Ask anyone you know right now, young or old, how they are feeling and more than likely one of the words they will use to describe their feelings is STRESSED! 2020 pushed even the most laid back of us into cortisol overload and has us in a perpetual state of fight, flight or freeze. Interestingly, stress is actually a necessary response to fear, real or perceived, in order for survival, but too much of it is detrimental to our overall well being.
So what happens in your body when you're stressed? A small part of your brain, the Amygdala ( I call it the security guard for young kids) begins to work overtime, sending out messages to your bodies systems, telling them to prepare for action. Hormones like Cortisol and Adrenaline begin to release. Your heart beats faster, your breath becomes more shallow and rapid, your temperature may rise and your muscles become ready for action. If you were being chased by a bear, this would be good, right? However, all of this activity causes signals not to move to the part of your brain where rational thoughts and decision making take place, the Prefrontal Cortex (Wise Leader, for younger kids). We also know from research that over production of Cortisol for extended periods of time can result in obesity, high blood sugar and the inability to fight infection. In order to evoke rational thinking , we must quiet the Amygdala.
So, you might be thinking, how do we do that? We do that by cultivating moments of mindfulness into our day. Here are five simple things that you can use immediately:
Registered Yoga Teacher, Menopause Doula, health and wellness explorer, self care expert focused on empowering women over forty with tools for loving the midlife journey