Safety vs. Stress
1. Spend 5 minutes identifying the top 10 stressors in your life and three ideas to reduce their impact on you. Then list 10 ways in which you feel safe and secure in your life and in the world.
2. Ideally right after completing #1, spend 5 minutes doing a Deep belly breathing practice watching the breath move in and out as slowly and deeply as possible. Notice how you feel before and after these deep breaths. One of the most effective stress management practices is to take breathing breaks. It sound too easy to do much good, but deep breathing practices have been clinically proven to lower blood pressure. If you have extra time and want to do the other breathing practices you’ve learned so far, go for it! Remember to sit for a few minutes in meditation afterwards.
3. Refrain from eating when you are upset or emotional today (and ideally everyday). The nervous system gets triggered in the fight or flight (sympathetic) response when stressed, and is calmed into the parasympathetic response when we feel safe and at ease. Digestion only happens in the parasympathetic mode, because in the sympathetic mode, the body doesn’t prioritize digesting food when it feels that life is threatened. It is important to note that the body responds the same way to physical danger (being chased by a bear for example) and emotional stress (such as a work deadline is approaching when the project is not complete). In other words, all kinds of stress are treated the same way in the body, as an emergency. When food is eaten at these inopportune times, it not digested properly and contributes to metabolic toxins which Ayurveda calls ama. Ama accumulation is the primary contributor to disease. So, do yourself a giant favor, and DO NOT eat unless you are feeling calm and at ease so that your food can digest well and support your health.
4. Yoga is a great practice for reducing stress. Practice challenging poses today and keep your breath fluid the entire time. Moving through perceived limitations with the breath is a powerful practice on and off your mat.
5. Take a bath, get a massage, watch a funny movie, take a walk, or do some other activity that helps you unwind from stress.
6. Check in with me about your experience today and share at least one thing that has you feeling safe in the world.