Stress-Less

The Pursuit of Happiness

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Tom Meyers offers seven tips on the road to true contentment
Article published in Together Magazine 54 December 2014

The promotion of wellbeing is essential to the pursuit of happiness. Self-Realisation or honing and living your potential and the sense of fulfilment it brings you is one way to promote that wellbeing.

However, self-realisation, being in alignment with your life’s purpose, is a long-term process, a life-long mission, to be enjoyed every step of the way as there is no true end to self-realisation – it is more like a direction than a destination.

Just like a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, it’s not about arriving, it’s about the experiences, the teachings on the way, the stories, the landscapes, the smells, the tastes of the local delicacies, the culture and, of course, the victory over oneself, having walked the distance and fulfilled a dream.

When you arrive you do look back on your achievement, contemplating on how you did it and then look towards the future, ready for the next challenge on your path. Self-Realisation is being in perpetual discovery of oneself, of pealing off the layers, in order to come closer to the real you.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are also about short-term objectives. To have a vision and become who you were born to be is essential, but living is about here and now. Do not get caught up in the vision itself and forget to live in this moment. And that moment is very much in peril in today’s hectic, online, harder, better, faster and stressful environment, where time becomes as elusive as our health, wellbeing and happiness.

You can change the tide and become a master of your own happiness and live a life where you manage your stress. Stress is after all an essential survival response and part of being human. If you’re living a super-human life, stress does become a nuisance.

Research suggests that up to 40% of happiness depends on our habits and activities.

How to promote health, wellbeing and happiness in seven simple steps:

Step 1: Take time-out

If not you, who will do it for you? Taking breaks is essential and short breaks now and then help you to make up time afterwards. This might be counter-intuitive but it’s true. For example when you struggle writing, when you hit that wall, go for a walk, breathe in some fresh air. You’ll feel more focus afterwards.

Step 2: ‘Return to Ease’

Numerous scientific studies have proven that breathing exercises, where you become mindful of your breath and induce a sense of calm and joy, a meditation or a mindfulness exercise, help to reduce anxiety, treat depression, reverse the effects of stress and help you to be more focused. The more you practice the quicker you’ll get back into the zone after a stressful moment.

Step 3: Inner forgiveness

Can you forgive yourself? There is something very liberating in inner forgiveness, which changes your attitude towards a past experience. To be the observer of yourself, your thoughts, your feelings and to forgive yourself by accepting what was and to let go of the anger, fear, rage and other emotions that you feel when recalling an unpleasant memory, to detach from past experiences and to let bygones be bygones. In the process of self- observation and changing your attitude, you self-correct, heal wounds and ultimately alter the direction of your future.

Change your dream and your world changes.

Step 4: Gratefulness

What have you been grateful for recently? Practicing grateful living as inspired by the teachings of Br. David Steindl-Rast is a universal practice that fosters personal transformation, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith dialogue, intergenerational respect, non-violent conflict resolution and ecological sustainability. Instead of seeing the worst in everything, start seeing the opportunities. Stop complaining, pointing the finger at others and take an observer‘s perspective. What has this situation taught you? Then be grateful for the lesson learned.

Step 5: Compassion and altruism

When is the last time you helped someone? Research suggests that meaningful social

interaction helps you to reduce stress and enjoy better mental and physical health.

Step 6: Hugs

Our society is deprived of touch, especially single people and the elderly, and it has a detrimental effect on their health. Hugs have healing power, even hugging yourself. Hugs trigger the release of the hormone oxytocin which is known to be important for trust and a sense of wellbeing by reducing fear. A hug a day keeps…

Step 7: Creativity

When was the last time you created something? Knitting, painting, cooking, ironing, doing the dishes or hands on, physical work are all activities with an end result, which help you gain resilience and prevent and treat depression.

In other words the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is in your hands.

