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Stress Solutions – Where’s Your Tiger?

By Meg Deak MCAT, LPC

Stress is a just fact of life, right? Just muscle through it and keep going, because you’re too busy and don’t have time to relax, right?  Well, stress can make us feel like there’s a tiger in the room. You may even be so used to the tiger, that feeling becomes normal. It’s really important to take the time to activate your relaxation response – send that tiger packing.

It’s easy to forget or ignore the damage the tiger can do. Remember stress brings hormones, like cortisol and adrenalin – these are for short term use, and not supposed to be constant. You owe it to yourself and your family to deal with the tiger.

About Stress

Let’s talk about your nervous system. You’ve got a

  • central nervous system
  • brain
  • spinal cord
  • peripheral system − all the nerve connections from everywhere else that create pathways to communicate with your brain

Breaking it down further, you have an autonomic nervous system (think automatic) that keeps the show running, things like:

  • breathing
  • heart rate
  • digestion

One part of the autonomic system, called sympathetic, is switched on under pressure – the tiger is in the room; the other part, parasympathetic, switches on when we feel safe and calm – the tiger has left the building.

When the tiger is in the room, heart rate and blood pressure sore, muscles contract and we consume a lot of oxygen – stress for sure!

Once safe, the switch is flipped, and the system:

  • lowers heart rate and blood pressure
  • relaxes muscles
  • decreases oxygen consumption (the heart becomes more efficient)

Thinking becomes clearer; productivity and creativity increase – in a big way.

Our tigers can take the form of work and family stress, financial worry and chronic, troublesome thoughts, which often make us angry, anxious and reactive. Some tigers don’t leave the building – ever.  The switch can’t flip…unless we actively flip it.  Sometimes, we need to learn or relearn how to flip the switch – to activate the relaxation response.

Activate Your Relaxation Response

One really pleasant way to retrain your brain and autonomic nervous system to activate the relaxation response is through Vibroacoustic Therapy (VAT) & Brainwave Entrainment, which uses the vibrations of sound to lull your body into a state of deep relaxation.  Over time, you can “remember” the feeling and recreate it – you can flip the switch.

With VAT and Brainwave Entrainment you can feel your muscles relax as you sit on a zero-gravity chair. As a special CD plays, you feel the vibrations from the chair, hear the sounds from ear phones, and see the vibrations as special glasses transform the sounds into mandala-like patterns of light. Your mind begins to quiet, as this whole experience takes your brain and nervous system into a deeply-relaxed, healing state.

Stress is a fact of life, yes, but to muscle through causes dis-ease and reduces productivity.  Are you really too busy to manage your tiger?

Meg Deak,  MCAT, LPC specializes in the management of stress, anxiety and emotional overwhelm.

For a free 20 minute complementary consultation including a vibroacoustic experience, Call us at 610-395-3355, today!

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YOGA FOR BETTER BREATHING & LESS MUSCLE TENSION

I recently became friends with Elise who lives down the street from me. I had known of her for a couple years, but just waved and said “hello”.  Recently we were formally introduced when she was hired at the same school I am now employed. It didn’t take long for us to become fast friends through yoga.

She was aware that I was a yoga teacher, so I mentioned to her where I was teaching  and she very quickly became interested in learning more about it. I knew it would help her manage the stress from working and raising a family, so I invited her to join in on my sessions.  She loved the idea.

While I was telling her about the schedule, she asked if she could invite one of her other friends.  I said “of course, the more the merrier”.  She had only done Yoga once before, and it was quite some time ago. They joined my next class and took it real easy at first, but it wasn’t long until they were both loving the challenging poses and the relaxation at the end of each class.  Not only did my friend, Elise, benefit, but her friend was so excited to tell me that after only a few sessions her breathing had improved and her muscles felt less stiff and tense.  She was amazed how great she felt in such a short time.

Now they are both doing all the poses in full length sessions and encouraging each other to practice regularly.  Elise couldn’t wait to tell me after the last session that she is less short of breath going up stairs and on walks with her dog, her tight calves and thighs are much less tense, and that there is improvement in her overall range of motion.

The power of Yoga is truly amazing for moms and even dads!

Laurie Lagerman, CYT, Happy Yoga practitioner and teacher for 13 years.