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 12 Steps To Take Immediately When Stressed:

                       By Dr. Ashraf Girgis ND                July 01 2014

There are times that you can handle stress better than others. There are also things you can do in general to increase your ability to handle stress. However, we all have those days where nothing is going right. From traffic, to stress at home, to colleagues at work, sometimes there’s just too much going on at once. You can do some things right away to immediately alleviate and dissipate the anger and frustration as a result of the stress. Here I have compiled twelve ways to alleviate your stress. If you do not have time to do all twelve, that’s okay. But try to do as many as possible.

 

1)   Take a few deep breaths.

 

 

 

 

Breathing deep brings more oxygen to our body and increases the flow of oxygen to our brain. The more there is oxygen reaching our brain, the clearer our thinking process is and the more relaxed we become. During stress, the sympathetic nervous system takes over and controls our body. This causes rapid and shallow breathing, also called hyperventilation. One can easily fix this by deep abdominal breathing.  

During stress we have a tendency to breath shallow and more rapidly causing what is known as hyperventilation. The hyperventilation cause carbon dioxide level fall below normal level, resulting in trembling and a choking feeling, which further exacerbates the situation and causes more anxiety and panic. Therefore, it is very important that any time we feel stressed, noticing our breathing and try to take a few slow deep breath.

Dr. Andrew Weil, MD has a developed a technique of 4-7-8 breathing that seems to be effective if performed daily. I have suggested this to many of my clients. His technique is explained in his CD, Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing. Otherwise, I suggest you try to sit straight and take a deep breath, filling your lungs with air. Hold it for a few seconds, than exhale slowly and gently. It is more effective when you use your imagination. While you are taking a deep breath, imagine a nice steam entering your body and filling every single cell, from your head to your toes. Imagine it washing the anxiety and stress out, and replacing it with a feeling of being relaxed.

 

 

2)   Give yourself a positive pep talk.

 

 

 

 

It is interesting to know that your body responds to what you tell yourself. The more you repeat, “I am so angry,” the more you become angry.

Therefore, try to make your self-talk positive, but realistic.

 

 

 

 

 Self-talk combined with visualization is especially powerful. To see how imaginations combine with self-talks affects you, imagine you have a nice, round, yellow lemon. Hold it and smell it. Then, put it on the table, take a knife, and cut it in half. Take a slice of it and put it in your mouth. You can see that you immediately start salivating. So, remember imagination combine with self-talk it is a great tool to use it when needed.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a French pharmacist Émile Coué who encouraged his patients to repeat to themselves, “Every day in every way I feel better and better”. He encourage them to repeat it as often as possible some times 20 times a day. His patients reported doing much better. Coué believed if we are preoccupied by some idea in our head, the idea will soon become a reality.  In many cases I have used similar approaches with my clients and have seen a very positive results. When we say, “I feel calm and collected,” our body listens to us and respond. Even better, try to say it loudly. “I feel good and able to handle my stress much better!” I am not suggesting we ignore our real feelings and lie to ourselves; this would not be healthy. Acknowledge the truth. After we have acknowledged the truth, only then can we say, “I am working to improve the situation. But at this very moment I need to leave it aside, and get back to it later”. Even make an appointment with yourself to go back to the issue and examine it; try to solve it or come to some conclusion as soon as possible. Acknowledge the fact that you are angry and upset, but in spite of it, say “I am feeling better,” and  “I can handle it”.

       

                                                     

 

3)   Exercise.

 

 

 

The body sees any stressful situation as a physical danger, and therefore gets ready to physically combat the predators or run away from them. A lot of catecholamine is released in this process. If not spent, these catecholamines can harm your systems and lead to many diseases, including cancer and heart diseases. If time does allows you to go for a fast walk, go and burn all the catecholamine in your system. You can do it. Go for it. Run if you can, or do any vigorous exercise to get rid of the toxins. Even five to ten minutes is enough to get your calm back. If you want, you can even dance! Close the door and do some vigorous dancing and shaking. Loosen up your muscles.

 

 

 

 4)   Call a friend or family member and talk about your issue.

 

Make sure you can talk comfortably without any censorship. You need to have a friend that you can call when you are upset, but make sure that you do not call them only when you are upset. That is basically conveying the message that he or she is being used. This, in long run, it is not beneficial. It might create resentment and hurt your friend’s feelings because they’re being used as your therapist.

 

 

5)   Turn on the music.

     Music can act like a memory book. When we listen to certain music at certain times, without knowing it we connect that particular song to the time we were listening to it. For example, I remember I was listening to some pop music on the radio when I had my daughter’s friends in the car. They would sing with it, and dance in the car. Since then, whenever I listen to that music I feel as though I am sitting with them in the car. So, if you have some music that would bring back good memories, listen to it; believe me, it makes you feel refreshed and much better.

