You’re Grounded! (but in a good way) – Part 1

How to get centered and grounded

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Centering

 

You’ve probably heard about your “center of balance.” This is a physical point where your weight is evenly distributed. In a similar manner, your energy center is also a physical (although invisible) point where your energies are balanced. You become centered by sinking into this point, becoming aware of the flow of your internal energies.

More specifically, centering means focusing on the hara. The hara (in Japanese) or tan t’ien (in Chinese) is the energy center located just below the navel. The hara is the second of the seven energy centers commonly known as chakras. Regarded as the “earth” center, it allows energy from the earth to be gathered up into the pelvis, then relayed out via the arms and hands. It is our center of power, equilibrium and stability, the nucleus of our physical and psychic powers.

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How do we cope with stress?

“we’ve evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick” (Sapolsky)

Biologic stress is not the same as nervous tension. Selye described an environmental view of stress in terms of change and adaptation dictated by life events. Over time, persistent stress may cause the body to adapt—to permanently change, possibly in unhealthy ways. Quality of adaptation to psychological, physical, social, and economic stressors determines quality of life. Failure to adapt leads to what Selye called diseases of adaptation.

According to neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, human beings and related primates suffer stress-related diseases more than any other animals. Man is a smart, organized, social creature with too much spare time and uses that time to stress each other out. According to Sapolsky, “we’ve evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick.”

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Are you at risk for “sitting disease”?

One expert explains why exercise alone won’t prevent it

Have you heard that “sitting is the new smoking”?

A sedentary lifestyle has been implicated in heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. It’s possible to quit smoking (I know how hard that is – I’ve done it). But how do you quit sitting? That’s hardly practical.

Recent articles about health problems associated with prolonged sitting prompted me to re-read Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos, PhD., former Director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division.

After just a few days in space astronauts exhibit symptoms we usually associate with aging: decreased muscle mass and bone density; increased fatigue; slower movement and reaction times; aching joints; slowed metabolism; decreased immune function; disturbances in sleep and balance. Once they resume their normal lives on earth they recover very quickly. Through her studies Vernikos found that immobilization mimics the effects of space travel and concluded it was due to what she calls GDS (gravity deprivation syndrome).

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How can I avoid stress?

Short answer: You can’t, so build resilience

Life is all about change, and change produces  stress. But there is good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress). You wouldn’t want to get rid of the good stress associated with birthdays, weddings, vacations and all the enjoyable things in life. You wouldn’t want to avoid the stress that helps protect you – tells you to remove your hand if you put it down on a hot stove burner or prepares you to run away from a threat. You cannot get rid of acute stress (like accidents) and for the most part human beings handle acute stress episodes fairly well; they are short term and when they are over and done with you recover from them. The stress you want to avoid as much as possible is chronic, low level stress – that’s the stress that hurts health-wise.

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What’s Your Stressotype?

Have you ever noticed that you feel stressed in a situation where someone else does not? How you experience stress is unique to you. That means that how you manage your stress is also unique to you. You may know people who relax through yoga, or meditation, or by listening to classical music. But perhaps those activities hold no attraction for you. Will you find the same relaxation as they do by these means? Probably not.

Your constitution (the various physical, psychological, developmental and environmental factors that make you who you are) can enter into determining the efficacy of any given stress management technique you choose to try.

Just as there are different personality types, studies have found there are different stress types. Five basic categories of stress management skills have also been identified. These findings might help explain why some people seem to handle stress better than others and why some people are more successful at stress management than others.

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