For when you’re on the verge of imploding (or exploding).
It’s 2020, and we've harped endlessly about why self-care and taking crucial moments to disconnect are incredibly important. But the reality is, even with care, stress is hard to avoid altogether. Thankfully, we’re getting more creative at finding ways to deal with it and easing the cortisol (that pesky hormone that’s responsible for a whole cache of health problems) release. The professional leading the charge with her 360 approach to training? Jill Payne, whose self-styled Spiritual Athleticism is what Gisele Bundchen credits as the key to her healthy lifestyle. Herein, Payne gives us three crazy-easy tricks to chilling out and gaining control when the pressure builds.
First, Ask Yourself...
“I have these three points that I feel cultivate and create physical energy in the body. I take these into a workout, but you don’t have to—you can just focus on them wherever you are.”
“The questions you want to ask yourself are:
· Am I at a 10?
· What am I choosing to do with my body?
· What am I choosing to focus on?
· What am I saying to myself?”
1. Smile (It’s As Easy as That)
“Just by changing the position of your body, you will handle any situation differently. Smiling changes your biochemistry. Try it.”
2. Don’t Get Hung Up on Your Goal
“Can you focus on the feeling of happiness in the process of achieving your goal, and not on the x (whether that’s a six-pack or a house)? Your stress levels rise if you think you need a six-pack to feel happy. You are being dragged around by your desires, and it’s going to be a continuous struggle. Try to enjoy the process of reaching that goal.”
3. Breathe Through Muscle Activation
“Muscle activation is all about the psoas—the psoas is connected to the spine and femur, which is what allows your hip flexor to function—the glutes, and the diaphragm, that little circle of powerful muscles. Due to stress, we are in a compressed body position. The psoas, glutes, and diaphragm shut down completely. If the diaphragm, which for me is the primary organ of respiration, is shut down, then you’re going to have to breathe into your chest, and when you breathe into your chest, then you’ll overstimulate the nervous system. Everything is on overdrive. When you’re in fight-or-flight mode, the blood flows to your extremities, not to your brain, so you’re not thinking logically. With muscle activation, we want to get the breath into the diaphragm, so that it switches the nervous system over to rest and recovery mode.
“I’ll try to stabilize your muscles and help you move. When you run, you can keep your arms down, but shimmy your shoulders so you have a really relaxed upper body. Or even just stand and shimmy your shoulders. Even the fact that we are constantly holding things in our hands, that’s creating tension up through our arms, neck, and shoulders. If you can stop during the day three times, and just take three deep breaths, that would be a great start.”
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