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5 Natural ways to reduce stress and pain

Natural way to reduce stress and pain
5 Natural ways to ease stress and reduce pain

Clients often ask me how they can reduce the pain and tension they experience between treatments. Most of the discomfort we feel comes from stress and tension held in the body, so when we learn body-mind practices that can help us lower the daily stress hormones, we can apply them to balance the mind and body and bring relief.

Understanding this link between stress and pain is important to understand how stress and pain affect your body. Both elevate your heart rate and blood pressure. Both increase your breathing rate, and both cause your muscles to tighten.

When you are constantly stressed, your body stays on this alert status. Your muscles will most likely remain in a state of tension, and your blood pressure could remain high, which takes a toll on your body.

Up your self-care with these simple lifestyle tips that will help to reduce stress and bring pain relief …

Eat the rainbow

Good gut health helps to decrease inflammation and, therefore, pain.

Different coloured foods bring different vitamins and minerals and a wider range of microbes for your gut microbiome. These are the mini organisms that help protect us from germs, break down our food and help us produce vitamins.

Eating plenty of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables has wide-ranging health benefits. Each plant food contains many phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that work to improve our health.

  • Red - anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, keeps our heart healthy, and is good for memory!

  • Orange and yellow - decrease inflammation in the body and keep our immune system strong and our skin healthy.

  • Green - anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Protect our eyes and also contains Folic Acid, an important nutrient for having healthy babies. It keeps our bones, teeth and nails strong and also prevents blood clots!

  • Blue and purple help us age gracefully by improving our memory and keeping our skin looking young, reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease.

  • White or tan lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and keeps our bones strong and healthy.

Remembering to eat the rainbow every day is a great and simple way to ensure you're getting various nutrients into your diet. Fruits and vegetables of different colours confer various health benefits. By eating a few coloured fruits or vegetables at each meal, you're setting yourself up for good health. To try eating the rainbow, work toward adding at least two or three coloured fruits or vegetables to each meal and at least one or two to each snack.

Get Zen

Yoga and Qigong are amazing ways to keep fit and benefit your mindset. Studies have shown that these activities can help people reduce stress, improve posture, balance and mobility, and increase muscle strength in the legs. One of the biggest challenges of a busy week can be yourself, so taking time to relax and wind down from the day can have amazing mental and physical benefits.

Whether you've got a bad neck because you're stressed or because you work on a computer, yoga makes us aware of our bad posture.

Yoga poses can help us gently stretch muscles to release the tension that causes neck pain and improve our range of motion. Practised consciously, these slow movements on the breath can also calm the nervous system.

On the physical level, Qigong employs soft flowing bodyweight movements designed to stimulate the acupuncture meridians and the associated organs. The movements are designed to move blood and oxygen throughout the body, easing tension and friction in the muscles, joints, and connective tissue.

Qigong is quite literally "Moving Meditation". As with all meditation practices, Qigong has an incredibly calming effect on the central nervous system. As the mind, breath, and body are connected to the moment, the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, bringing down those stress levels and reducing stress hormones in the body. The brain then releases all sorts of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine.

Meditate often

Meditation has numerous benefits for our health and wellbeing. Every second we are focused on the breath, we are not producing stress hormones. The fewer stress hormones we make, the less inflammation there is in the body, and the less we experience the adverse effects of stress. Over time, this practice can rewire our brains, helping us feel more in control, less stressed and less anxious.

Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and stressful conditions can elevate it. Some research suggests that incorporating meditation into your routine could be beneficial for controlling pain.

Studies have shown that meditators and non-meditators experienced the same causes of pain. But meditators showed a greater ability to cope with pain and even experienced a reduced sensation of pain.

Show Gratitude

It's been proven that gratitude can improve our wellbeing - with studies showing that grateful people report feeling healthier, sleeping better and enjoying improved self-esteem. We tend to focus on what we want rather than appreciate what we have, and the simple act of savouring the small joys of daily life can change our minds to one of positivity. Gratitude is a de-stressor because of the hormones associated with helping us to feel safe.

Researchers asked more than 200 participants with chronic pain about a number of health issues, including depression symptoms and sleep issues. They noticed a pattern in the data. People who expressed gratitude had a better quality night's sleep. These participants also felt happier, experiencing fewer depression and anxiety symptoms.

Even their bodies were physically affected. They reported less inflammation and fatigue, which made them less susceptible to heart failure.

Get Enough Sleep

A good night's sleep can do wonders for reducing stress and pain. Being well-rested helps you start your day off right and puts you in the right mindset for tackling the day ahead. Getting too few hours of sleep, on the other hand, can leave you feeling irritable, moody, and tired. A lack of sleep can even be a cause of stress itself.

Pain is a leading cause of insomnia—creating difficulty with falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Inadequate sleep can also make your back pain worse. This vicious cycle makes it more difficult for you to get deep and restorative sleep.

Getting enough restorative sleep is needed for the body's tissues to heal and recharge your energy levels. To promote healthy sleep, establish daily routines to help signal your brain that it is time to go to bed and sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, it is important to address pain or other factors causing it.

Check out my sleep well, live well series for plenty of hints, tips, meditations and routines to help you drift off and sleep better.

"Stress and confusion come from being busy. Peace and clarity come from slowing down and stilling your waters". Maxime Lagacé

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