 

 

 

 

6)   Organize your closet!

     Yes, organize your closet (or if you are at work, you can organize your desk, or even your purse). For some reason, your brain connects these actions with having control over your life, and it immediately make you feel calmer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 7)   Write down what made you stressed or angry.

Your brain perceives it as an unloading of your worries; the stress is out of your system, and therefore, you feel calmer.

 

 

 

 

 

8)   Have time alone.

Close your office door or your room door and have few minutes by yourself. You can write things down, listen to your favorite music, or do nothing; just staying alone for a few minutes can help you regroup and feel better, especially if you have already taken few deep breaths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9)   Make yourself an herbal tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 Use chamomile and lavender. Chamomile is good for relaxing, but it can also help you sleep. One small spoon of chamomile mixed with lavender, green tea, or by itself, will calm your nerves. Because green tea has a little caffeine in it, you won’t get too sleepy. My suggestion is to stay away from any caffeine, as caffeine is a stressor. However, green tea is a great antioxidant and has many benefits. So make a cup of herbal tea and enjoy your calm and relaxed moment.

 

 

10)           Be mindful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Being mindful is a great tool that can be used in any situation. Many scientists have studied mindfulness, and its benefits are numerous. When you direct your focus to the present moment, try doing so by using all your senses. Stress, pain, and anger seem to dissipate quickly. It is very difficult to be mindful when you are stressed and upset, as your mind seems to jump from one issue to another (this is called the “monkey mind” because of its jittery nature). However, trying to redirect your attention to the task at hand by observing the moment is very helpful.

I like Dr. Daniel Siegel’s acronym (a COAL state of mind):

Bringing Curiosity,

               Openness,

               Acceptance, and

               Love to the present moment.

    

 

     In ancient Iran, many Sufi Muslim scholars, poets, and scientists have emphasized on mindfulness and living in the present time. For example,  Hafez-e Shirazi( Persian 1325–1389), was a poet who spoke of mindfulness and living for the moment. The similar beliefs are held among Buddhists and Yogis and some other traditions.

 

11)        Massage.

 

 

 

 

 

The impact of massage—an ancient tradition for thousands of years—on the reduction of stress cannot be over-emphasized. In one study, 11 individuals peddled vigorously for 70 minutes. Participants received a massage on one leg for 10 minutes. The other leg was rested. Muscle biopsies were collected on both legs. A detailed analysis of the biopsies indicated reduced inflammation and increased mitochondria production in the massaged leg. The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. “I didn’t think that little bit of massage could produce that remarkable of a change,” said Justin Crane, a Master doctoral student who led the study.

There are many studies that show a direct relationship between massage and stress reduction. So, feel free to use massage chairs or a licensed practitioner for a good massage to get rid of the stress induced toxins in your body. Even taking your shoes off and massaging your feet, or giving yourself a shoulder massage during stressful situations, will immediately reduce your stress levels.

 

 

12)          Smell a few drops of aromatherapy oil.

 

 

 

 

 

Distilled essential oils have been used ever since the Persian scientist Avicenna invented distillation. Rose water and lavender have been used as Aromatherapy in ancient Iran for many years. Currently, science proves the impact of aroma on the improvement of mood. Herbs beneficial for use in aromatherapy in reducing stress are:

  • ·      Valerian
  • ·      Neroli (orange blossom)
  • ·      Clary sage
  • ·      Roman chamomile
  • ·      Marjoram
  • ·      Ylang ylang
  • ·      Sandalwood

If you continue to feel stressed, feel free to call Dr. Ashraf Girgis at (616)-777-0608 to make an appointment.

Thanks for visiting www.curenaturally.org.

 

References:


 

"AOL Search." Hafiz Poetry. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2014.

 

"Aromatherapy." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 May 2014. Web. 01 June 2014.

"Chronic Heart Failure." PubMed Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 1 June 2014.

 Girgis, Ashraf. 6 Steps to Tame The Dragon of Stress Within. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web. 1 June 2014 

"How to Reduce Stress and Improve Your Life with Positive Self Talk." About.com Stress Management. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2014.

"Menu  ." Does Brain Music Therapy Really Work? The Science of Brain Music. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2014.

Ullman, Michelle. "Aromatherapy for Insomnia." About.com Bedroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2014.

Weil, Andrew. "Spirit & Inspiration." The Art and Science of Breathing. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2014.

 

Sleep deprivation                  by Dr. Ashraf Girgis ND

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep deprivation and stress are closely intertwined; those who sleep poorly have a higher stress level, and stress in turn causes sleep deprivation.

