When the music just isn’t doing it….

busy-brain

Does your brain ever feel so busy that you are sure it’s about to explode?  Usually a good dance to loud music or exercise (on my good health days) really helps to clear the noise and get clarity on my thoughts.  Music is a wonderful tool for the brain, I live for music!  I wrote a previous blog about it’s therapeutic qualities which you can read here.  But lately neither exercise or music have worked.

It’s been a very difficult few months; health flare ups, massive issues with my youngest baby’s education (or lack of, but that’s whole other rant!); studying; exams; life.  I’ve been running on an empty-autopilot state for the past few months, under huge demands, not really processing much, just fire-fighting situations and trying to get through my exams.

If you follow me on social media, then you will know that despite everything going on (and being a single mummy to two wonderful quirky kids!) that my hard work paid off – I am now a fully qualified Fitness Instructor, YAY!  This means I can better meet the needs of my clients, rather than simply focussing on good nutrition.  But I will write more about that another time, sooooo exciting!

Anyway, back to my busy brain……side tracked again!  So when music and exercise fail to clear my mind sufficiently, I jump in the car and head to one of my special places to reflect and sort the crap.  I have four main special places which help me to reflect:

  1. Cardiff Bay – this is not so much the ‘place’ but who I feel close to when I am there; miss you always xxx.
  2. Caerphilly Mountain – this is a few minutes from where I live so I head there quite often if I need a quick ‘fix’ and can’t get to Cardiff Bay.
  3. My Aunty’s grave in Gloucestershire – although since moving away I haven’t had much opportunity to visit.  I need to make more time, I’m sorry.
  4. Torquay – before the babies came along, any sign of trouble or overwhelm and I was straight in that car!  Sometimes I didn’t even pre-book accomodation, just knocked on hotel doors until I found space.  These days I have to be less spontaneous due to said babies.  But we still enjoy heading to the ‘English Riviera’ once a year, although not much peace these days to reflect!

So, today I was meant to be going for a swim during my two hours of childfree time as it helps my Lymphoedema and EDS.  But instead I got the pull to grab the dog (we are looking after the most gorgeous doggie this week for a friend!) and head to Cardiff Bay.  I’ve hardly slept in weeks, so this busy head needed to empty!

It may sound odd, but when I reflect I am able to visualise a spreadsheet where I can sort all my tasks, thoughts, feelings etc into tables and columns to give me more clarity on situations.  It doesn’t necessarily always stop my brain being as busy, but stops a lot of the rushing around and muddling that can happen when i’ve been running on autopilot too long.

I envy those who successfully manage to meditate each day.  I just don’t have the alone time or patience for it, so for me I have to ‘reflect’ on the go which probably isn’t the most productive way to sort a busy brain, but hey life and shit happens.  So a calming walk around the Bay was the ‘meditation’ I really needed – I won’t dwell on the part where I had to pick up the biggest dog shit from right outside Starbucks – thanks Douglas for your audience witnessed crap! 

Welcome to my random life 😉

 

Amy Griffiths, Well Being Freedom Services Ltd ©

Does Stress Cause Cancer?

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We all know stress is bad for us.  It makes us feel on edge, become irrational perhaps, affects our sleep and mood, along with causing physical symptoms such as stomach upsets.  But have you ever thought about the damage long-term stress can have on your body?

When stress first occurs, Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) is released into the blood from the tiny pituitary gland found at the base of the brain.  When the hormones reach the adrenals (two small glands above the kidneys), it causes their cortex to produce cortisone and other messengers. It’s these adrenal cortex hormones that quickly prepare us to meet the emergency facing us.

Next, protein is drawn away from the thymus and lymph glands and converted into sugar for instant energy, causing a sudden rush in blood sugars. Any other sugars stored in the liver as starch or glycogen can also be instantly converted into energy if needed.  Our blood pressure then increases; minerals are taken from the bones; fat stores are moved; and high amounts of salt are retained.  This is known as the ‘alarm reaction’ and commonly referred to as the ‘fight or flight’ response; our bodies are preparing to battle danger or flee from it.

If stress continues past this point, the body attempts to repair itself, often referred to as the ‘stage of resistance.’  However, when stress is continuous over a prolonged period of time, it can make repair extremely difficult, leaving your body a target for disease; such as cancer for example.

Now, we are not saying that stress causes cancer directly.  BUT if cancer rates are increased by physical carcinogens in our environment, sure the psychosocial carcinogens (i.e. stress) must have an impact too?

Dr Paul J. Rosch, M.D., F.A.C.P. President, The American Institute of Stress says; “What determines resistance or susceptibility to cancer? Behavioral factors and inappropriate responses to stress must also be considered along with genetic factors in attempting to understand why some individuals develop cancer.”  Dr Rosch also goes onto say; “Impaired host resistance due to disturbances in immune system function seem to be an important factor.”

So whilst cancer may not be solely attributed to stress alone; it can and does have a very significant effect upon a person’s susceptibility to the disease; the rate in which it progresses; and ultimately the recovery success too.

Finding ways to manage the external stresses thrust upon us is therefore essential in building our resistance to disease.

So, here are some of my top suggestions for keeping a calmer balance to your life:

  • Good balanced nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Laughter
  • Dancing (you know me, any excuse!)
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness thinking
  • Relaxation techniques
  • ‘Tapping’ (aka Emotional Freedom Technique)

 

Amy Griffiths, Well Being Freedom Services Ltd ©