No matter the source of your stress, physical or emotional, the body can be soothed by calming the alarm center of your brain. Limbic Trauma causes 70% of chronic disease, physical and mental. You can calm the Limbic system by up-regulation – calming the body which then calms the Limbic system. And Down Regulation – using the thinking part of your brain to recognize trauma thoughts (negative thoughts)
The most important first step is to conquer the art of breathing with your diaphragm: Paced abdominal breathing. The in-breath, inspiration, should be half as long as the out-breath – expiration. You could achieve this with box breathing – breathe in (for 4 counts) hold – 2 counts, breath out – 4 counts – hold for 2 counts. Or make up a variation that suits you – in for 4, out for 6, hold for 2.
There are many apps that are free and that help – here is Insight Timer.
The body and mind are connected. If you are ill, have uncontrolled diseases, or chronic pain, that affects the mind. The limbic system (alarm center of the brain) goes on alert. This causes more inflammation, more pain, more disease. Using the body to calm the mind can lead to healing. Use the body to heal.
There are some wonderful apps to help calm the brain. Try this free app Mindshift CBT
Take a look at Step 2 if you prefer a shorter video.
If you have very severe pain – you might not be able to do the exercises below. Have a look at the Recovery Poses until you have improved, then you can move on to the exercises below.
Along with correct breathing, you could follow a daily program of morning and evening exercises. Choose the one you like. Let your body guide you – adapt the exercise according to your abilities. You could do them in a chair if necessary. In the beginning, you may not be able to do them all. Remember – check with your physician first.
I have exercises below that called Qi-Gong exercises. Qi-Gong is not a religion. It is a series of movements that are meant to help your body heal. It can be used to complement your own spiritual practice.
Morning exercises – try them and pick the one that suits you
For the exercise below, if you have severe pain or stiffness, use a strap for holding onto legs or foot, and use large stiff cushions or bolsters or thick blankets when shifting the knees to the side. You can use cushions under knees when legs are flat.
If the Qi Gong exercise is too difficult, then do Recovery Back Pose
There are many supports on line that can help for stress. On-line resources.
There are medications that can help you sleep, but they do have serious side effects. Be very careful of meditation and mindfulness if you have PTSD. If your healthcare provider has approved you for this, try some of these sleep meditations.
If you find it difficult to meditate, neurobiofeedback can help. Muse 2 appears to be a great option for anyone with an iPhone more than 4. check out the review for Muse 2. Disclosure – I have never used it but for someone who finds meditation difficult, it seems like a good teacher.
If you feel overwhelmed, you could try these self-soothing exercises.
Tapping is a technique that grounds you in the present and helps you feel your feelings safely and in the present. You can try the 5 point grounding technique at the bottom of the page as well.
Here is a Qi Gong Exercise if you are feeling very overwhelmed.
Daily Practice of Mindfulness can change your life. Reading a bible, or other spiritual works are wonderful ways to heal. Practicing mindfulness can enhance the experience. This is a free course – Palouse Mindfulness. Again be careful of this if you have PTSD and make sure to speak to your healthcare provider first.
If you are thinking too much – thinking of things that you need to do or things that happened or things to come – your are anxious. Try the 5 Grounding Technique:
5 things you see
4 things you hear
3 things to touch
2 things to smell
1 thing to taste
On-Line management of Depression is a handy tool if you don’t have access to a counselor.
Stress causes cravings and cravings lead to weight gain and accumulation of toxins in your body from processed foods. Watch this video.
Writing can be enormously helpful. If you take 10 minutes of your day and write in a journal – which no one else will see. Don’t read it. Just write. Never mind the grammar. the spelling. the words or sentences. Just write. even if you write – I don’t want to write. this is stupid. I don’t want to do this. what an utter waste of tme. blah blah blah Eventually – the left side of your brain will free up and you will start to lose your inner critic. This is the purpose of writing. Free writing – free association.