- Increase self esteem, self worth, optimism and confidence
- Help forget your own physical or emotional pain
- Help decrease stress and acts as a stress release
- Improve immune response
- Decrease feelings of depression and self doubt
- Increase sense of balance and over all well being
Whoa! I hear you exclaim, that's a pretty tall order.
Lets break it down into more manageable pieces.
I'm going to change the order a bit here too.
Firstly, I think that until we can decrease the stress in our lives and find something that works as a stress release for us we are unable to focus on the other things as it all becomes too overwhelming and just another list of things we can't quite find time to get to.
So lets look at stress.
What is it?
Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stress.
Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. Now we need to understand there is good stress as well as bad.
Our bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood when there is a new demand on it.
These chemicals either give us more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger, or a bad thing, if their stress is in response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength.
So basically good stress is when we have a demand on us and our body produces the chemicals to help us deal with this demand. A bad stress is when we peceive a demand and the chemicals are released, but we have no way of using these chemicals and so they build up in our system.
An example of bad stress is worrying. We think something bad 'might' happen and so our body releases chemicals to help us deal with the actual situation, but it hasn't 'actually' happened, we have just imagined it might happen, and so there is nowhere for these chemicals to go and so our body gets stressed.
Some common stresses today are survival stress, internal stress, enviromental stress & work stress. To read more about these go to http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/stress-definition-1.html
People under large amounts of stress can become tired, sick, and unable to concentrate or think clearly. Sometimes, they even suffer mental breakdowns.
We need to find ways to release this stress.
Some common ways are :
- Getting outdoors
- A hobby
Improve immune response.
To me this goes hand in hand with number one. If we reduce our stress, we automatically improve our immune response. However there are also other things we can do, starting with what we eat. What you feed your body will determine how healthy it ultimately is. How many times have we been told to stay away from processed or fast food as they don't provide the nutrients that your body needs, but in today's society trying to do that can increase our stress and defeat the good we are trying to do. So instead, look for healthy and nutrutional fast foods, there are more and more available now. Look towards fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and wholegrains. These foods are high in vitamins and antioxidants that your immune system needs. There are now a lot of very tasty foods that are still good for you.
Next we need adequate sleep, it is during sleep that our body repairs itself and our immune response increases. If you are having difficulty sleeping try some aromatherapy or some soothing music, there are also a lot of good programs around to help people with insomnia, check one of them out! http://www.emedicinehealth.com/insomnia/article_em.htm
The final one for this section is exercise. Hey that was in the Stress section too..cool...kill two birds with one stone!! The secret to excercise is find something you enjoy and do that, don't keep slogging out at the gym if you hate it. Try some Zoomba or take up bike riding or swimming...the list is endless.
Two down 4 to go!!!
Decrease feeling of depression and self doubt.
You know what, you have already nearly finished this one as excercise, even a walk, can help with this one and as you immune response improves your depression will usually decrease....not so hard after all is it. I would like to add here that if you have depression don't mess about with it, go and see your doctor. Most often depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in our brain and may need medication to help bring it back to balance. For most people they only need to take the medication for 6 mths, a bit like jump starting a battery. For others it may be a longer term solution, a bit like when the started motor goes. The important thing is don't rely on getting yourself out of it, if you could you wouldn't be in this state. Get help NOW!!!
Self doubt, this can be a big one. CBT is a wonderful tool for dealing with self doubt. CBT stands for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I think this is something that should be taught in schools or at the very least we should teach it to our kids. To find out more about CBT go to http://www.moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome This is a FREE program you can do!
Okay I'm going to leave it here for now and I will cover the last three in my next blog....get started on these and let me know how you go.