Stress and Sleep – Part 2

Stress is an unavoidable and, to a large degree, a potentially positive force in our lives. Like all forces, the art lies in learning to manage the force to our advantage rather than to allow ourselves to be its passive victim. Or as Obewon Kanobe would say, “May the Force be with you.”

In the business context, stress is what you undergo when your body is switched into “fight or flight” mode. The causes of stress can be internal (imaginary) or external (“real”).

As with visualization, it matters little to your mind which category the trigger falls into – if it’s vividly imagined, its “real” to your mind!

Controlling Stress:

You have the choice of managing stress “on the way in”, or “on the way out”.

On the Way In: The only successful method of being preemptive in controlling stress, is to have a positive outlook – a positive philosophy or understanding of how the world works, and what your place is in the scheme of things.

It is never important what happens to you, but how you interpret and understand it. Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude, and develop a meaningful philosophy.

For example, if you were to view Life as “a challenging learning process, which carries a guarantee that you will never be challenged beyond your means” you might find that you welcome change, and look about within your own resources for the means that you know must be there to meet it.

Sounds like a winner to me.

Always see yourself as winning!

On the Way Out: Your body’s normal reaction to Stress is an extreme one. In physiological terms, it consists, among other things, of the injection of a number of natural chemical stimulants into your bloodstream. These substances are mildly toxic; their by-products are even more so. Your body is designed to flush them during the severe physical activity that they are intended to induce.

Since our current society induces stress, but does not sanction violent physical responses, you need find an opportunity to allow your body to go through the process of purging the stress by-products.

You can do this in two ways:
1. Actively: Through gross impact exercises, which mimic the “fight or flight” reaction and flush the system of stress toxins: Racquet Ball, Squash, Weightlifting, Aerobics, Swimming, Power Walking all assist the body in processing – and neutralizing the toxic by-products of stress.

2. Passively: There are a range of techniques you can learn that will effectively “process” stress out of your system, including:

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation techniques in which you learn to guide yourself into a deeply relaxed state. These can be learned using physical and mental disciplines (i.e. yoga) or by employing biofeedback mechanisms which enable you to gain greater control over what were previously assumed to be autonomic processes (heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, etc).
  • Restorative Therapies: These include Hydrotherapy (warm, moving water induces relaxation in muscles, with a subsequent relaxation of the mind); Sauna (induces increased blood flow and autonomic relaxation); Massage (induces relaxation, can release body-retained stresses).
  • Autogenic Training such as self-induced deep relaxation or true Meditation (at 7-14 brain cycles per second) for around 20 minutes a day. Deep prayer also comes into this category. Each of these types of technique enables you to put your body into a unique state which enables it to “backwash” its system, and process stress toxicity as well as carrying out a number of other processes in which the brain integrates recent stressful events into its system of understanding, values and knowledge (in much the same way we do when dreaming).

Well, there you have it. Some positive approaches to handle stress and sleep.

To your better health and a brighter future!

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© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

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