For more health and wellness tips, tune in to the feature Health Matters on www.radiox.eu or visit www.tommeyers.be

TomTom Health Navigator

http://www.togethermag.eu/sites/default/pdf/TOGETHER54.pdf

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Health Matters, School for Dreamers, Together Magazine

Discover your potential

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ nr. 48 on Radio X from 10 November 2014

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to another episode of Health Matters. In Health Matters I share with you my professional experience as an osteopath and stress coach, bring you scientific insights and pass on practical tips how to manage stress and improve your health and well-being.

School for Dreamers Napoli

In last weeks episode, I shared with you that your heart and your gut have an intelligence of their own and that this intelligence can act independently from the control of your brain.

You can tap into that intelligence to improve your health but also to bring more meaning into your life. Meaning is associated with the feeling of fulfilment and increased sense of wellbeing.

Let us stop here for a moment as I would like to remind you of the quest we’re on since September? The quest to find answers to the question: What is health?

For those of you that just started to listen to Health Matters, I highly recommend that you go to the podcast or blog and listen to the previous episodes.

That said and with renewed focus lets continue were we left of.

Intuition and gut feeling, we all have it and at times act accordingly but more often than not we don’t. We do not trust it enough and regret it afterwards. Learning to trust your intuition and gut feeling is like fine-tuning your musical skills by practicing over and over again. How? For example you can do this by repeating the Reaset Breathing exercise or daily practices like mindfulness, meditation or yoga.

While you’re practicing your intuition and gut feeling you can also go on a still deeper personal journey. A journey that takes you to discover your potential or how I like to refer to it the journey to find out your soul-purpose.

You might not believe there is something like a potential pre-destination and that is ok, I had difficulties accepting that too. But today I can look back at 14 years of developing my innate potential and living my soul-purpose or in other words living who I was born to be.

We all come into this world with certain personality traits some of which are dominant others that will develop over time depending on  environmental stimuli. The same is true for your aptitudes, your talents, your unique skills.

You were born with a unique combination of skills that defines who you are just as much as being a man or a woman defines you.

So how do you find your unique skills? I’m sure some you know already but others you don’t and others still you are expressing but don’t see them as anything special but people around you do.

So what I would like you to do this week is answer the following three questions

1. What do you admire in others?

2. What do others admire in you?

3. What have you done that truly made you happy?

Make your answers short and precise.

In the next episode of Health Matters I’ll share with you how to interpret your answers.

Together Magazine Nov 2014

In the meantime have a great day, and I’ll catch up with you again next week. For more information about my presentations or consultations , to visit the blog or to pick up your November copy of Together Magazine please visit my website www.tommeyers.be

 RadioX

Together Magazine

A pain in the neck

Together Magazine 52

Article by Tom Meyers published in Together Magazine 52, October 2014

According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, musculoskeletal pain in the neck, shoulder and back is the most common work- related health problem.

Its increasing prevalence in modern society is concerning, and when left unresolved it contributes to distress at home, loss of productivity and increased absence at work.

Working as an osteopath and Stress-Coach for Body and Mind, most of my patients make an appointment for relief from musculoskeletal pain. When asked about the cause of their discomfort, I mostly hear patients say it is related to working in an office all day: my chair at work isn’t the best, I’m not sitting straight, my computer screen isn’t at the right height, I’ve been working with the computer mouse a lot – in other words, patients most often put the blame for their discomfort on ergonomic or postural issues.

And, yes, prolonged static postures or repetitive movements can lead to muscular chronic tension and eventually pain.

This biomechanical link has been researched extensively, and, although it seems logical, it will

probably surprise you to know that scientific studies show that ergonomics aren’t the main problem. There is in fact only limited evidence for a causal relationship between computer work, computer mouse and keyboard time and neck, shoulder and musculoskeletal pain.

In other words the desk, the mouse, the posture are contributors. However, they aren’t the main cause of your pain.

So what is?

It turns out the biggest contributors to musculoskeletal pain are psychosocial factors, mainly job stress as we try to cope with a heavy workload, deadlines, information overload and reorganization.

