Natural Medicine Q&A
Ask Dr. P
by Kasra Pournadeali, ND
Natural Medicine Specialist
In our hustle & bustle world, do you often miss taking time to relax. Yes, it does sometimes seem as if stress surrounds us. Whether it’s from busy schedules, the behavior of others, work, family issues, or just trying to make ends meet, like it or not stress is a natural part of our lives. Some stress is desirable as it can translate to productivity, call us to action, or mean we’re experiencing a life change or growth. When stress manifests physically however, that’s when your warning bells are sounding. Muscle tension, digestive upset, headaches, mental fog, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue, allergy, and cramps are all warning signs for increased stress. Paying attention to these warning signs, learning coping methods to deal with or defray stress helps you prevent the long-term damage that can result. My advice with stress: take the stress that calls you to action and helps you grow or change, leave the stress that causes heart disease, ulcers, immune suppression, cancer, and high blood pressure behind. Ideas on how to are the focus of this month’s Dr. P. Enjoy!
Dr. P, I’ m so sick of the traffic stress, driving to work. My MD states it’s raising my blood pressure, and I should learn to relax. How? Suzanne
Suzanne, traffic can definitely be a challenge, and studies show that driving to and from work raises a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. There are several things you can do for tension (driving or otherwise). First, as a favorite patient of mine always says, “remember to breathe!” Better yet, when you feel yourself getting tense be conscious of your breathing: Imagine fresh, cleansing air coming in, nourishing your body, and reaching areas of muscle tension. Then, as you exhale, imagine the tension leaving as you exhale toxins from within. Of course, don’t close your eyes, let yourself go limp, or lose track of your environment if you’re driving! Just be conscious of your breathing and relax those areas that are more tense than they need to be.
Second, if stopping for red lights make you tense or worry about being late, remember: “Red is for relax.” Stopping for a red (relax) light is a moment that has been given to you as a gift. Allow yourself to take the moment from your busy day to stop, breathe, and relax. Imagine it really was meant just for you! And, who knows, maybe it was!
Third, and perhaps most important, don’t let OTHERS irritate YOU. I know, I know: “he just cut me off,” or “did you see what she just did?” There will always be others who are less considerate or irritating. Your job is to not let them affect you by amusing yourself or reframing the event. You might say to yourself something like: “His behavior is perfect to help me learn & grow” Or you might say: “That person is so stressed, she will die from a heart attack, or ulcer, much sooner than me. Too bad!” Then smile or laugh! You’d be surprised how difficult it is to stay tense with a big silly grin on your face. Don’t believe me? Try a big silly grin in the mirror now and see what happens! Whatever you decide, remember how YOU respond to stress determines whether you are learning, growing, or simply reacting to a situation. Which do YOU think is best? Are there other things you can do for stress? Of course! Diet, lifestyle, clinical nutrition, plant (herbal) medicines, can all help. Your unique situation determines what is best for you. Start with some of the techniques I’ve described, and then give us a call if you need more help. Next month’s Ask Dr. P will cover why your digestion is the key to your health. Have a great month!
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