 

Sleep deprivation also affects our alertness and sharpness of mind. The REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep is crucial to remembering the day’s events. Lack of sleep or even interrupted sleep can deteriorate our memory. In addition, dealing with memory loss often worsens existing sleep patterns by increasing our stress level.

 

Other effects of sleep deprivation include:

 

                                                                                                            

·    

 

 

 

· High blood pressure

 Diabetes

· Stroke

 Heart attack

Irregular- Heart beats

 Stress

 Anxiety

 Decrease energy level and Libido

 Age skin and add fine lines and wrinkles (6)

Weight gain (7)

 There are many more diseases related to sleep, but what are contributing factors to sleep deprivation?

 Some causes of sleep deprivation are (8):

 

·       Sleep apnea

·       Pain, such as arthritis

·       High Blood Pressure

·       Hypoglycemia,

·       Hyperthyroidism

·       Parkinson's disease

·       Heart diseases and hypertension

·       Restless leg syndrome 

·       Sedentary lifestyle

·       Medications

·       Stimulants like cigarettes, coffee, tea, marijuana, or chocolate

·       Alcohol

·       Environmental Changes

·       Emotional Problems (stress, depression, anxiety)

·       Vitamin deficiency

·       Asthma   

 Poor sleeping habits have a large impact on our daily lives. Lack of sleep reduces one’s attentiveness and decision making ability; as a result, those without sufficient sleep have the potential to cause serious accidents.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, these traits make sleep deprivation a prevalent hazard on the road. Extreme drowsiness can slow one’s reaction time as much as drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and at least partially responsible for 1,550 crash-related deaths a year. Exhausted drivers are most common among drivers younger than 25.(5).

 

Sleep deprivation on the road is not unique to the United States, either. The UK Department of Transportation determined that at least 10% of accidents on UK roads are also due to fatigue. Often at higher speeds than normal crashes, collisions while the driver is asleep are often fatal or very serious. About half of these crashes are work-related. Sadly, about 10 people a week die on the road due to driver tiredness. (4)

 Sleep deprivation was a factor in some of the biggest disasters in recent history. The Three Mile Island accident, the Chernobyl disaster, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill are only some well-known catastrophes caused by weariness.

 

Here are 7 steps to improve your sleep by Mayo Clinic, if you continue to have problem sleeping, call Cure Naturally LLC to make an appointment to get a consultation with Dr. Girgis to find out how you can improve your sleep.

Tel: 616-777-0608

www.curenaturally.org 

 

·        Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep

 

You're not doomed to toss and turn every night. Consider simple tips for better sleep, from setting a sleep schedule to including physical activity in your daily routine. By Mayo Clinic Staff

 

Feeling crabby lately? Or simply worn out? Perhaps the solution is better sleep.

 

Think about all the factors that can interfere with a good night's sleep — from pressure at work and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges, such as layoffs, relationship issues or illnesses. It's no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes elusive.

 

Although you might not be able to control all of the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep. Start with these simple sleep tips.

 

No. 1: Stick to a sleep schedule

 

  

 

 

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There's a caveat, though. If you don't fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you're tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.

 

No. 2: Pay attention to what you eat and drink

 

  

 

 Don't go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.

 

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine — which take hours to wear off — can wreak havoc with quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.

 

No. 3: Create a bedtime ritual

 

 

 

Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed. Relaxing activities can promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness.

 

Be wary of using the TV or other electronic devices

 as part of your bedtime ritual. Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.

 

No. 4: Get comfortable

 

 

 

 Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there's enough room for two. If you have children or pets, set limits on how often they sleep with you — or insist on separate sleeping quarters.

 

 

No. 5: Limit daytime naps

 

 

 

Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep — especially if you're struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the midafternoon.

If you work nights, you'll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. In this case, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight — which adjusts your internal clock — doesn't interrupt your daytime sleep.

 

 

No. 6: Include physical activity in your daily routine

 

 

 

 

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.

 

No. 7: Manage stress

 

 

 

When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace to your life, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Share a good laugh with an old friend. Before bed, jot down what's on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.

 

 

Thanks for visiting www.curenaturally.org. if you continue to have problem sleeping, call Cure Naturally LLC to make an appointment and to get a consultation with Dr. Girgis to find out how you can improve your sleep.

Tel: 616-777-0608

www.curenaturally.org 

 

 References:

 

1)   http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1690

2)   http://www.roadsafetyawards.com/national/view

3)   http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss

4)    http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-performance-and-public-safety

5)   http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss?page=2

8)   Six steps toward managing your stress by Dr. Ashraf Sadeghi-Girgis Published Jan 2014 available at CureNaurally.org

 

 

 

 

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