Monday, July 14, 2014

Why We Ignore Stress and How to Ensure We Don't Using an Easy 3-Step Technique

Is it possible to go through your days in a state of numb chronic tension and not recognize you're about to get hit by the Stress Express Bullet Train? For virtually everyone, the answer is absolutely yes!

How can that be? Isn't stress something we notice, something we feel, something we are always aware of? The answer is - like so many areas of life - it depends on focus and habitual mind patterns.


The Good and Bad News: You Are Wired to Survive:


As a key part of evolution we are programmed to survive. One of the mechanisms that helps us do that is habituation, or habit.


Think of habituation as a form of learning. As a given stimulus is repeated, we're less and less likely to respond to or consciously notice the stimulus. 


The brain is on alert to notice what's new, novel, and threatening. As we get used to a given stimulus over time, we tend to pay little or no attention to "old news". We tune out old signals in favor of attending to new and potentially threatening situations.


Ignoring Chronic Stress Signals:


As we habituate to internal signals we at first may have recognized as stress alerts, our overall stress levels increase. The physical body may take on a chronic muscular tension. Blood pressure becomes chronically elevated. Emotionally, we are frequently on edge, short of patience and less considerate. Life seems to become more of a struggle, so we feel the need to push harder. And we do.


Soon, another round of stressful circumstances hits us. Yes, we may for a time recognize that we're "stressed", but the business of life takes our attention away from internal signals of stress. We habituate to yet higher levels of tension and dis-ease.


Sadly, this ever increasing stress spiral can continue for years. Our physical and emotional health will likely deteriorate and lead to acute medical conditions such as heart disease and stroke. We can become profoundly unhappy to the point that life seems far more a burden than a joy.


Apply the Stop - Look - Listen Technique:


Fortunately, we can harness the power of positive habituation to recognize and release stress in real time throughout each day. 


Choose to get into the habit of taking a one-minute stress break several times a day. At first you'll likely need to schedule these breaks in your daily calendar or set your email program to send reminders. You can also use sticky notes or other items as prompts until the Stop - Look - Listen habit becomes automatic. That will likely take about three to four weeks of daily practice. After that time, you will have created a new, habitual healthy pattern you can benefit from for the rest of your life.


The Three Easy Stop - Look - Listen Steps Are:


Step 1: STOP: Stop whatever you're doing when it's time to take the Stop - Look - Listen break. Notice any sensations, tightness, or uncomfortable feelings in your body. Touch those areas gently and say out loud or silently in mind, "Soften, soften and flow. It's only blocked energy, release and let it go." After a few seconds move your hands over your heart. As you place hands over your heart (right hand over left or left hand over right is fine) take three gentle, long, easy breaths as if breathing into and out of your heart.


Step 2: LOOK: Raise your head up or - even better - stand up and take a few steps. If a window is nearby, look outside. Soften your gaze and look off into the distance. Returning attention to the space nearby, if you have a photo of family, a loved one, or pet available, look at that photo. Really, really look at the photo and allow positive feelings of appreciation and gratitude to flow through you. Feel those feelings and smile. In the absence of photos, find something to look at that creates positive feelings. Flowers, a stuffed animal, a special award or a thousand other items can all work. Really feel the positive energy flow.


Step 3: LISTEN: Pay attention to your self-talk and notice if your self-talk is positive, helpful and upbeat or critical, judgmental, and energy depleting. Choose self-talk with phrases, and commentary that are upbeat and encouraging. Use phrases that include words such as, "can", "choose", "positive", "happy", and "success". Positive power words change our state and allow us to get onboard the Success Express train bound for Joyville, Abundance, and Peace.


There you have it. Three simple steps to help avoid getting hit by the Stress Express while ensuring you enjoy a first class seat on the Success Express for daily travel. 


Acute or serious chronic stress may require help from an appropriate professional. But choosing to take charge of your daily stress challenges with Stop - Look - Listen and other techniques described in posts on this site - and in other authoritative sources - offer wonderful ways to help assure stress mastery becomes a healthy habit everyday.


Your Suggestions:


How do you ensure you stay on top of stress in your day-to-day life? Please add your voice to the conversation in the comments section below.


If you would like to contact me privately, please email me at CarterMethod@gmail.com.


