Holiday times are notorious for stress and depression. There are so many factors that go into this epidemic problem. Oftentimes these feelings begin around Halloween as all the stores start filling their shelves with Christmas decorations, ads abound everywhere and holiday music playing on every station. People begin to feel the pressure, time constraints, financial concerns, family tension, being alone and the list goes on. Couple this with high expectations for this time of year, and it places even more pressure on us and increases the likelihood we may end up disappointed.
The most common signs of stress may include feeling impatient, worried, cranky, sad even to the point of depression. And not only that but some people can experience basic function problems like sleep or appetite disturbances, or other physical complaints such as muscle tension, headache, fatigue, or stomach aches. Children are not immune to this stress. As the parents go so often the kids go as well so they can feel the sense of urgency too!
There is hope! There are a number of methods that you can utilize to avert, minimize and remove the stress. Breathing, meditation, movement and a normailly functioning nervous system are all ways we can better manage the stress reaction. Most are fairly simple and cost you nothing but the effort. All you need to do is actually do them!
Breathing is the best start. Unfortunately, breathing is a lost art. If you have a chance to watch babies breath you would see that they breath with their bellies, rising and lowering with hardly a movement in their chests. Now look at yourself breath and you'll see quite the contrary as your chest does most of the work while your belly lies dormant. The secret to using breath as a powerful stress buster and relaxer in general is to get back to our baby roots and belly breath!
Sit in a chair, good posture-not rigid and not slouching, eyes open or closed, begin with a slow deep inhalation by pushing (pulling) your belly out, put your mind in the action, focus on the belly, deep full breath, then relax pulling (pushing) the belly back in to push the air out of your lungs in exhalation and repeat. Start with doing this type of breathing for one minute and each day increase it incrementally until you can comforably breath like this for 15 minutes. You will find much of the stress melts away as the breathing helps change your internal chemistry.
The beauty of this is that once you reach the 15 minute mark, when times of stress hit you, you can do a fast 3-5 minute breathing session that will produce the same calming, relaxing chemistry!!
There is hope always! Just start! And get your nervous system checked today!
Dr Andy Roberts