On a behavioral level these psychosocial factors prompt you to work longer hours, increase your pace at work and make you take fewer breaks, to give but a few examples.

On a physiological level these factors contribute to triggering the stress response which increases heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol and adrenaline levels and heightens muscular tension.

Chronic stress in turn leads to mood swings, anxiety and depression, and these change your posture and so contribute to musculoskeletal problems.

This combination of biological and psychosocial factors means that we must observe musculoskeletal pain from a ‘biopsychosocial’ perspective.

So the next time you have musculoskeletal pain:

  • Take a moment to reflect what has been happening in your life or at work lately.
  • What are the changes that have taken place and got you all tied-up?
  • How much stress have you experienced lately and what have you done to relax?
  • Are you still carrying the weight on your shoulders of issues from long ago?
  • Have you taken too much on your plate lately?

Take time to understand the true cause of your pain, unwind and be mindful of your beliefs and how others affect you. If pain persists then consider professional help.

For more health and wellness tips, tune in to the feature Health Matters on http://www.radiox.eu or visit www.tommeyers.be

Together Magazine

The World is a reflection of You

Article published in Together Magazine 51, September 2014 p. 29-30

Cover Photo Together magazine 51 Sep 2014

Article written by Tom Meyers

“If only I had…”. “If only I was…” Stop right there and reflect on the following phrase ‘The world is a chewing gum: it takes the shape of your teeth’ coined by Professor Stefano D’Anna author of the personal development book ‘The School for Gods’.

The essence of this quote is that you are the creator of your environment, that your environment is the sole creation of your being, your thoughts, mind and body.

When you are constantly living outside of yourself, when you’re never satisfied with what you have, you’ll never find true happiness or peace within.

You are the only one that can change when you are not happy with what you have with whom or what you’re surrounded with, by creating the change within. To emphasise this with a famous quote that is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: ‘be the change that you want to see in the world’.

Although it is contested that Gandhi really said this the deeper meaning of the message I know from personal and professional experience it to be true.

To illustrate this imagine you are a person weighing 70 kilo’s that feels depressed, how do you feel and how does the world look like? Now you are that same person 70 kilo’s but happy, how do you feel and how does the world look like now?

Same person with a different state of body and mind, experiences the world very differently. I invite you to take some time and reflect on this and come up with a few examples from your own life when you felt happy or sad and how you looked at the world in the different dynamics.

The world is because you are, taking control of who you are and  appreciating what you have are key to living the life you want to live. Become present, mindful and reclaim your responsibility for your health and wellbeing, thoughts and actions and the world around you will shape itself like a mirror image. So it is as within, so without. Your outside world is really the exact reflection of your inner world.

The time is now to stop and return to ease by not wanting more or being different then you are. It’s time for integrity to return, to look again within and bring out the dream you want to see in the world by nurturing that dream within and in the present.

For the days when it all seems impossible, when a veil of clouds are hindering the light. Take time-out, focus on your breathing for a few minutes and add a mantra – which is a phrase you repeat consciously out loud or internally – from the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono. This mantra is very simple and helps to dissipate created gloominess or powerlessness through reconciliation and forgiveness to yourself.

Exercise

Start focusing on your breath and slow it down to a cycle of 6 breaths a minute, then add the mantra ‘I’m sorry, Please forgive me, thank you, I love you’. Feel the words spoken to yourself and repeat until you feel tensions dissolve and ease return.

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realise that you control your own destiny.’ Albert Ellis, psychologist

Tom

For more health and wellness tips, tune in to the feature Health Matters on www.radiox.eu or visit www.tommeyers.be

Stress-Less

Pressure vs Stress

Pressure

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 5 May 2014

I’m Tom Meyers Stress coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters.

Pressure and stress are words that are often used interchangeably, but what is the difference?

Pressure is the feeling of urgency caused by the necessity of doing or achieving something.

