Most of us are incredibly busy, some what overwhelmed or juggling to keep everything afloat in our personal and professional lives. Life is full, rich, and more dynamic then ever.
These past few weeks, whether it’s the change of seasons or the interesting and intense astrology we have been experiencing, I have noticed day-to-day stress and overwhelm seem to have gotten more intense than usual.
My clients are showing up more frazzled, my friends are more overwhelmed, busy, and out of balance, and I feel like we rarely get a break from the challenges of day-to-day.
There is more runaway stress than usual.
I, like most of us, oscillate on the stress spectrum regularly - parenting 2 teenagers, running my business and intending to fit in enough personal and self care time.
My biggest lesson from my times of intense stress and overwhelm have helped me to realize that the only thing I really have control over is my response to the stress, and how well I take care of myself in the face of a colorful, emotionally rich life.
In the midst the stressful storms, I realize I spend A LOT of time working on creating my personal strategies for SERENITY.
I am so deeply committed to keeping my CALM that on some days; it is all I can focus on.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within it..
So, in the name of finding our SERENITY SECRETS collectively, so we can live into the most balanced version of ourselves, I put together my favorite STRESS REDUCING, SERENITY INDUCING practices and tips for you to check out.
Your hormones will be happier (for sure), your eating will improve (hallelujah), and you will sleep more deeply (thank Goddess).
My favorite strategies to do (and not to do) to source my serenity.
As I mentioned, there is not always much we can do about a stressful situation. The only thing we can control is our reaction to it. My favorite equation, courtesy of Jack Canfield – author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, goes like this:
Event + Response = Outcome
Most of us spend a lot of time trying to change the stressful events in our lives. This often leaves leads us in a futile effort that is not so effective.
Where we really have the power in our RESPONSE. The reason I consider this a mindfulness practice, is because to change our response takes awareness, intention, and discernment.
What you eat has a big impact on your serenity success. First, food supplies many of the precursors and building blocks to both our hormones and our neurotransmitters. Second, the state of our GUT (our second brain) has an even bigger impact on our mood, and serentiy.
Yes, if we eat stress-reducing foods, those precursors will boost stress reducing hormones and neurotransmitters, or vice versa. AND… our stomachs will also be happier – literally – because 90% of our serotonin is made in our digestive tract.
My favorite stress-reducing foods are:
Dark Chocolate – In one study, dark chocolate was shown to reduce cortisol levels in women
Avocado – Full of good fats, and known to regulate your blood sugar and your mood – keeping stress down!
Root Veggies – In food energetics, foods that grow down in to the earth, bring us down into the earth as well. This is good when it comes to stress. Downward energy is the opposite of being stuck “in our heads”, thinking too much, and especially, worrying too much.
Wild Salmon – full of omega 3 essential fatty acids, and you will find that eating a regular serving of wild salmon improves your mood, and decreases anxiety by up to 20% (Brain Behavior and Immunity)
Fermented Foods – As I mentioned, your GUT is your second brain. When you fill up on good probiotic rich fermented foods, you boost your serotonin producing gut flora, transmitting good stress and behavior regulating signals to the brain via the vagus nerve.
BEWARE of these food tricksters:
Sugar – Sugar depletes the good feeling minerals in your brain such as the natural mineral, lithium. Sugar also messes up your blood sugar levels making any anxious feelings much worse.
Stimulants – Stimulants are known to directly communicate with your adrenal glands to and boost up anxiety producing hormones to0 much, creating higher cortisol levels and more sensitive blood sugar over all. Be careful when you are going through a stressful period to keep your coffee intake down to 1 cup or less per day.
Many supplements will boost up your calming neurotransmitters and simply make your RESPONSE (see #1) easier to manage. Here are my favorites.
Omega 3’s – Omega 3 oils offer the most potent dosage of stress reducing oils to the body. Women who take up to 4000 mg per day have been shown to lower cortisol levels and increase lean body mass, and feel more calm and serene.
Lithium Oritate – Lithium, in its natural form, boosts up oxytocin (our feel good hormone) in the brain, calming anxiety and stress. You can take the natural trace mineral supplement (without worrying about any of the side affects of the medication form). This is the salt, a trace mineral, and totally natural.
Vitamin C – high doses of C, up to 3000 mg/ day are shown to lower cortisol levels.
Phosphotidal Serine – PS is known to lower stress-related rises in cortisol.
Seriously… Have an orgasm. When our bodies release the hormone oxytocin, (released during orgasm and other pleasurable activities) we CANNOT experience stress, the two cannot co-exist.
Oxytocin cancels out stress.
The lingering stress causing issue may still be there when the oxytocin wares off, but you will be feeling better, more calm, and better able to manage the situation.
I find that certain essential oils really help calm my nervous system, allow me to sleep better, and treat chronic stress and high cortisol levels.
Lavender – I put this in my bath or diffuse in my room before bed.
Vetiver – I put vetiver on my feet to promote a good night sleep.
Ylang Ylang – Ylang Ylang helps to release negative emotions like irritability and anger.
Chamomile – Used often as an herbal tea, the essential oil is similar in its effectiveness but a little stronger. Use for calming and relaxing effects.
Find your HAPPY PLACE
Do you have a place you go when you just need to CHILL? It is time to consider creating your very own HAPPY place just for that. Whether it is your favorite trail, coffee shop, spot near the creek or ocean, or even your car, find and use your HAPPY place for time to sit, release stress, breath, and reset.
Next time you find yourself there (on purpose or by accident) take some time to savor a stress free moment and soak up your serenity.
Yoga is known for calming qualities, the connection of breath and body, and the interesting postures that address different imbalances in the body. My favorite stress reducing posture is called Viparita Karani, or feet up the wall pose (see picture below).
This pose has SOOOO many benefits and they can be achieved in just few minutes holding this restorative pose.
- Your adrenals will love you - they get a chance to rest, restore, and they love the inversion factor of this pose.
- Your blood pressure will drop (sweet!)
- You will feel a sense of calm wash over you that creates serenity from the inside out.
- Anxious feelings will diminish
- Cortisol (your stress hormone) will decrease in the body.
(no need to worry if you don’t have a bolster for under your back, you can just lay flat.)
Get comfy, cozy and settled up to the wall, and enjoy.