Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dealing with Stress

Stress. It's a topic I come back to quite often. It's a topic that has even earned itself a category heading in my sidebar.

I'm always seeking to free myself from the tight clench of Stress (even as I willingly climb into his hand time and time again). I decided to enroll in a two-hour class entitled "The Tao of Stress Management."

The presenter started the workshop by emphasizing the direct relationship between stress and nutrition. He argued that when we eat processed foods, we put unnecessary stress on our cells. He railed against refined sugar, flours, pasta, etc.

Then he moved into a segment about accepting personal responsibility for our stress levels. Ultimately, we are the ones responsible for our emotional state. We create stress for ourselves by being too hard on ourselves, wanting to control things we can, escalating stress, or blaming things on other people. Our reactions to external stimuli determine our stress levels (not the stimuli themselves). It made me feel so silly for all the times I let bad drivers frustrate me on the road. Seriously? Why escalate my stress level over something so stupid?

He talked about deep breathing as one antidote for stress. He discussed the important of breathing all the way into your stomach--really letting your belly expand with each inhale. This particular technique has already worked wonders on my stress levels. If I'm really, really stressed, I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth to release all my pent up emotion. I'm trying to condition myself to breathe deeply as a habit.

He also touched on the importance of regular physical activity. Even though I have personally experienced the beneficial effects of exercise on my stress levels, it still helps to hear the message over and over again.

Because he is an acupuncturist, he also discussed the benefits of acupuncture. Even though I'm a little weirded out by acupuncture, I think I'm going to start using it to help regulate my menstrual cycles.

In terms of next steps, here's what I generated during the workshop:
  1. Find a natural, whole foods cookbook (maybe this one?)
  2. Set aside time to relax every night before bed
  3. Practice breathing all the way into my belly
  4. Stop complaining
  5. Do yoga (for crying out loud!)
  6. Start taking walks after dinner
  7. Take 25 deep breaths as I fall asleep
In short, I loved his closing summary about how to reduce stress in your life: "Breathe more deeply, eat more simply, and move more frequently."

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Sarah said...

What about when you start getting stressed out about being stressed out?! Aahhh!

No, just kidding :)

Anonymous said...

As a cookbook recommendation, I would suggest Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson. My husband is the natural-foodie in our pair and I bought this for him when we were first dating...but I cook from it once or twice a week now!

krista - urbanite jewelry said...

if you're looking for a whole foods cookbook, you might REALLY enjoy heidi swanson's super natural cooking. http://www.101cookbooks.com/supernatural/

even better: she has an INCREDIBLE blog called 101 cookbooks which is one of my favorites on my blog roll. it's full of inspirational, inventive recipes that are chock full of whole, wholesome ingredients. love it.

krista - urbanite jewelry said...

hahahaha AND i just realized that the person above me posted the same thing! great minds! you'll really enjoy the blog as well (budget friendly too ;))

Me said...

You should try this one:


Amanda said...

I just found the 101 cookbook blog last week and LOVE it! My MIL is visiting right now, which means she makes hardcore Southern food with tons of butter and meat (which thrills my hubby but is terrible on my ex-vegetarian-still-Mediterranean style-eating-self) but once she leaves I have 5 recipes from Heidi to try out!

Sharpiegirl said...

Try a green smoothie. You'll get a buzz! We've been drinking them for breakfast, sometimes I take a LARGE one for lunch but usually I just take about a 2 cup container for a mid day pick me up. It works 10 times better than coffee without the crash.

Lyssabeth's Wedding Officiants said...

Great post. I'm going to put it in my bridal newsletter for March to remind all my brides-to-be to BREATHE!

Thank you!

Anne said...

L.o.v.e this post...
Thank you! :o)

Mallory said...

Ooo man with so many recommendations for that Super Natural Cooking book I'll have to keep my eye out for it!

kahlia said...

That's great advice. And I was breathing deeply the whole time I was reading that post, so thanks for the reminder!

Mels said...

There are many levels of things you can do to live joyfully:

Breathe: great advice

Move: whatever movement that breaks a sweat is good. Especially if you can do it in nature. Yoga is great. Massage.

Eat: As close to it's natural condition as you can. Fresh fruits and veggies. Free range eggs, grass fed animal, if you eat animal. No processed food!

Get enough vitamin D3 - carefully with sun is good.

Advanced: Energy Medicine (self acupuncture) Biofeedback and EFT. Looks weird but feels great! These totally kick butt. Turns on your joy circuits.

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