The word pressure is especially used in connection with limited time-frame… like you can be under pressure to achieve a deadline. Pressure can also be a force that others or you put on yourself and that motivates you, makes you achieve your goals, pass exams or helps you to perform better.

We’re hard wired for pressure as it encourages us to continually grow and push our boundaries. Sometimes we also refer to it as positive stress.

However pressure doesn’t always lead to a positive outcome. Some forms of pressure can have the opposite effect then the one desired it can make you unmotivated and weak when you need to be strong, fail your exams or decrease your performance. For example you can feel the negative side of pressure when you unexpectedly, have to give a presentation but you really don’t like speaking in front of an audience. Another example could be you’re asked to perform a certain task but you don’t have the skills or knowledge to do it or just not enough time to do it in.

This type of oppressive pressure,… but also too much unwavering pressure, without the needed recovery time leads to stress.

Stress

Insufficient pressure on the other hand isn’t without consequences either. Lack of pressure or challenges at work can lead to boreout and this isn’t because the person is lazy.

Boreout

Boreout is when there is not enough stimulus in other words not enough pressure and can lead to lack of drive, inability to enjoy life, fatigue and underperformance.

Stress on the other hand, when used to describe a subjective feeling is experienced when the demands put on you outweigh you’re ability to cope with them and is regulated on a biological level by the stress response.

Stress is often described as the ‘fight and flight’ mode, an adaptation response inherited from our prehistoric ancestors that had to protect themselves from physical threats and is associated with among other things the increase of the sympathetic nervous systems and the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

In other words when it comes to pressure versus stress, pressure is a stressor that can act as a motivator. However, when pressure gets out of hand or isn’t kept under control it leads to stress that in turn becomes harmful for your health.

The ability and scope to cope with pressure are different for everyone and depend on: gender, age, genetics, previous experience, skills, knowledge and the specific situation,…

Ease

Tips to ease pressure:

  • Take more time to relax
  • Follow stress management courses
  • Implement stress management – relaxation exercise
  • Stay positive and keep things in perspective

For more tips pick up your copy of this months Together Magazine or go to their website tomgethermag.eu

I’m Tom Meyers Osteopath and Stress Coach for Body and Mind and contributor of thought to your health and wellbeing.

For more information about my work and presentations on understanding and managing stress, visit the website tommeyers.be

Stress-Less

What is Health?

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 7 April 2014

I’m Tom Meyers Stress coach and welcome to this weeks episode of Health Matters.

Health Awareness Week Radio X

Today is World Health Day and the start of the Health Awareness Week here on Radio X. A week were the question ‘What is Health?’ will be discussed, reflected upon and given the attention it deserves.

Last week I shared with you the definition of health and reflected on the element if health is a state or a process.

Today lets look at the origin of the word health. Health comes from the Germanic word heil meaning being whole or wholeness.

Now lets use this wholeness reference to our question ‘what is health?’ as you could reframe it to What does it mean to be whole?

Mm sound even more difficult to answer then what is health well think again. Go back into memory lane and think of that day where everything flowed, where you felt one with yourself and the environment, even the Universe itself.

You remember that day? Yes that day, the day where all your senses seemed more in tune and that you could handle anything that was put in front of you.

That day, you – felt ‘whole’. You see that was easier then you thought at first wasn’t it?

But what was it that made you feel that way? Have you ever taken the time to reflect what the elements where that made that moment so special?

If not then I  really recommend you to take some time to reflect on this as you might find some amazing truths about yourself. And those truths leading to knowing and being mindful of yourself are great contributors to living your wholeness and that in turn has a positive effect on your health.

When you put that knowledge to good use I can assure you it will put into motion a great health promoting dynamic process.  And I say this from personal experience.

And yes it takes time and with our never ending to do lists it seems impossible to take that time-out but then that never ending to do list makes you ill and taking time-out makes you healthy… mmm yes eeuh… What? It’s your choice. It’s part of that human trait you call free-will that makes you responsible to do or do not.

