4 Natural Ways to Control Adrenaline, your Energy Booster

Did you know that adrenaline, an essential booster of mental and body energy, can also trigger the ‘fight and flight’ response, causing stress and potentially getting you in trouble?

When you’re about to give a presentation, your throat is suddenly parched, and your heart begins to pound … that’s adrenaline kicking in.

When you have a deadline fast approaching and your feel sweaty palms, your feel a knot in your throat and can’t think clearly … that’s adrenaline rushing through your vessels.

What is adrenaline?

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone and neurotransmitter produced in your adrenal glands; those found on top of your kidneys. It is produced when you face a situation that requires an immediate increase of energy: a tiger threatening your life. Epinephrine is also a medication that emergency doctors inject to patients with a sudden life-threatening allergic reaction, also called anaphylaxis, or a when the heart stops beating. It immediately opens up airways in the lung and narrows blood vessels, normalizing breathing and heart rhythm.

 

Adrenaline and the stress response

When you face emotional, physical, or mental stress, adrenaline is released. In a healthy person, adrenaline expands your oxygen intake to your muscles. This happens because blood is squeezed from the skin and internal organs and rerouted to major muscles, preparing the body to flee a danger or fight it. Adrenaline increases the production of glucose in the liver while reducing insulin release by the pancreas, leading to improved muscle function, you feel stronger.

Your nervous system is able to decrease pain, increasing your ability to keep fighting despite injuries. Simultaneously, an adrenaline rush heightens your sensory perception, letting you enjoy every second of sky diving or watching a horror movie.

 

Impact of increased adrenaline

Craving for an adrenaline rush may lead to misusing prescription medications, drugs or seeking ‘hyperventilating’ activities. Your mind and body may ‘enjoy’ stressful situations, even confrontation or dangerous activities.

When you have high levels of adrenaline, you’ll feel agitated and irritable. Over time, high levels of adrenaline can lead to insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Thus, it’s crucial to ensure that your adrenaline levels are under control.

At some point the mind may be use stress and anxiety to keep adrenaline rushing into your bloodstream. on the other hand, a mind full of worry and thoughts will have a hard time falling asleep, this would drive an increase of adrenaline leading to insomnia.

 

You can control your adrenaline levels by focusing on stress management. Here are 4 simple ways to naturally control your adrenaline levels.

 

Know thy self

Sometimes, we’re stressed out because we don’t know our limits, we lack long-term self-confidence and look for a quick fix, an adrenaline rush. For instance, being a yes-person, unable to say no to others. When you have a stressful job, and you’re taking care of an ailing parent at home, but someone comes along and asks if you can coach your daughter’s soccer team. Instead of saying no, you go ahead and say yes. This may help you feel good momentarily but adds unnecessary stress to your already full plate.

To learn about your limits, practice self-reflection and you progressively will feel being more self-assertive. Also, engage in role-playing, practice being a naysayer, which will give you the confidence and experience to be able to say no assertively, yet gracefully.

 

Be truly social

Having social support helps lower your stress levels. When you have a solid social network system, you don’t feel alone, and you have people with whom you can unburden your stressors.

In today’s world, we are lonelier than ever despite being more connected digitally. It just may be that we need more face-to-face interactions.

There are a number of ways to develop good social support. For instance, get out and volunteer. By volunteering, you not only help others, you also get to meet other people with similar values as yourself. Another way you can develop good social engagements is by getting involved with your community association. joining a gym or religious organization. By being less isolated, you’ll not only feel less stressed, but happier as well.

 

Go for a walk

To reduce your risk of adrenaline addiction, it’s important to balance stimulating with relaxing activities.  After a stressful situation, move towards an unchallenging, systematic, routine task to allow adrenaline blood levels to drop. Going for a walk around the block and focusing on the environment is a well-established recipe to decompress.

When you’re facing a looming deadline at work, or a challenging relationship with your loved ones, the last thing you want to do is to move, exercise, challenge your body. Yet, it’s extremely beneficial.

When you make time to exercise, you give your mind a break from the stressor. As a result, you come back rejuvenated and ready to tackle the stressor head on, or even have a completely different perspective on the stressor. Also, when you exercise, you release endorphins, the feel-good hormones.

 

Get enough sleep

Have you noticed how much smoother your day goes by when you get enough sleep? When you get enough sleep, you’re more relaxed and are better able to handle stress.

