After many years working in the health and fitness industry helping people get fit and healthy I discovered that many of my stressed and tired clients couldn’t reach their weight loss goals. Through trial and error and a lot of research I discovered that a body that is stressed is not likely to drop fat due to a protective mechanism. Now this is due to quite complex hormonal reasons beyond the scope of this short article but I did discover that stress release and relaxation techniques help bring those hormonal imbalances back into line and most importantly people are then able to shed body fat.
Deep breathing exercises are very good for accessing the parasympathetic nervous system which is the part of the autonomic nervous system responsible for the relaxation functions of the body like sleep and digestion. The opposite side of the autonomic nervous system is known as the sympathetic nervous system and this is the side responsible for the flight or fight reflex associated with action in the body.
By simply sitting somewhere quiet and practising deep breathing exercises you can promote the function of the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system which will not only help you feel relaxed but will also improve your well being. Two bouts of ten minutes of deep breathing (breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose) will show very good results in less than two weeks.
Visualisation exercises such as guided meditation exercises are very effective in helping heal and recover from stress and also traumatic events. While I’m not going to claim to be a registered psychologist or counsellor I will describe a few of the techniques I have used and that I teach my clients to use.
One technique I’ve used is to picture a very relaxing place or scene, whether it be a beach or a forest or maybe even a memory from childhood. Along with the deep breathing exercises I mentioned earlier this feeling of being placed in this relaxed environment helps facilitate deep relaxation and may even enable you to drift off into a relaxing sleep. Again, only a few weeks of this type of meditation type practice can reap very good rewards. I have seen clients who have lowered their resting heart rate through these techniques whilst I’ve also seen others begin to drop weight again after hitting a roadblock after beginning these techniques.
The two techniques that I’ve discussed are only two of a number of relaxation exercises or disciplines. Others include yoga, guided meditation, qi gong along with many others. I encourage you to try some of the techniques that I’ve outlined in this article or otherwise find a different one that works for you.
With patient application and a little dedication you’ll be able to see positive results in as little time as one month. However, you may be better served turning your new found skills into a life long discipline. I encourage you to enjoy the journey.