This is an article that ran in 80 countries in Brainz Magazine. Cheryl Meyer, Cheryl M Health Muse- Health Coach, Author, Speaker, TV Show Host, Podcaster
I think most of us are aware that stress can damage our health. As a business owner, however, although I was warned that constant stress was harming my health, I thought it was also propelling me forward and helping me get more accomplished.
As humans we developed the stress mechanism in order to respond to danger in the wild. If we encountered a tiger when we were out foraging for food, our adrenalin and cortisol went into high gear, moving blood to our brains and our muscles so that we could remove ourselves quickly from the danger.
In today’s environment, however, we are rarely chased by a tiger. And in my case, I let the tiger catch me. My cortisol was so depleted when I got autoimmune disease that I was almost to Addison’s disease. Stress is a major contributor to “leaky gut” which is the root cause of our chronic diseases, which include cancer, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.
Not all stress is harmful. We all have some stress throughout our days. It is when stress becomes chronic that it becomes dangerous. And what I didn’t realize, it was also hindering, not helping, my productivity.
I have learned a series of stress releasing exercises to use through out the day. Most require no equipment and can be done in the workplace quietly without others even knowing what you are doing. All of them reset the parasympathetic nervous system and release the “steam off the instant pot”. All of them clear the head, and improve productivity, so in the end, if you do these exercises, you will be far more effective running your business. Each exercise takes less than 3 minutes and you should do one each hour throughout the day. In addition to lowering your stress, each of these exercises will slow your pulse and improve your health.
Recovery from chronic stress is not negotiable, you can either make time to rest and rejuvenate now or make time to be sick and injured later.
Stress builds up all day long. Every hour, take 2-3 minutes to release the buildup by using these methods:
- Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing exercise 4 rounds at least 2x daily. This resets your parasympathetic nervous system. Dr. Weil is the father of Integrative Medicine. You can Google this, and learn to do it with Dr. Weil on YouTube.
- Take your fingers and push into your belly button and just jiggle for 1 minute. The theory is that your belly button is the beginning of our life, and through our belly button we can impact the entire body.[i]
- If you are in a private space, use the Belly Button Wand. If you are in a public space your fingers will work. This affects your reptilian brain at the back of your neck (the early brain in development) and significantly reduces your stress as proven by Dr. Emerel Mayer, executive director of the Oppenheimer Center for Stress and Resilience (uclacns.org.
- Stand and bounce in place every hour to break up the day. This will bring energy to the brain. Stand up by your desk, let your arms hang, and bounce. Do this for 1-2 minutes
- Tapping the body starting at the ankles and working up to the top of the head. Don’t hurry. Do front and back of your feet, your ankles, your calves, your thighs, your tummy, your heart zone, go over and start with one hand and tap all the way up, then do the other, now tap your shoulders, your face and then the top of your head. This should take 2 minutes.
- Every hour do stretches at your desk. Be sure to stretch up and stretch out. You can do it seated, or you can stand.
- This exercise is done from a seated position. Put your hands on the side of your thighs (one hand on the outside of each thigh) push out. Hold for 10 seconds and release. You will feel relaxation go through your entire body. Do this repeatedly for 1 minute.
- When fatigued, toe tap from a seated position. Just put your legs out straight and tap your toes.
Releasing stress before it becomes chronic will enhance your mood, make you a better leader, bring you clarity, improve your memory, improve your sleep, make you more productive and help you be successful.