Getting enough sleep will let your mind and body normalize adrenaline and several other hormones and neurotransmitters. One way you can ensure you’re getting enough sleep is by practicing good sleep hygiene habits. For instance, make your bedroom a technology-free zone. Instead of scrolling through social media at night, read a good book.

Another good practice to ensure you’re getting enough sleep is to let go of the day’s worries. You can do so by focusing on your senses to distract your mind while in bed, practicing sensorial mindfulness or mindful framing.

 

Life has its fair share of challenges and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by them. By practising stress management techniques, you can not only lower your reliance on short-term adrenaline rushes, but lower your tendency to be overwhelmed by life’s challenges as well.

Stepping Up Your Yoga Practice on a Busy Schedule

By Sheila Johnson

Yoga has never been more important in our highly busy and technical world. Taking just a few minutes a day to focus your body and mind can increase both your health and your sense of inner peace. You don’t even need to make it out to the yoga studio to access guided sessions and enjoy lessons from a great yoga teacher.

Start Your Journey

Selecting a yoga practice when you’re living an on-the-go lifestyle often means making it work at home, the office, or your backyard. Thankfully, there are plenty of great platforms, streaming keeps you growing, especially if you find an instructor you feel is inspiring. Just look for a leader with the right traits, whose energy feeds you, and with whom you feel connected in spite of not being face-to-face.

You will notice the benefits and enjoyment you gain from yoga day by day. Make sure you have a media player with the features; you want and that fits your budget. There are plenty of smart options available, just think through your priorities and personal criteria. Of course, there is more to yoga than gathering gear and going through the motions.

Set Intentional Goals

Whether you get out to the yoga studio regularly or are just trying to fit a little body-and-mind in at home, we have a few tactics that can help you take your yoga practice to the next level. Setting intentional goals  for yoga is not just about meditation and routine. You are reaching for your limits in order to overcome them. So set goals. Just as Metta Yoga points out, you should challenge yourself to both take the time for yoga and to continue along your path of self-discovery and physical achievement.

Something that hangs up many enthusiasts is seeing others’ progress. There’s no need to be self-conscious regarding their journey. Yoga is your personal journey and you can set your own milestones. To focus on yourself, consider tracking your weekly and monthly progress, and celebrate your achievements, whether you monitor your journey in your mind or via an app on your phone.

Leave Your Comfort Zone

Many aspects of yoga are challenging in various ways. New stances, holding poses longer, and pushing yourself to a more pure embodiment of each stance, can be difficult. As Honor Yoga explains, sometimes you need to leave your comfort zone. Push yourself a little harder with each day or week that you go through your yoga routines. And if you have a teacher that you enjoy, trust them to guide you outside your comfort zone into achievement. If you don’t have an instructor with whom you feel connected, or you simply feel stuck, getting fresh insight can often work wonders.

Look for a yoga teacher near you who can give your regimen the boost you need. Take Risks and Accept Failure When you push your comfort zone, you may feel your muscles straining. You may fear that you will lose your balance. Accept this fear. Take risks and be at peace with the possibility of failure. Not only will you make failure less likely but if you do fail, you will grow by serenely trying again until you master each greater step in your yoga journey.

Adopt a Routine

Set  a routine and practice minimums for each day. Your day is busy, and it’s okay to accept that as well. Yoga is something you should do every day, but it doesn’t have to be your life. Even more so, feeling guilty will not help you achieve the next stage in your path of physical and spiritual enlightenment. Give yourself permission to practice only a few minutes a day. Yoga with Adriene notes that just seven minutes per day is all you need to stay in form. You will have time for longer sessions later. On your busiest day, feel good about your simple seven minutes.

Life these days is busy and complicated. Your yoga program can be the respite you need. Set aside a little time here and there, and with the right tools and connections, you can prosper in your practice.

Live Practice of Mindful Framing to Transform Anxiety into Vital Energy

I will take you through an amazing visualization journey into your mind while teaching you the practice of Mindful Framing. You will learn a revolutionary approach to manage anxiety and stress through the creation of solid frames of mind leading to mental, emotional and physical wellbeing

SAND, Science And Non-Duality, is a yearly event bringing together some of the brightest minds in science, along with teachers from various traditions and artists, in a quest to expand and deepen our understanding and experience around the theme of empathy, relationships and mindfulness.

4 Natural Ways to Lower Cortisol, the Stress Hormone

Can you imagine truly enjoying your life, getting through work with a smile on your face even in the midst of uncertainty and stress? Can you imagine sharing love, compassion and gratitude instead of craving for validation, competing endlessly and despairing for unfulfilled expectations?

