Having just recovered from a severe bout of flu, I am full testament to the fact that sometimes we just push ourselves too hard. It’s easy for people to look at you from the outside in and argue that there is no stress in your life, or that everything seems smooth and easy. But the mind is a quagmire of possibilities, difficulties, and a constant analytical process of who said what and why and intentions. Essentially, sometimes apparently minor issues take up a lot of thinking time.
Women are analytical creatures. It’s been said that we overthink things, and this may be why the manual on how to “drive” this being is still to be published. Every incident, every situation is broken down to smaller morsels and then digested, (usually slowly) by the mind. Without a trusted, equally analytical female sounding board the process becomes more laborious and eventually this rumination is what does us in. When the mind is full (or overfull) of thoughts, preoccupation, incomplete analyses and various worries over either opportunities or threats of varying dosages, the body starts to grind to a halt. Women typically are multi-taskers and so we push ourselves to just keep swimming, and just keep ticking. Whereas a man has an ability to “park” an issue, women’s issues just tend to turn and turn and turn in the mind and eventually the body. Result – the immune system doesn’t get the attention it deserves, bad eating habits creep in and together these wreak havoc on the body’s immune system. Throw in a pinch of adrenaline too much and a few sleepless (or poorly slept) nights, and your body will stop you, quite literally.
I believe that it is for this reason that the saying “it’s all in the mind” couldn’t be more true. An uncluttered mind leads to an uncluttered life and an uncluttered avenue to good health. But clutter accumulates.
If you’re finding that the stress has been piling up, do a little self-diagnosis, a little self-healing, a little de-cluttering with your bestie wether she’s 90 or 19. Then let it go. Ah, that final step! “let it go” seems so simple, doesn’t it? Here are a few techniques for letting go, which have helped me and others.
- Start with watching your breathing, slowing it down at various intervals, consciously, ensuring that you inhale and exhale completely before taking the next breath. (Stress leads to shallow breathing)
- Identify an escape route – a hobby, an avenue for emotional “unpacking” (respectfully to your bestie of course), your favourite soothing sounds, a walk on the beach, whatever works for you
- Identify a physical activity that will help you release pent up stress. It could be walking, exercise, dancing or any combination of these
- Laugh! Whether its through comedy, books or jokes, laughter really is excellent medicine
- Keep an eye on the diet; avoid acidic foods, processed foods and preservatives (fizzy drinks should be shelves)
- If need be, get yourself some adrenal boost vitamins; ginseng, gotu kola, or an all-in-one Adrenal boost multivitamin can work well in a relatively short period of time. (More on adrenal fatigue in another post)
- End with breathing, just as you started. Notice when you are hunching, when you are taking short breaths, etc. Not only will it help you to relax, but shifting focus will help you to step away from those wireworks of mental gymnastics long enough to give you a brea
They say that problems are inevitable but suffering is optional – I prefer to think that emotional and mental exhaustion may be inevitable, (particularly when we concern ourselves with not just ourselves but others) but healing is an ever-present opportunity.