STEP ONE: Start with diaphragmatic breathing.
Anyone can do this at any time and it’s completely free – so #winning! Basically, if you’re feeling stressed this can be your technique in that moment to break the cycle. It’s used to treat anxiety, insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome.
1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
2. Relax your shoulders.
3. Put one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach.
4. Breathe in through your nose for about 4 seconds. Your abdomen expands outward but you want to keep your chest relatively still.
5. Hold the breath for 2 seconds.
6. Purse your lips (as if you’re about to drink through a straw), press gently on your stomach, and exhale slowly for about six seconds.
7. Repeat these steps several times for best results.
STEP TWO: We need strategies to control our stress. This means controlling what we can to make it manageable – meditation, self-care, exercise, adequate sleep. All of these things can contribute to better stress management. We need to focus on them during this time.
STEP THREE: We want to optimize our gut. If you know me then you already know the answer – maximum plant-based diversity. This means adding extra plants to your daily routine to make your microbes happy. Look for ways to sneak one or two extra plants into each meal, or head to the supermarket and try something new.
When we combine diet, lifestyle interventions, and having a strategy for what to do during times of stress we can get our mind and our gut into alignment, break free from the suppression and get back to thriving once more.