bioptimizers (no affiliation) has a great one that I've found and use often. A vitamin B complex can also be very useful here. Kava. And adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms as well. ⭐️ Daily Practices A daily gratitude practice (which has a mountain of scientific studies supporting its efficacy) can really help create that internal resilience and improved mood. Journaling can be profound and cathartic, helping us get things from our minds, OUT into the world, so they're no longer simply percolating on the inside. Speaking to others, expressing fears, concerns, doubts. Exercise! Is a wonderful way to process the chemical cascade of things like anger and stress. The physical stress itself can also actually increase our emotional and mental threshold for stress as well. Cold exposure. Cold showers. Intentional brief bursts of stress can, again, help us adapt and increase our tolerance for it universally. Meditation! Big one here. There's hundreds of styles and methods out there, but if I were to recommend something specifically for stress and anxiety itself, it would be the kinds of meditation styles that naturally produce slower brainwaves e.g. mindfulness type practices (like body scans, observing, but not engaging, thoughts and emotions, tuning into all 5 senses etc.) and meditations like Transcendental Meditation, or Ziva I know that was all a lot! But no need to feel overwhelmed, see what calls to you and start applying where you can. It's all about micro progress. Most importantly, create self awareness (which mindfulness practices can also help cultivate) and recognize WHAT is at the root of your stress, and notice WHEN you start feeling levels of stress start to rise. Catch it early before it builds. In moments like that, pull back, ask for help, get support, delegate some things. And take EXTRA care to nurture your mind and body. I hope this helps! 😊

Posted by Tom - NeuroArkitect Guide at 2022-04-14 16:01:15 UTC