Stressed…⇨ Now What?
Stress seems to be part of life in society today. In my last blog, I touched on the science and physiology behind stress and how it works in our human bodies. In this post, I want to talk about what to do about it! So, today’s blog will touch on things we can do to lower our stress levels and help us live life to the fullest potential!
Recently, I encountered a challenging event in my
life where my body was not cooperating with me due to high stress levels. So in the last few months I have begun to learn ways to lower my stress. My goal is to share this with you so you can try some of these techniques and reap the benefits as well.
I started going for acupuncture thinking that it would be an interesting experience. 💉 I am not a big believer in “passive” work, however I know that the brain can be tricked into a parasympathetic (aka rest & digest) state through passive modalities. I knew that my little stressed out self was not spending enough time in a parasympathetic state with the way I had been living my life. So, I went out to find a conveniently located acupuncture facility that fit into my weekly budget. I found a spot in Brooklyn close to the location where I train. I liked their community based approach and I went in for a session. I was using the Whoop band at the time which was tracking my all day heart rate. I noticed that my heart rate during an acupuncture session was actually getting lower than my sleeping/resting heart rate! This was pretty mind blowing. It showed me that my body was able to relax and dive deep into a parasympathetic state even if it was just for 1 session a week. Acupuncture can be beneficial for a variety of reasons including the relaxing calming space and the healing words from the acupuncturist. It’s honestly nice to have someone else looking out for my health because a lot of the time I’ve felt like I am on my own. I’ve been consistently going for 2 months now. My acupuncturist has me on a stress relieving protocol and I do believe it seems to be working. I can feel the difference from when I’m able to let my body relax into the session versus when I am more tense. This isn’t something that happens overnight (nothing sustainable does FYI!), but I’m glad I’ve committed time to myself to work on relaxing & meditating during these sessions.
Crystal Healing Bed in NYC⇨⇨⇨
The Crystal Healing Bed experience was something totally different! I honestly don’t even remember how I found this place! First off, when I entered this place and saw all the calming devices around me, I forgot that I was in the middle of Manhattan. At the time of my first treatment, I was on only 3 hours of sleep and I was really struggling with my health. I left feeling like I had a full night of sleep in 30 minutes. The treatment combines a few different healing therapies together so you can experience it all at once. The simplified concept is that this machine produces frequencies and as humans we also produce frequencies. The healing bed can produce specific frequencies that can harmonize the body and allow for an increase of healing within the individual. The bed has crystal lights that go on top of your body, but do not touch you at all. There is a vibration mat built into the bed. This also gets turned onto a specific frequency and throughout the treatment the surface you are laying on vibrates. Lastly, while laying there with the color therapy & vibration therapy, you also get to listen to binaural beats. If you don’t know what these are, I suggest you test out the app, Brain Tap. These beats are specific sounds that are played at two different frequencies and help balance and organize brain waves. Not going to lie, my first experience was wild! (in a great way!) After 1 session here, I purchased a package of 5 sessions, so I can add this into my routine, whenever I feel the need. As I mentioned earlier in my acupuncture section, I don’t love passive modalities, however if you can trick the nervous system into relaxing, then I am into it.
For more information check out this link: (no not sponsored, although I should work something out with them!)
Being in Nature ⇨⇨⇨
Everyone says that nature is healing, but why? Your environment can increase or decrease your stress levels. It’s a fact. What you are sensing and experiencing at any moment can impact your mood and your nervous system. Nature reduces stress by reducing anger, fear, heart rate, blood pressure & muscular tension. It can help distract us from pain or discomfort and it helps us connect to the present moment. Nature for me has included a great deal of hiking in parks where there is greenery everywhere as well as going for walks near the ocean. Both of these stimulate a calming sensation and if I could be near nature every single day, I totally would.
Increasing Zone 2 Cardio ⇨⇨⇨
From what I see with today’s society, people either spend a lot of time in zone 0 aka sedentary or zone 3-6 which is going balls to the wall in a workout. Zone 2 work is done primarily under that aerobic threshold, working the aerobic zone. Zone 2 cardio promotes health & longevity, as well as benefitting athletic performance. The goal for Zone 2 training is to be exercising at a pace that allows you to sustain your heart just below the aerobic threshold for a prolonged time period. Adding in daily walks, movement breaks, swims, jogs or rowing can break into Zone 2. It’s really whatever you’d like it to be, as long as your heart rate is approximately 65% of your maximum heart rate. For me, specifically, I have added in 2-3x a week of bike riding for about 40-60 mins, walking 40-60 minutes daily and 1-2x a week of a light 20 minute row on the row urg. Regular movement is a key factor in longevity. It directly correlates to decreasing pain & increasing happiness. So to me this is a win-win situation!
Yes, to live we need to breathe. But how are you breathing? Are you hyperventilating? (probably) Are you taking time to think about your breath? Well, this is something that I’ve been studying this whole year. I took Postural Restoration Institute Respiration (PRI) course in 2018 and since then I got hooked on breathing! I mean, I was hooked on breathing before or else we would have a different problem…but now I take time to focus & practice my breath. We need to slow down to speed up. As a child, if you’re upset we say “ Go outside and take a breath of fresh air” There is something so true to this statement. When you breathe deeply and increase the time of your exhalation your nervous system lets you enter into a parasympathetic state. Working on that longer exhalation can help ease your mind and your perceived stress levels.
For more information on PRI courses: https://www.posturalrestoration.com/programs-courses
These are just some techniques I have been utilizing in the past few months that have worked well for me! Hopefully sharing these can help other people out there who may be struggling with managing stress levels! Too much stress is not the coolest look on people, so do me a favor.. take a deep breath, go into nature, move your body, try out something new, & live life to the fullest!