4 Stress Hacks to Save Your Life
If you want to control your blood sugars, you must not only watch your diet; you must also control your stress. As you know, stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, and cortisol raises blood sugars. So chronic stress equals chronically high blood sugars. And that leads to insulin resistance, and then diabetes.
Ground yourself every single day with these life-changing hacks that can be done in minutes or seconds!
Center yourself when you wake up.
It only takes a moment to do a few sun salutations or a guided meditation, but the effects can last for hours because you step outside of your head and re-connect with your entire being. You slow down your breathing and tune in to your feelings. Salutations and meditations are great ways to start the day, but one of my favorites is to open up my throat and belt out a song – either in the shower or on the way to work. It doesn’t take any extra time from my busy day, but by tightening the muscles in the back of my throat, I tone and condition my vagus nerve – the one that has so much impact on my sense of well-being. When I don’t have the privacy to sing loudly, I gargle instead.
Make meals a time to be in the moment.
Do you use mealtime to express gratitude? Scientists are proving that this isn’t just an old-fashioned idea. Gratitude actually makes you stress-resilient. Studies show that having a grateful disposition helps you rebound quicker when you are faced with adversity or trauma. Laughing is also a great stress-diffuser that you can engage in during mealtimes. Personally, I like to practice presence by consciously noticing 5 distinct smells, 5 different sights, 5 isolated sounds, 5 unique tastes and 5 particular sensations that engage me during the meal.
Hit the pause button when stress escalates.
Stress makes you breathe shallowly and rapidly. You can reverse this by observing your breath and choosing to draw it more deeply and slowly. An exercise to do this is to inhale from the diaphragm for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, then exhale for 8 counts. Alternately, you could exhale and inhale through the left nostril (holding the right shut), then switch and close the left nostril before first exhaling then inhaling through the right. It takes a little concentration and forces you to stop prognosticating your dire future. Walking outside for 5 minutes or applying a calming essential oil are also effective ways to take a time out to compose yourself.
De-compress at the end of the day.
Stress depletes your magnesium stores, so a foot soak in warm water and epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) not only feels relaxing, it actually physiologically helps counteract your stress. Herbs such as lemon balm, lavendar and chamomile are soothing when steeped in water as a bedtime beverage. Journalling is a great way to connect mind and body and to let go of negative emotions. A little music therapy prepares you for a restful night.
Your blood sugars aren’t the only aspect of your well-being that will benefit from these hacks. Your physical, mental, and emotional health will improve, too!
Need more calming ideas? Catch a class with us!