Stephen Carter

Stress Solutions, LLC
CarterMethod@gmail.com
www.EFT-MD.com | www.EasyStressCures.com
804-677-6772

Important Note: This and all other postings to this blog are for informational purposes only. This and all other posts are not intended to diagnose, treat, or otherwise recommend any treatment for any medical or psychological condition. Anyone using any of the information contained in this or any other posting on this website does so at his or her own risk. You are urged to seek competent medical consultations with appropriate licensed medical professionals for any and all medical or physical conditions.

  


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Improve Brain Power With Channel Breathing


Nadi Shadhana Pranayama, also called Channel Clearing Breath (it goes by other names as well) originated as part of Yoga breathing practices. 

For our purposes here, the idea of Channel Clearing Breath - or Channel Breathing as we'll call it ongoing - is to either balance the brain hemispheres so that they are working optimally together or to enhance performance in one or the other hemispheres.

When we refer to right and left hemisphere functions in our discussion, we're referring to hemispheric processes for the vast majority of right handed and most - but not all - left handed people. Some left handed and a small percentage of ambidextrous people have hemispheric specializations switched. Regardless of handedness or hemispheric specializations, anyone can benefit by practicing this method.

Examples of Hemispheric Specializations:

As an example of hemispheric specialization, let's assume someone is preparing to fill out complicated forms, balance their bank statement, complete accounting entries, or otherwise engage in activities that use sequential, linear brain processing. While we usually use both hemispheres for all activities to some degree, the left hemisphere normally leads in activities requiring linear, sequential processing such as accounting functions, rational analysis, language, and so forth. 

Our right hemisphere tends to be holistic, spacial, emotional, and artistic. If we are engaged in activities involving creativity, calming emotional states such as anxiety, or nonverbal symbolic explorations, we can apply Channel Breathing to enhance processing in the right hemisphere.

For most activities throughout our day, we are well served with balanced, cooperative processing between the right and left hemispheres. 

How Channel Breathing is Done to Enhance Left Brain Activities:
  1. Close off left nostril with thumb or finger as you prepare to inhale
  2. Breathe in through right nostril only for about four to six seconds
  3. Hold breath for one or two seconds
  4. Open left nostril and close off right nostril with thumb or finger as you prepare to exhale
  5. Exhale though left nostril for four to six seconds
  6. Repeat for two to three minutes for maximum effectiveness. 
If time or circumstances don't allow Channel Breathing for two to three minutes, shorter periods - even a few seconds - are beneficial.

You're now ready to tackle those left hemisphere tasks with added energy and brain power.

How Channel Breathing is Done to Enhance Right Brain Activities:
  1. Close off right nostril with thumb or finger as you prepare to inhale
  2. Breathe in through left nostril only for about four to six seconds
  3. Hold breath for one to two seconds
  4. Open right nostril and close off left nostril with thumb or finger as you prepare to exhale
  5. Exhale through right nostril for four to six seconds
  6. Repeat for two to three minutes for maximum effectiveness. 
After completing Channel Breathing to enhance right brain processing, you're now ready to think more creatively, handle emotional challenges in a calmer fashion, and receive more intuitive insights.

How Channel Breathing is Done for Optimum Balance Between Hemispheres:
  1. Close off right nostril with thumb or finger as you prepare to inhale
  2. Breathe in through left nostril only for about four to six seconds
  3. Hold breath for one to two seconds
  4. Open right nostril and close off left nostril with thumb or finer as you prepare to exhale
  5. Exhale through right nostril for four to six seconds
  6. Keep left nostril closed off
  7. Breathe in through right nostril for four to six seconds
  8. Hold for one to two seconds
  9. Open left nostril and close off right nostril
  10. Exhale through left nostril for four to six seconds
  11. Repeat for two to three minutes for maximum effectiveness
As a reminder, if time or circumstances don't allow Channel Breathing for two to three minutes, shorter periods - even a few seconds - are beneficial.

Engaging in Balanced Channel Breathing two or three times a day will help keep your mind sharp, your body relaxed, and emotions dancing to the positive rhythms of life.

Stephen Carter

Stress Solutions, LLC
www.EFT-MD.com | www.EasyStressCures.com
804-677-6772

Important Note: This and all other postings to this blog are for informational purposes only. This and all other posts are not intended to diagnose, treat, or otherwise recommend any treatment for any medical or psychological condition. Anyone using any of the information contained in this or any other posting on this website does so at his or her own risk. You are urged to seek competent medical consultations with appropriate licensed medical professionals for any and all medical or physical conditions.