Anyway I hope you continue listening to the various contributions on ‘What is Health’ during the Health Awareness Week. Interact with us on Facebook or email. Tell us your interpretation of health and continue the conversation with your family friends and colleagues.

And get your copy of the April edition of Together Magazine where you can read this weeks Health Matters feature (p.34-37) and lots more contributions on health and wellbeing. Don’t find a copy then go to their website  togethermag.eu

Together Magazine 47

I’m Tom Meyers health coach and contributor of though to a healthier way of living.

If you like to know more about my consultation work and stress management presentations then visit the website tommeyers.be

Stress-Less

Recognise and Change

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X  from 03 March 2014

I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters.

Last week I talked about how important it is to have down-time after working hours and that some big companies are taking action as the cost of sickness due to work-stress is getting out of proportion.

Not surprising as work-related stress is now being considered one of the biggest health challenges in Europe. In Belgium it is estimated that 2 out of 3 employees are affected by it.

The impact of stress on your health, wellbeing and the economy can’t be left ignored anymore with personal suffering, increased sick days and social and economic consequences being very real and present.

However and as I mentioned before it is amazing how little effort it really takes to make the difference. Increased stress level awareness followed by small adaptations to lower the stress response can make the difference between being ailed by stress or living and working with ease.

How to recognise that stress has got you in its grip is an important factor to changing the tide. So lets have a look.

Physical signs: Neck, shoulder or back pain, tension headaches, digestive problems,…

Emotional signs: Negative thoughts, loss of motivation and mood swings.

Mental signs: Confusion, difficulty to concentrate, memory loss

Behavioural changes: Seep disturbance, increased smoking, drinking or medication intake.

Specific work-related stress signs are deteriorating relationships among colleagues, increased staff turnover and numbers of employees being absent due to sickness.

Once you recognize that you’re stressed acknowledge it and respond ,don’t let it drag on.

Here are some tips to help yourself.

Seek professional help when you feel you’re not in control anymore.

Take care of your physical and emotional health by learning and implementing daily health promoting behavior. Don’t postpone taking care of your health till it gets calmer at work or at home. That day might never come when you haven’t got your stress levels under control in the first place.

Take regular breaks and don’t feel guilty about it. To perform well, regular pauses to clear your mind is not a waste of time as it will make you more and not less productive.

Don’t over-commit yourself.

When work or your workload gets out of hand talk it over with a colleague. Sharing or connecting with others has proven to be a great way to reduce the pressure.

Make sure you take enough time to unwind when the work day is over or at the weekend. Have a look at your diary is there still room for you?

With ever changing demands, more to do and less time to do it in…. reflection on how to stay healthy and health promoting behavior isn’t a luxury and must be seen as a personal and social priority.

On tommeyers.be you can download a free copy of ‘Reaset: The return of Ease’ with information, exercises and free audio to breathe your stress away and help you to drift into ease.

I’m Tom meyers, Osteopath DO, Stress Coach for Body and Mind, Public Speaker and contributor of thought to a healthier way of living and working.

Stress-Less

Stress at Work

 Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X  from 10 February 2014

I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach and welcome to Health Matters here on Radio X. In Health Matters I take a closer look at the S word that has become one of the biggest challenges to our health and wellbeing STRESS.

And this week I like to focus on a the shocking figure of 64. A recent survey organised by the Social Security company Securex and taken from 1.318 employees came to the scary conclusion that 64% of employees in Belgium are faced with stress at work.

I say it again 64% that is 2 employees out of 3 and it indicates an increase of stress at work with 18% since 2010.

The survey goes further and highlights that in 27% of employees or 1 in 4 that stress at work leads to physical and psychological health problems. 

Most common problems related to stress at work are tensions, headaches, heart palpitations, insomnia, concentration loss, depressed mood and being angry more quickly. These conditions lead to reduced productivity and creativity but also increased absence at work which lies between 6 to 20 days depending on the severity of the tension that has build up.

