Managing Your Stress Is As Easy As ABC
Lately, I find myself talking to my patients a lot about stress and the physical and mental negative side effects that come with it. Many times, stress can manifest itself with a feeling of fatigue, poor sleep, general achiness, irritability, headaches, neck and back pain, and stomach aches.
Stress is also a contributing risk factor for a heart attack.(for a list of heart disease risk factors got to ohealthnow.com) Additionally, stress can be the root cause of cancer, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, and many other illnesses. So, learning to STRESS LESS not only optimizes your health and well being, but it can save your life!!!
Just the other day I saw a patient during follow up visit from the hospital, she had suffered a mild heart attack. I was baffled as to why. She had zero risk factors, except for one. Yup . you guessed it. Stress. She even admitted the cardiologist in the emergency room told her “you know, your heart attack was caused by stress!’
I encounter these and many other stories of how an illness, hospitalization, or life threatening disease can be traced back to the mismanagement of stress.
As a result, I have created a simple and practical way to STRESS LESS with the ABC’s of stress, Awareness Breath Care.
- A is for Awareness
- B is for Breath
- C is for Care
Awareness is the first step towards all healing. Awareness is defined as knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. In this first step all you have to do is acknowledge you are feeling stressed. Once you are connected to this awareness go to B… go to your breath.
Ah yes…breathing. Breathing is defined as an inhalation or exhalation of air from the lungs. In this step, focus on your breath. Notice the inhalation then the exhalation. Tune in to your breath and tune out of the stress. Placing your focus on your breath is one of the most effective and simplest ways to reset your emotional state and evoke a sense of peace and calm…no matter where you are. It also facilitates a present moment awareness. It allows you to BE HERE NOW. When you anchor your awareness to the present moment, you are not in the past and you are not in the future. This is present moment breathing. Now is the perfect time for C… Care.
Care as a verb is defined as to look after and provide for the needs of. In this final step, you do something to take care of yourself. In my practice, I often discover my patients are more susceptible to stress when there is a lack of self-care. Optimizing self-care places you in a state of stress prevention. Here is a list of my quick and simple self-care tips that can be done no matter where you are.
Take a sip! simply drink some water (go to my blog on the hydration habit at ohealthnow) or
savor a warm cup of herbal decaffeinated tea, like chamomile, passion flower, lemon balm, lavender, peppermint or ginger.
Inhale an essential oil like lavender, jasmine, lemon, ylang-ylang, or cedar wood. Just Inhale directly from the bottle or rub some on wrists or a scarf and take deep breaths.
Laugh! Laughter truly is the best medicine. For a quick laugh on the spot I recommend a comedy channel on Pandora, comedy podcast on Spotify, or funny You Tube clips.
Listen to sounds of relaxing music or ocean waves.
Take a Mindful Minute. I recommend you set up a reminder on your phone once an hour and label it Mindful Minute. Take sixty seconds to become aware of the present moment tune into your breath and feel grateful for all the blessings in your life.
Look at photos of loved ones, happy memories, or beautiful nature scenes.
There you go. The ABC’s of managing stress.
To life, love, and your Ohealth,