The antidote to Stress
Are you having a BAD HAIR day?
Stress is something I am very aware of that this time of year. It can build up to the point where we are constantly on high alert – ready to react to anything and everything.
So what happens when we are stressed? A video I watched recently explains it perfectly (here is my synoposes).
When we are stressed, we experience one of four things:
Fright – we get jumpy, sensitive to loud sounds, or feel uncomfortable in new places
Flight – we run
Fight – we kick, yell, hit
Freeze – withdraw or cannot move
All this happens because our thinking brain gets turned off, and our reptilian brain goes into action (this is our place of instinct). We are having a healthy response to an unhealthy situation, and it happens on auto pilot.
Adrenaline is quickly released from the adrenal glands – this gives us a boost of energy so we can act quickly in response to the situation.
Cortisol is slowly released from the brain. It’s the cortisol that stays in the body a long time, which is why we can get re-triggered again very quickly if another “danger/stress” is perceived i.e. we are on “high alert”.
The antidote to stress is oxytocin which is released into the body by the brain when we interact with people (and our pets) in a positive way through cuddles, hugs, smiles and, of course, massage! It is important to know that we have to actively engage with the interaction – to receive the hug, to allow yourself to feel good, to enjoy it – then the oxytocin is released.
It’s a bit like walking through a park. If you stop to look at the flowers, enjoy the colours, admire the trees - just experience the beauty of it for a few minutes - you will feel uplifted and refreshed. However if you were to walk through the park thinking of your shopping list or work, there is no change. You know what I mean? Well it’s the same with human interaction. We have to experience it to receive the benefits of it.
In an earlier blog of mine, I talk about another chemical the brain releases called DHEA which helps us when we are stressed. This is released in the body when we get into “appreciation/gratitude” mode AND go for a walk at the same time (which moves the DHEA around the body).
There is always a point after an event where we can take a few slow deep breaths, and allow ourselves to calm down, a time where everything is okay again. You know what I mean?
So remember to give each other hugs and smiles throughout this busy time. To receive each other. Take the time to be grateful and appreciate what you have and what is around you. Smell the roses and enjoy the beauty of our country. Stress will naturally melt away.
Elayne Lane is a massage therapist and hypnotherapist. She specialises in relaxation massage and hypnotherapy for stress relief. Click here to get in touch.
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Elayne Lane is an instructor of the Universal Healing Tao. She has been teaching and doing bodywork in excess of 20 years.