by Jontie Hays~“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”~Albert Einstein
The only thing that is constant in this life is change, right? We hear all the time about how transitions and changes in life can take a toll on both our physical and emotional health. The emotional growth we experience through life transitions is felt on a physical level as well.
Integrating change into our mind/body life entails the rewiring of the brain. New behaviors, thoughts and patterns are literally manifested as new born neuro-pathways formed in the brain.
That’s a lot of work for your body and it needs your support!
Fortunately, our bodies are intelligent beyond belief. The physiological responses we experience through transition is our body’s way of communicating with us about how we are coping with change.
Our bodies respond to stress by prompting your adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline, two stress hormones that increase heart rate, elevate blood pressure and mobilize glucose (energy) for your brain and muscles. When stress is always present, this fight-or-flight response stays turned on. Worrying, feeling overwhelmed and out of sorts can signal a stress response in the body.
During any life transition you may not feel in control of how your body is responding. But remember, this is the way your body communicates with you about what it needs to process and rewire itself in response to the life event
Honoring and giving attention to your physical symptoms will allow you to explore your body’s natural intelligence.
And why is it so important to give our bodies assistance? Because the more we operate in stress, the more neuro-pathways are created thus wiring us for stress and making our stress response system so sensitive even minor events can trigger it.
So how do we support and love our bodies through life transitions?
You Are What You Eat: The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Sugar, nicotine and alcohol stimulate adrenaline in the body, another hormone released in response to stress. Reduce your caffeine as it triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Chronic stress accelerates your body’s use of many vitamins and minerals. Increase your intake of the following foods to counter the loss of these important nutrients.
Oranges: vitamin C can curb levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system.
Complex carbs: Whole grain foods not only keep our blood sugar levels more steady but boost the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin improves sleep, our mood and overall sense of well being.
Salmon: The high amount of omega-3 fatty acids helps prevent surges in stress hormones and may help protect mood disorders like depression. The recommended intake is 3 ounces of fatty fish at least twice a week.
Almonds : These nuts are loaded with many helpful vitamins such as vitamin E to bolster the immune system and plus B vitamins which increases resiliency to depression. Try for a quarter of a cup every day.
Asparagus: Very high in folic acid, this veggie helps stabilizes moods.
Eggs: Eggs contain nutrients that help prevent stress by keeping your serotonin level stable which prevents your mood from fluctuating.
Dark green leafy vegetables: High in magnesium. This food help keep anxiety at bay.
Stop and Smell the Flowers…or Plants
Essential oils send chemical messages through the olfactory nerve to the brains limbic region which influences emotional responses. To use essential oils, put three or four drops on a cotton ball and then inhale or add a few drops to a warm bath.
• Slows breathing
• Relaxes and balances emotions
• Elevates thoughts
• Relieves anxiety
• Relieves insomnia
• Creates a calming effect
• Relieves anxiety
• Relaxes and clears the mind to help bring stability to one’s emotions
Through the use of proper breathing we can alter our body’s reaction to stressful situations and decrease the production of harmful stress hormones.
Sit in a reclining chair. Put a hand on your abdomen and a hand on your chest. As you breathe, make sure the hand on your abdomen is moving up and down rather than one on your chest. If the hand on your abdomen is moving you are breathing deeply and slowly.
Get Your Emotions in Motion
Yoga: uses deep breathing, which triggers the body’s relaxation response.
Tai chi: increases flexibility and boosts energy, which result in an improved sense of well-being.
Walking: releases tension from the major muscle groups and calms the nervous system
Remember, take care of your body and your body will take care of you, so give it some extra TLC whenever you find yourself in the midst of change.