Finding tranquility within to achieve a stress- free day
Strip yourself of stress the natural way
Everyone’s lives can be peppered with stress. From busy entrepreneurs to stay-at-home moms, college students to corporate managers, points of tension are inevitable. What matters isn’t the stress itself, however, but how we deal with it.
Eileen Tupaz, yoga instructor and co-founder of White Space Mind and Body Wellness Studio, gives key pointers on breathing through stress and finding relaxation naturally.
Tupaz says that exercise boosts the production of endorphins, which counter the negative effects of stress. She also notes that on a mental level, exercise allows us to forget daily life irritations and helps create a sense of calm and clarity.
As a yoga instructor, Tupaz is used to meditation. “It boosts our physical health and immunity,” she says. The American Heart Association in 2013 conducted research that shows how transcendental meditation lowers blood pressure, helping counter hardening of the arteries and development of heart failure. The practice also helps increase neurons in the brain’s hippocampus, which is related to learning and memory. Meditation also reduces the volume of neurons in the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with anxiety and stress.
“There are some foods that are natural stress-relievers. Many are widely available here in the Philippines,” Tupaz says. Green and leafy vegetables produce dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical that can help you feel calm. Avocados contain stressrelieving B vitamins, while dark chocolate contains anandamide, a neurotransmitter that blocks feelings of pain and depression (albeit temporarily).
“Mindfulness refers to the practice of focusing one’s attention on the thoughts, feelings, and sensations arising in the present moment,” says Tupaz. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tackled 19,000 meditation studies and garnered results suggesting that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.
“Because it’s our thoughts and feelings about a person or a situation that stress us out for the most part, this mastery allows us to determine whether we actually experience stress or not,” Tupaz says.