It can be done, but there is an essential premise, your ability to control excessive release of the hormone cortisol into your body. When you’re in a traffic jam, your jaws are clenched, your shoulders are tense, and you’re just about to scream… your body is releasing cortisol uncontrollably, impacting negatively your mental and emotional reactions while deteriorating your physical wellbeing.

 

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, located above your kidneys. Cortisol is considered the “stress hormone” because our bodies release it when we’re facing physical, mental or emotional stress.

However, cortisol does much more than reacting to stress. Cortisol is an essential hormone that, among many other vital functions, balances our blood sugar and blood pressure, helps us form memories, decreases inflammation and regulates our metabolism.

Having too much cortisol leads to weight gain, mostly abdominal obesity aka “love handles”, diabetes, heart disease, a weakened immune system, and mental and neurological dysfunction, such as irritability, depression, anxiety and forgetfulness.

 

Cortisol, Stress and Relaxation Response

When you’re under stress your body goes into “freeze, flight or fight” mode. It does so by releasing excessive amounts of cortisol. This sudden hormone release increases blood sugar so that you have the energy to run from stressors (e.g. a tiger) while shutting down non-essential functions, such as the immune system.

Problems develop when your body is in continuous stress mode, a hallmark of modern life. Over the long term, over-activation of the stress response decreases the overall mental, emotional and physical health.

On the other hand, being able to induce a relaxation response will reduce the cortisol release and stabilize blood levels over short and long periods of time.

Here are 4 simple ways to naturally lower your cortisol levels and achieve sustainable relaxation:

 

Sleep Well

In today’s busy world, we often put sleep on the back burner. We have so many errands to do, so many to-do-lists to cross off. And modern technology definitely doesn’t help. We’re glued to our tablets and computers, and our cell phones are always on… just in case.

But sleep is extremely important. Not only does your body rejuvenate itself, but it also completes major housekeeping duties while you’re asleep.

When we don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels also rise. In fact, getting only 4 hours of sleep for just one day can increase your cortisol levels by almost 40%!

So, how can you make sure you’re getting enough sleep? Well, for one, you can start by creating the right environment in your bedroom and developing solid going-to- and staying-in-bed routines. Instead of snacking and drinking, have a soothing tea. Instead of crashing into the couch to watch TV, take a walk with your loved ones. Instead of browsing news and social media, read a nice book. You will be surprised at how fast you doze off!

 

Eat Healthy

A number of foods have been shown to lower cortisol levels. One example is dark chocolate, rich in flavonols, shown to drive many health benefits. In fact, dark chocolate has even more flavonols than well-known super fruits such as acai berries and blueberries.

Why is this important? Flavonols have been shown to inhibit 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, an enzyme that converts inactive cortisol to its active form.

Look for magnesium-rich foods, avocados, nuts, legumes, bananas and consider taking supplements. In fact, magnesium decreases cortisol levels by supressing the release of cortisol.

On the other hand, processed foods, trans fats, alcohol, food additives are considered pro-inflammatory partly due to the excessive release of cortisol.

 

Practice Mindfulness

Do you ruminate on the past and worry too much about the future? Well, the regular practice of mindful framing, mindfulness meditation or even prayer can help you induce the relaxation response.

When you focus on the present moment, either through observation, visualization, concentration, reciting a prayer or mantra, your mind is repealing negative, repeating and circular thoughts. Your mind becomes non-judgemental, living no room for an automatic stress response.

A mindfulness practice not only helps you mentally but can help you physically by decreasing your cortisol levels. A study conducted on medical students found that cortisol levels dropped almost 20% after a 4 day mindfulness meditation program.

Think you’re too busy for a mindfulness practice? Just take a walk in the park, observe the trees and listen how the birds sing. The good news is that you can easily incorporate these practices into your daily activities, even while washing the dishes or just having a short break!

 

Socialize and Laugh

You’ve heard people say that laughter is the best medicine, and they’re sure right. Laughter decreases your cortisol levels. And it doesn’t even have to be real laughter to work! Even simulated or “fake” laughter helps.

A study done on community members found that participants’ cortisol levels decreased significantly after a series of laughter yoga sessions. Laughter yoga is a mind-body exercise that teaches you to laugh. The premise is to literally “fake it until you mean it.”

So, go ahead and start laughing. Watch some comedies, play with your loved ones, or even do some laughter yoga. Your body and mind will thank you.

 

Life is too short to be tense, agitated and stressed out. By naturally lowering your cortisol levels, you improve both the longevity and quality of your life and those around you. Take control of your life, teach your mind and your body how to relax. Start today!