As an osteopath and stress coach I can’t stress enough how important it is to take stress more seriously as it is effecting us big time socially, psychologically, physically and leaves a big imprint on our economy.

Health is something that matters today and can’t be postponed till tomorrow and health promoting behaviour starts with information. You need to get to know what stress is and why it has become a nuisance. Once that is understood you will understand what you can do about. 

What rests is then taking the time to implement health promoting behaviour and only you can do that for yourself. You’ll be surprised to find out how, just a little investment of your time will make a huge impact.

Need ideas then join me at the Understanding and Managing Stress presentation I’m giving for the organisation Professional Women International. It will take place near Montgomery in Etterbeek on the 20th of February. It is an open event and yes you men you are welcome too on this occasion.

For more information gort tommeyers.be where you also find the link to download your free copy of ‘Reaset: The return of Ease’ the eBook I’ve written with practical information and easy to implement exercises to keep those stress levels in check. 

And if you haven’t done so already pick up your copy of Together Magazine today where you’ll find last weeks episode of Health Matters and some great ideas and discounts on Health Promoting activities.

Together Magazine 45 Feb 2014

I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach for Body and Mind and contributor of thought to your health and wellbeing.

Stress-Less

Health is in your Hands

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X  from 3 February 2014

I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach for Body & Mind and welcome to Health Matters here on Radio X. In Health Matters I take a closer look at the S word that has become one of the biggest challenges to our health and wellbeing STRESS.

And this weeks episode is a very special as you will find the complete text as an article in the February edition of Together Magazine (#45, February 2014) which is handed out for free around the eu institutions.

Together Magazine 45 Feb 2014

Stress is a constant factor in our modern life. With increasing demands at work, social and personal challenges, extensive to do lists, pressures and time constraints, we have pushed our body unwillingly over the tipping point of self-regulation.

In other words our modern non-stop lifestyle makes us sick. 

Like a thief in the night, stress robs you from your health and wellbeing.

The good news is that health is in your hands. You yourself can make the difference and help yourself and others to live fully with a healthy stress-ease balance.

The first step towards that balance is knowledge… knowing the basics of what chronic stress is as stress itself is not the problem but when it becomes a constant in your life it will.

Chronic stress on a biological level is when your autonomic nervous system is in a constant fight and flight mode and your relaxation and regeneration mode in other words your healing mechanism is switched off….

To give health a chance the solution is very logical start implementing behaviour that activates that relaxation response and thus allow your body to the time to heal.

Yep in theory it’s that simple and you are the key.

How do you activate that relaxation response? Well as you are unique that question is a really difficult one to answer.

But think about what your body needs to really relax, recuperate and regenerate. Sometimes it might be that it is just doing nothing and by not feeling guilty about it.

Think and analyse all those things you say you should do but don’t when it comes to health promoting behaviour.

What upsets you but are you still doing to please others? What’s your mindset like? Work, we all have to do and changing jobs isn’t always an option but how can you improve your current job situation is it causing you stress? Over what aspect of your social or personal life or work don’t you have control? How can you gain more control over that situation?

All of these questions are important to look at if stress has gotten under your skin. Yes it takes time … and yes you might need some help with it. Don’t and… well I think you get the picture.

But before you begin on an introspective journey I really recommend that you start to practice a breathing exercise. It is scientifically proven that  practicing breathing exercises 3 times a day contributes to health and a feeling of wellbeing.

On tommeyers.be you can download your free copy of ‘Reaset: The return of Ease’ an eBook with practical information on how the breathe your stress away.

