Stress. We all suffer from it. There are a variety of different stresses that can range from the day-to-day stresses of being a living and breathing human to more severe life moments such as the loss of a loved one or chronic stress due to a physical ailment.
At the American Center for Biological Medicine (ACBM), we understand that stress is complex and an everyday issue that we all must contend with. We consulted with Transformational Therapist Barbara Saint John about stress. We asked her questions about how your overall health can be affected and what you can do to conquer acute and chronic stress to live a happier and more vibrant life.
What do you recommend to wake up feeling happy?
“The really good news is there are many ways for you to start your day off in good mood,” says Barbara.
One of the first actions you want to take upon waking is to think about all the things you are grateful for. Make a list in your mind and, better yet, write down those things you are grateful for. Barbara says, “I am grateful each morning to be waking up to the fact that I have another day to live to my fullest.” According to Harvard Healthbeat, expressing gratitude can help you feel happier, healthier, more positive, and more capable of tackling obstacles and stressful situations.
The second strategy is to do a cat stretch (this is also a wonderful yoga pose), just like a cat does when they wake up from a nice nap. This gets all those muscles moving that have been very inactive during the night. Also, your blood pressure drops when you sleep, so stretching in the morning before you get out of bed may reverse that drop in blood pressure. Stretching may also help you wake up more easily and get ready for your day.
The third way to help you wake up feeling happy is to have a 16 oz tall glass of water by your bedside and drink it as soon as you can. This will help to rehydrate your body. Drinking water first thing in the morning helps cleanse the colon, flush out toxins, fire up your metabolism, give you brain fuel, and can help you prevent overeating later in the day.
How do you help patients conquer their stress during appointments?
Barbara says, “I explain to my clients that stress is an inescapable part of life. However, too much stress will harm you mentally and physically. During stress, you may feel your breathing get shallow, neck and shoulders get tense, and you may experience clenching of your jaw or your fists.”
“One thing I suggest to my clients is to create a Worry Box,” Barbara continues. She says that we all have worries and concerns. You can make or buy a box, write down your concerns at the end of the day, and drop them into the box.
Having your worries and concerns physically placed in a box may help you to set them aside so you have time for more satisfying or meaningful moments in your life. The Worry Box will mentally help you “let go” of worries. You may then throw your worries away or look at them later and find that what you worried about was a waste of time as the scenarios you imagined never really came true.
Barbara says, “Always remember that our imagination is stronger than reality!”
How can stress affect the body?
Barbara says that many of her clients will say “It feels like this stress is killing me.” That is because stress does physically harm the body.
Stress can be inspired by a bad marriage, divorce, grief and loss, long term ailments, and many more. When stressed, your body will go into what is called a “fight-or-flight” response. Your body begins to pull all its energy resources toward fighting off a life-threatening enemy or fleeing from the life-threatening enemy. In this state, your adrenal glands immediately release hormones called adrenaline and cortisol. Your adrenal glands dump these hormones into your body for the battle, so you can survive.
This stress response can affect your body, your mind, your feelings and thoughts, and how you will behave. As your body goes into this “fight-or-flight” response, the anxiety may cause a wide range of physical symptoms, such as a pounding heart, sweating, and shortness of breath. If you do not regularly check in with your stress levels, this constant stress response by the body can very well lead to many health problems. You may have:
- Chest pain or rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds or infections
- Loss of sexual desire and or ability to have sex
- Low energy
- Stomach problems
- Tense muscles
If this stress goes on for weeks, months, or even years, you are now weakening your immune system. For years, medical doctors have stated that chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death. At the ACBM, we can help you let go of that stress.
What treatments at the ACBM would you recommend that help with stress reduction?
At the ACBM, we offer many treatments to help with relieving stress.
- Evoke Machine – This is a biocommunication scan and is technically considered a form of biofeedback. The idea behind biofeedback is that if you have greater awareness of your physiological functions, you can manipulate and influence those functions through several methods. The more information you have about your body, the better the decisions you will be able to make to influence your stressors in life.
- Soundbed Therapy – This is also called vibroacoustics. The Soundbed machine can “hear sound vibrations through the body.” Sound is very healing and can bring about a deep state of relaxation that counters the negative effects of stress.
- Ozone Therapy – Your immune system is affected when you are stressed. Ozone Therapy helps combat chronic fatigue that might be caused by stress and anxiety.
- The Zone – The Zone is a cutting-edge device that is utilized to teach you how to relax and meditate. The Zone combines the healing modalities of color, music, vibrational frequencies, and guided imagery to assist you in relaxing and letting go of stress.
Let us be part of your life-changing experience!
About Barbara Saint John
Barbara Saint John is a nationally-acclaimed lecturer, author, grief recovery specialist, certified hypnotherapist, relationship consultant, transformational therapist, and businesswoman. Saint John has been a leader in her field for over 35 years. She has consistent success in applying specialized tools and techniques to help clients from all walks of life deal with stress, anxiety, abuse, and grief. Saint John runs Life Phases International, which assists and guides those in every phase of life toward an understanding that garners intentional change and internal and external shifts to his or her experience. Check out Barbara Saint John’s full biography for more information on her background.