4 Natural Boosters of Serotonin, our Emotional Fluid

 

Can you imagine your life without emotional peaks and valleys? Sounds impossible, right? What’s possible is to increase your emotional control through enduring changes in lifestyle.

When you wake up relaxed and energized from a good night’s sleep, ready to take on the day – that’s serotonin kicking in.

When you feel depressed, overwhelmed by your daily responsibilities and challenges, you may have a deficit of serotonin.

What is serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries messages between neurons. It plays an important role in regulating your mood, controlling your appetite, helping your blood clot, helping you concentrate, regulating your body temperature, and ensuring a good night’s sleep. As a result, when we have normal levels of serotonin, we feel emotionally balanced and alert.

On the other hand, if we have low levels of serotonin, we may have trouble remembering things, feel depressed, crave sweet or starchy foods, feel anxious or irritable, have trouble sleeping or have feelings of low self-worth.

 

What is the link between serotonin and depression?

Researchers have linked low levels of serotonin in the brain with depression. Back in the 1960s, researchers hypothesized that low levels of serotonin in the brain led to depression. However, this hypothesis has now been debunked.

Instead, it appears that several other factors are also involved in depression. These include:

  • Having a family history of depression
  • Having a hectic lifestyle and having a high level of stress in your life
  • Your relationships at home and in the workplace

Nevertheless, if you have low levels of serotonin, you may be at increased risk of depression. This is where SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) may be helpful. SSRIs are medications which increase the uptake of serotonin in your brain.

Too much of a good thing is bad for us though. Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur if you take too much of an SSRI or if you take many SSRIs at the same time.

If you are looking to recharge your batteries, and need a little extra boost, here are 4 simple ways to naturally boost your serotonin levels:

Bask in bright light

When you go outside for a stretch or even just to gaze at nature, you may have noticed that you tend to come back recharged and better able to concentrate. This is because our brains produce more serotonin when we spend time in bright sunlight.

Is it cloudy outside? Still head outdoors! Even on a cloudy day, the light intensity is still typically brighter than your typical indoor lighting. Alternatively, invest in a high-intensity luxe lamp that simulates bright sunlight.

Eat a healthy diet

Adding more fruits, vegetables and legumes can contribute to a healthy gut. But did you know that having a healthy gut can also boost your serotonin levels?

More than 90% of our serotonin is produced in our digestive tract. Thus, by eating fiber-rich foods which promote gut health such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes we are naturally boosting our serotonin levels.

Foods that are high in tryptophan can also boost your serotonin levels. This is because tryptophan is converted to serotonin in your brain. What foods tend to be high in tryptophan? Protein containing foods such as nuts, lentils, tofu, chicken, fish and eggs.

However, boosting your serotonin levels is not as simple as incorporating protein-rich foods. This is because tryptophan has to compete with other amino acids, in particular the branched chain amino acids for access to our blood-brain barrier, before it can be converted to serotonin in our brain.

How can one overcome this obstacle? Eat more plant-based proteins such as seeds and nuts. Plant-based proteins contain less branched chain amino acids, hence they are better absorbed through the blood brain barrier.

 

Engage in regular exercise

It can be hard to get into exercise mode, particularly if you are down in the dumps. Everything seems like a struggle, particularly working up the motivation to break a sweat. When we exercise, both aerobic and strength, the activity of serotonin in the brain is revved up and the levels of tryptophan in our brain rise.

If fitting exercise into your daily routine seems too difficult, begin with baby steps. Commit to just 5 minutes of a vibrant walk a day for one week. Then the next week, increase it to 10 minutes. Before you know it, you will have built up to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, and reap not only increased serotonin levels but numerous health benefits as well.

 

Be mindful of your thoughts

Just like the saying goes “You are what you eat”, you also become what you think! In a study conducted on healthy participants, those who were told to recall happy memories showed increased serotonin production in their brains. On the other hand, those who were told to recall sad memories showed decreased serotonin production in their brains.

It can be very tempting to ruminate on sad events when we are suffering from depression. But by finding happy things to focus on, we may be able to achieve a happier state of mind.

To think happy thoughts, begin a gratitude journal, practice mindfulness, focus on your strengths rather than your perceived weaknesses, and reminisce about the good times in your life.

 

Life has its ups and downs. By naturally boosting your serotonin levels, you will be able to experience more  “highs” than “lows”. Start right now on the path to feeling happier, more alert, and refreshed every day.