..The Intuitive Times
Complementary Therapies


Stress Busters From Different Perspectives

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A Naturopath

An important first step to adapting to stressors in our lives is to learn to recognize them. Here is a useful exercise for identifying stressors in your life. First, list the following categories: change, chemical, commuting, disease, emotional, environmental, family, pain, phobias, physical, social and work. Beside eac, list specific stressors that affect you. Once you identify the stressors, it is easier to do something about them. Next, beside each of your personal stressors, list possible solutions. You'll be surprised, when you look at your stressors objectively, at how many solutions you can come up with. Pick some of the most powerful ones in your life and make a commitment to follow through. For example, a common physical stressor is sleep deprivation. A solution may be to promise yourself to make it a priority to go to bed one hour earlier every single night. See how much better you feel after 2 weeks and how differently you can cope with life's ups and downs.

You can help to protect your body with a few nutritional tools. Since the physiological effects of poorly managed stressors are widespread most nutrients are involved, so a highly nutrient dense diet from whole, unprocessed foods without additives is very important. A B-complex, especially vitamins B6, B5 and B12, vitamin C and folic acid are important for supporting the adrenal glands which make additional cortisone and epinephrine under stress. The antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium are also depleted and are needed to protect cells and immunity. Calcium and magnesium are important for supporting the nervous system and to aid in relaxation.

Carolin Galvin, Bsc,ND can be reached at Fredericton Clinic of Naturopathic Medicine, 506-450-9440

Yogic Breath

It is far wiser and more productive to manage stress when it occurs than to attempt to deal with its byproducts after stress and tension has hindered a full and productive life. Yoga teaches stress management through breath, body and mind control. These are invaluable resources in a busy and productive life, and they can be used right at the moment when stress arises.

Yoga is a great antidote for a stressful lifestyle. The less we tic-toc between extremes the more balanced and fulfilled our life can be. Yogic breath is the ideal way to maintain the balance both after and during work. We breathe all day yet it is only when we focus our attention on the breath that we truly "breathe". Focusing on the breath at different times during the day and adjusting that breath to the circumstances can have a major impact on our performance and enjoyment of life. As well as the physical stress relief, Yoga offers a different mental perspective on stress management. When we are able to see our world with a clearer perspective, many stress causing situation evaporate.

Our perceptions of events usually polarize things into good and bad, right and wrong, pleasure and pain. This is how stress is caused. The more we learn to see things with a broader mind, the more stabilized we are when we find ourselves in the eye of a storm, and the less stress affects us, the more we stay on track. If you can breath you can do yoga. Yoga is not about flexibility or what you can or cannot do. Yoga is about awareness and the mind-set you bring to life. Poses are intended for the exploration of the body, and our capacity to do each pose varies widely given our body type, strength and age.

Chris Walker will offer a one day "Yoga & Life - Perfect Balance" workshop in Charlottetown December 2, 2000. Register on line at www.walkerinternational.com or call Michelle Burns.

Michelle Burns is a Yoga Teacher in Charlottetown and can be reached at 902-566-9965.

Fitness Instructor

It's 5:45 am, a time when most of us would still be snuggled in our beds, but Cheryl Stead is up and getting ready to go to the gym. It's something she's been doing longer than she can remember...(She's 48 years old and believes she started exercising in her early twenties). By the time the clock hits 6:30, she's at the Atlantic Fitness Centre in downtown Charlottetown. She does aerobics on Tuesday and Thursday and weights on the other days. She says, "I work out for an hour or an hour-fifteen max, then I shower and go directly to work."

Stead works at the PEI Legislative Assembly, running the office, and keeping track of things like the 3 million dollar budget, staff pay cheques, and schedules. She says, "working out, makes me feel great at work, if I don't go, than I start feeling really sleepy by 3:00 pm." She feels her dedication to the gym is partially because of onery stubbornness but also because, "it really gives me a sense of well being".

Cheryl Stead also rarely gets stressed out. Although, many of us may not be able to get up at 5:30 am like Cheryl, Wyatt Inman says even a bit of exercise does a lot of good. He says: "begin with two or three fifteen minute walks a week and then slowly build up the speed of your walk and the length of time you spend doing it." He says going on three different fifteen minute walks a day is just as valuable as one longer one. "The small cumulative amounts still equal forty-five minutes of exercise". Cheryl Stead finds her biggest motivator is not vanity but wellness and taking control of her own health. She says people need to experiment and find something they really like and will stick to for the long-term.

Laura Meader is a certified Fitness Instructor and Education Chair for the Island Fitness Council. The Island Fitness Council is a voluntary body which oversees fitness professionals and promotes certification and education of people working as fitness leaders in PEI. She can be reached at the Atlantic Fitness Centre, 368-3622.

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