If you like to read this episode of Health Matters then pick up your printed copy of Together Magazine today or download the pdf version on togethermagazine.eu

Stress-Less, Together Magazine

Stress: Conflict between biology and culture

Together Magazine #43 Nov 2013

Article by Tom Meyers

Together Magazine: November 2013

Stress, what is it? Why has stress become such a nuisance? What can I do about it These three questions are pertinent when you look at some recent health statistics:

  • In 2011 stress levels increased by 48% according to a global business survey
  • 70 to 95% of all illnesses are related to stress
  • 1.1 million Belgians use antidepressants
  • In 2011, 13,5 million boxes of sleeping pills were sold in Belgium
  • 1 in 4 Belgian employees is at risk of burn-out

Why has stress become such a problem for your health, relationships and our economy?

What is stress?

An instinctive biological survival response Stress is an autonomic response to stressors, resulting in biological changes that have an impact on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Stressors are a wide range of stimuli from thoughts to arguments, emails or phone calls to traffic, work or environmental pollution. Stressors activate the sympathetic nervous system, the section of your autonomic nervous system that makes you alert, that tells you to fight or flee in order to protect you from danger. While this system is activated, the parasympathetic nervous system – which is all about relaxation, recuperation and regeneration (in other words it’s the rest and healing module) – is inhibited.

Why has stress become a nuisance?

Stress is the conflict between biology and culture I invite you to have a look around you and notice the tools and gadgets you’re surrounded with in your office or at home. Why did we make all of these fabulous things? Wasn’t it so you had more time to relax, make life easier? However, what are you doing with the time given to you: work, check emails, sit on the sofa and watch TV, or rush around? What’s your pace of life and lifestyle? Do you work longer hours, move less often, worry more? Is there still time for you to unwind, to let your body recuperate and regenerate from the efforts it has been through and replenish its resources? A cheetah can run at 100 km per hour but only for 30 seconds. It can only pull off an effort like that twice a day and to be able to do that it needs to rest for the rest of the day to recover. How much time do you spent recovering? Or do you feel guilty as so many of us do when we’re doing or seem to be doing nothing? A client told me she could not take time out from working to practice a three-minute breathing exercise three times a day. She looked at me as if I was from another planet when I asked her why she didn’t go outside with the smokers when they went on their breaks? She said: “Oh, no I couldn’t do that, what would they think of me?” I was dumbfounded. Smokers are encouraged to go for a walk, to go outside and they take time-out, albeit breathing in polluted air. To go out and breathe fresh air for health reasons has become unacceptable behaviour!? How did things get this way? Why do we feel guilty when we’re doing nothing, even though it is an essential part of healthy behaviour? Stress has become a nuisance. Seen from a biological perspective there is no longer naturally occurring means of stimulating relaxation, regeneration and recuperation. We are always ‘switched on’, in a fight or in flight even when there is no immediate danger. This leads to a chronic increase in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate and muscle tensions – especially in neck, back and shoulders. It reduces blood flow to your stomach and digestive system, lowers immunity, makes you more on edge and anxious, lowers your concentration levels and creativity – to name but a few. Over time, chronic stress can lead to depression and burn-out. And all the while that sympathetic nervous system is active, your parasympathetic nervous system (your healing system) is defective.

Stress, what can you do about it?

Take a break and reaset to return to ease Here are some useful tips: 1: Breathe in for five seconds followed by five seconds of breathing out by letting go of the breath. Repeat this exercise for three minutes, three times a day. 2: Same breathing exercise but now while breathing slowly feel a sense of wellbeing within you. For example imagine the sun warms your body and feel the sensation within. 3: Same breathing exercise while holding (not rubbing) the temples 4: Take time to walk around after 90 minutes working behind the computer. 5: Tense your shoulder muscles by bringing your shoulders towards your ears while breathing in and let go while breathing out. 6: Whatever you do enjoy doing it. 7: Make a list of values and see how you can integrate them into your current lifestyle. 8: Remember that time doesn’t come to you, you need to take time. 9: Don’t feel guilty about taking a break and relaxing. 10: Get a professional massage or bodytreatment now and then FREE eBook: ‘Reaset the return of Ease’ and where you will also find more information about stress on www.tommeyers.be