As you proceed through your stressful day you may find your mind wandering, or have difficulty focusing in general. That may be because stress causes the non-dominant side of your brain to shut down 70% of its functioning. Say you are left brained (logical and unemotional), when stressed you loose 70% of your creativity that comes predominantly from your right brain. Likewise a stressed right-brained creative person will find it more difficult to tend to the details, and think logically. Neither one of these scenarios is desirable, and none of us need out brains to shut down.
So, is the answer to grab a Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy drink? I think not. That will only cause further stress, adrenal exhaustion and carbohydrate cravings. Read that as fat around the belly. Instead I recommend the following stress reducing, energy balancing and brain integration techniques.
- Meridian Tracing. By tracing the Central and Governing meridians—Chinese Medicine subtle energy channels—you spark the flow of energy that enables you to feel centered (Central) and empowered (Governing). While standing, touch your pubis bone and trace up lightly (outside your clothing) to just below your bottom lip, touch there. That is the Central meridian, repeat 3 times. Then trace the Governing meridian by touching your tailbone and tracing up your spine, (shifting your hand as if you were zipping up a dress), so you can continue up the back of your head and over the top to just above your upper lip and touch there. Repeat 3 times. Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.
- Massaging the K27 acupuncture points. Stimulating these Kidney points helps release endorphins to relieve pain, and encourage deep breathing to reduce stress. It is considered a master acupuncture point for balancing the health and functioning of the body. Locate the points just under the collarbones, and rub in a circular motion. You should feel a slight indentation and possible soreness. Rub with enough pressure to work through the soreness while breathing deeply for one minute. Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.
- Ear Rub. By rubbing the fold and lobe of the ears you stimulate acupuncture points that relate to areas all over the body. While reducing stress with this relaxing technique, you are also clearing blocks in your energy flow to help you focus during the day, or relax at the end of it. Starting at the tops of the ears (where they connect to the head), gently rub along the inside of the fold of the ear all the way to the lobe and finish with a gentle tug on the earlobe. Repeat this 3 times. Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.
- Cross Crawl. This simple movement pattern stimulates the corpus callosum in the brain, which connects the right and left hemispheres, allowing them to communicate, and the brain to work as an integrated whole. Standing with both arms raised overhead, bring the left knee up and the right hand or elbow down until they touch, replace the left foot back to the floor and the right hand overhead. Repeat with the right knee and left hand or elbow. Continue this movement for one minute. This is great to do anytime during the day when you feel stressed, depressed, angry, mentally fuzzy, or just need to stand up from your desk and “move”.
- 4 Square breathing. Deep breathing into the belly shifts you out of the “stress” sympathetic nervous system and into the “rest” parasympathetic nervous system, which brings immediate relief from stress. Close your eyes and mouth. Breath in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Repeat 4 times. Do this as often as needed throughout the day. It will also help with insomnia.
These five techniques are great to do in the morning upon arising to get you going for the day, during the workday around the “afternoon low” to clear your head and help you focus, and at night before bed to relax and de-stress you for sound sleep. Give them a try, your brain and nervous system will thank you…as will your co-workers and spouse.
Nina Lynn is a Holistic Nutritionist, Wellness and Empowerment Coach. She offers a FREE 15-minute consult for all those interested in her services. You can find out more about her services at her wonderful website at this link or email her at this link.