Jo Kirkpatrick from Paradigm Switch is a meditation, yoga and pilates teacher who specialises in lowering stress levels. Here she guest writes for Bondi Beauty.
Q: What is happening when we get stressed out at work?
“If you have a particularly stressful moment in the work place such as meeting a deadline, a difficult phone call or any type of conflict, the chances are your body is releasing a large amount of adrenalin.
Adrenalin is only meant to be released into the body as short term response to a stress situation, however the lifestyles that we currently lead, especially at work, mean that we are producing constant adrenalin into our systems which can lead to adrenal system overload and adrenal fatigue.
A way to control this is through our parasympathetic nervous system. By keeping it in good working order this system supports us to stay calm, relaxed while taking the pressure off our adrenals.
Meditation, Conscious Breathing and Yoga all cause a physiological response that results in calming down the sympathetic nervous system. Another very easy strategy to combat stress is some abdominal breathing.”
It only takes three deep abdominal breaths to trigger the physiological calming response and reduce the release of adrenalin. Stressful times often result in a shallow breath rate and an inefficient uptake of oxygen from the lung, which leads to further shallow breathing.
This inefficient way of breathing is often associated with raising the shoulders around the ears and may cause that horrible neck tension we’re all too familiar with.
The solution is relatively simple, stop what you’re doing for a few seconds and breathe into your belly as though it is a balloon that you’re trying to fill with as much air as possible.
Studies indicate that breathing consciously produces greater cognitive function and improves sleep.
MEDITATE AND VISUALIZE
Meditation techniques vary from mudras to pranayama, visualization and body scans. There is no right or wrong but there is likely to be one form that resonates with each individual. I can suggest two short visualizations, to combat feeling vulnerable.
How to deal with stress on the spot:
1. If we feel someone at work is trying to take your power, firstly try to find compassion for him or her. Then use this effective visualization:
You probably imagine them to be larger in size than you and more successful, powerful, committed, skillful, smart… whatever … Now visualize yourself standing next to them and slowly, you simply change the ratio of size so that at the completion you appear larger than they do, more powerful and empowered. Now use your newfound empowerment, which includes ethical values, to create changes that support your highest good and greatest joy.
2. To work on feelings of vulnerability simply imagine yourself alone, as a kid in the school playground … look at the vulnerable child and consider what that child needs. Is it love, fun, acknowledgement, attention, feedback, money, freedom of choice… and then once you know what that little person needs, visualize them receiving it. It might be a hug, or a swim in the ocean or receiving praise from your teacher.
This is a wonderful visualization that can be done anywhere. It results in you acknowledging and receiving what you need on a deep level and helps lead to a sense of fulfillment.
These simple strategies are free, convenient and the results are instant! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so in your next stressed moment why not give them a go.
If you are interested in working with Jo, she is at firstname.lastname@example.org
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