I was having lunch with my team member, who kept kindly prompting me to slow down. I was inhaling my food and not even being mindful of it. Most of my life I have gone through periods where I am on the go, continually juggling many responsibilities. I used to have to have to travel to another county for school, juggling school, kids, and doing in-home visits for work as a Social Worker. Although that was years ago, I am still juggling many responsibilities, always perusing some goal small or big.
I talk a lot about responsibilities, juggling tasks and activities, wearing many hats all at once because this has been my life since 18 years old. Women. We are strong, intelligent, loving creatures. We get shit done! (Not to say that men don’t.) The problem with this at times can be that our fight or flight response is not being turned off and we are not always aware of this.
For those of you have never heard of the flight or fight response let me explain it in simple terms. It is our body’s response to acute stress. Our body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated by a releasing of hormones to give us a burst of energy to flight (run away) or fight. It was useful for our ancestors’ survival. We are not cavemen hunting or running from predators any longer. However, we continue to experience stress and perceived threats daily, just in different ways than our ancestors, such as work demands, responsibility, accountability, results, deadlines, etc. Our home life has its own set of demands too, and anything else you are involved in.
Let’s take a moment to do a quick check in and see if you are running on flight and flight mode. Have you found yourself eating quickly? Not able to fall asleep or stay asleep because your mind won’t shut the hell up and you are thinking of all the things you have to get done? Or feeling like you’re always in a rush? Have you noticed tension in your body? Have you paid attention to how crazy you are driving, hmmm? These are some indicators that your stress response is still on.
Have you ever heard of cortisol? Yea, most of us, know it by “that hormone in our bodies that keeps a tire around our midsection.” Yes, cortisol is a hormone in our bodies that regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response. High levels of cortisol is known to help cause higher insulin levels, decreasing your blood sugar causing you to crave sugary, fatty foods. It’s hard enough to lose weight, so turning your stress response off can also help you with your weight.
So slow it down, boo, and breathe! Let’s pause here and take a few deep, cleansing breaths.
A simple breathing technique: Take 3 deep breaths. As you breathe slowly inhale through your nose, filling your belly up, and then release your breath out through your mouth. Inhale serenity, peace, calm, love. Exhale stress, anxiety, tension, and anything that is not serving you. Picture golden light coming into your body as you inhale. Let this golden light fill your body up. Imagine the color gray as your exhale and release stagnate energy. Releasing any negative energy back into the earth to neutralize.
Ah, it feels so good! Not only are you breathing and slowing down your heart rate and your stress response, but you are also energetically moving stagnant energy out of your body and filling yourself up with golden, loving, healing energy. Now, do this as many times a day that you need when you are realizing your stress response is on. There are many other things you can do to manage stress but again, add this quick breathing exercise to your tool belt. Seems too simple? Well then it should be easy to commit to practicing it, right? Yes! Being aware of it is the first step. Start paying attention to your behaviors, thoughts, sleeping and eating patterns. Notice how your body is feeling. We like to ignore our bodies and push through things until we find ourselves sick and out of commission. So, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Are you able to shut it down with ease? There can be more serious health problems as a result of your stress so talk with your doctor about any concerns you might have.
When you become aware that you are on stress automatic mode, be consistent with slowing down in that very moment. I am not saying move like a snail (unless you prefer that). I am referring to being aware of how fast you are moving and how you are feeling. Take a moment to be aware and consciously make the decision to slow down by moving just a little bit slower, talking slower, eating slower and enjoying your food, releasing the feeling of being in a rush, and breathing slowly and fully from your belly. If you are somewhere or doing something where you can’t slow down at that moment, then that’s fine just make sure you unwind and de-stress when you are done so that you turn your stress response off.
I am committed to providing value, and education with simple, practical, and actionable steps you can use to craft a life you love. I hope that you now have one more tool in your tool belt. If you found value in this article, please subscribe below and let’s stay connected.