BY AMANDA GRANT, CIVANA CHIEF WELLNESS OFFICER
The body’s natural stress response can sometimes get a bad wrap. Taking a cue from Kelly McGonigal’s 2013 TED Talk, become your own experiment. By learning to notice how our own body responds to stress, it opens the gates to witness the bodies as a trigger. When we pause to purposefully notice, we have the freedom to choose what we do next.
Heart-Focused Deep Breathing
Find a comfortable and quiet place to either sit or lie down. Begin with a few normal breaths through the nose. Drop your attention in the area of the heart as you purposefully allow the inhale to deepen – notice the belly and chest rise, you may even feel the inhale as deep as the hips. As you exhale, you can breathe out of the nose or the mouth, whichever feels more natural. If it is helpful, you might place one hand over the heart and one hand on the belly. Repeat as long as you need it.
Resource: HeartMath™ Quick Coherence Technique https://www.heartmath.com/quick-coherence-technique/
Take a Hike
Some of the most popular wellness activities at CIVANA are our guided hikes. According to two studies out of the University of California, Berkeley, experiencing awe in nature creates a greater sense of wellbeing and less stress. Being outside also is a good way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D which plays an important role in the health of your nervous system and reduces depression.
Screen Out Screen Time
During this time of physical distancing and social responsibility when kids are learning online, a majority of our workforce is engaging remotely, and we are turning to digital solutions and devices to connect, make sure you have parts of your day that are tech and screen-free. Plant a garden, teach your kids backgammon, play balderdash, read a book, write in a journal, break out that guitar that has been gathering dust – whatever it is, be present in how you engage.
There is an enormous amount of research on the benefits of gratitude. Each day at CIVANA, we begin in the morning with intention setting and close the evening in a circle reflecting on what we were grateful for. These casual rituals purposefully bring together guests and colleagues so we can see each other as humans, outside of our roles. Consider making this an at-home routine for you or your family.
Resources: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain & https://www.intelligentchange.com/products/the-five-minute-journal
Our bodies are designed to move. Movement impacts our mental health, bone density, circulation, energy level, and even the health of our skin. Whether it’s ecstatic dance, a sunset stroll, or an intense at-home bodyweight workout with CIVANA fitness pro Steph Derby, get going!
It’s no secret that water is important for our survival. After all, it makes up a majority of our body weight and every cell, tissue, and organ needs water to function properly. Dehydration can lead to higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, making it more difficult to process everyday issues. There is no single formula to say how much is right for you but the 8×8 rule is a good goal to start with. Listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty.
Quality sleep enables the body to repair, prevents weight gain and heart disease, decreases our susceptibility to illness, contributes to mental clarity, and so much more.
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