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Five Ways to Encourage Rest and Digest_Final

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>> Hello again. Now that you have a solid understanding of how stress affects the body, let's talk about what you and your clients really want to know about. Solutions. In this lecture, we'll discuss how you can help your clients thrive and achieve better health by managing their stress levels. Recall that if a person is in fight or flight mode, whether the threat is real or perceived, their body can't properly digest food, in this state, oxygen and blood are diverted away from the gut. The body produces less saliva, digestive enzymes, and stomach acid. The goal is not to eliminate all stress since that's not realistic, but you can help your client, train themselves to eat in a relaxed state. The goal is to educate and support your clients in getting out of fight or flight mode and into a state of rest and digest. Otherwise, their digestion will be compromised no matter how healthy they eat or how many supplements they take. How your clients eat is just as important as what they eat. Teach your clients to practice taking a few moments to breathe, get grounded, and put everything else aside before sitting down to meals and snacks. This can be much easier said than done for many clients, especially those who are overworked and constantly on the go, but the benefits are numerous. For the client who is constantly stressed and on the go, this alone can create a significant shift before even making any changes to their diet. To help your clients bring their bodies into rest and digest mode, I'm going to take you through my top five rules for creating a relaxed meal. You can share a new tip with your clients each session and then encourage them to go home and try it over the next week. Ready? Let's dive right in. Leave any problems behind. The first thing you want to emphasize to your clients is to leave whatever is going on at the kitchen door and practice hitting pause on any stressful thoughts or activities during meal time. Can you help your clients create a ritual or a reminder that can signify a transition? For example, maybe some clients would find it helpful to leave a worry jar on the kitchen counter that they can visualize putting their stress or worries into before they sit down to eat. Also, many of my clients have found that plating their food in an esthetically pleasing way can serve as a ritual that helps them focus on the current moment. Whether it's a home cooked meal or a Chinese take-out, arranging your food on a plate and setting the table with silverware can slow you down and create a familiar ritual that brings the body into a calm state, reminding it that this is a time for nourishment. When you set the intention to put problems aside and make meal time sacred, you give the body a chance to relax. This is more than just a nice idea, it's functional. What you feel impacts your guts? Gut motility, inflammation, and the entire digestive process. Create body awareness. Have you ever polished off a whole pint of ice cream or bowl of food without even realizing it? Eating is a physical activity, but so often our minds wander off to far off places and we become disconnected from the process of eating and digesting. When this happens, we don't hear the body's cues. Encourage your clients to come back into their bodies when they eat. Savoring each bite and noticing the tastes and textures of food is a conscious practice of awareness. There are numerous body awareness techniques you can recommend to clients to help them tune in to their bodies while they eat. These can be simple as paying attention to their breathing. Taking three deep breaths before a meal or focusing on a calming word or an image that conjures up a feeling of peace. You can suggest that your clients track the sensations they feel in their body. For example, do certain foods make them feel hot, cold, or tingly? This type of tuning in process gets the clients to focus on the present moment. This inward focus can serve as a reminder to the body that no threats are actually present in that its inestative nourishment and enjoyment. Express gratitude, it used to be very common and still is in many parts of the world to say a prayer or blessing or express gratitude when sitting down to the table before having a meal. For many Americans, this is a practice that has gone to the wayside. Expressing gratitude for one's food doesn't have to be a religious act. Pausing to reflect on the abundance in your life and to acknowledge what you have and value can be grounding and relaxing. This sets the tone for the meal ahead. You can encourage your clients to find the way that works for them to acknowledge their gratitude at the start of a meal, whether it's for the food in front of them or for what they appreciated that day. Positive thoughts of any kind will help the body enter a state of rest and digest. One great practice is to spend a moment of awareness for all that went in to getting the food to your plate. Close your eyes and visualize the nourishment in the food that comes from the earth, the farmers and producers, and all the hands that went into caring for and preparing your meal. Pause to look at your food, taking it in with your eyes, smell the food, taking in the aroma to start enjoying the food before it even reaches your mouth and to get the salivary glands going. Once the saliva is pumping, you're tapping into the parasympathetic nervous center. Eat without distraction. Now I know that some of your clients will try to rebel against this one, but encourage them to create a work and technology free zone during meal times. Whenever possible, they should leave their workspace for lunch and ban phones and devices from the table. This rule is so easy to break. Our lives have become so fast pace that most of us either intentionally use this time to multitask or compulsively reach for a device or distraction. But think about it, how optimal can your digestion be if you're eating your lunch while rushing to finish the project, looking up pictures of your ex on Facebook or reading news articles about a disaster in another country. Even if you're not answering emails, calls, or texts, just seeing the notification pop-up can be stressful. At best, we're distracted and disconnected from our food and our bodies when we don't make eating the only activity on the table. It can be helpful to explain to your clients who have trouble putting down their work to eat that the brain can only focus well for 50 to 90 minutes before needing a break. Therefore, they'll actually be more productive by taking the time out. Help your clients get in the habit of doing nothing but eating when it's time to eat. This will also help them to create awareness in the body and to the present moment. Without eliminating distractions, it will be near impossible to do that. Dine in pleasant surroundings. Lastly, help your client set the scene for a calming meal. This includes clearing the table of clutter, creating a pleasant tablescape, putting on soothing music, and maybe even lighting a candle. If the weather is pleasant, dining outside can create a positive shift. Remind your clients that they don't have to be on a date to set the mood. Also, encourage your clients to eat with friends and loved ones whenever possible. Have you ever heard of Blue Zones? These are regions around the world that are studied for their longevity. Each Blue Zone has a different diet, but a similarity that's been found across the board is that those who live longer frequently share meals with friends and loved ones in some sort of celebratory manner. To recap, our top five tips for how to encourage rest and digest, or to leave problems behind at meal time, create body awareness, express gratitude, eat without distraction, and dine in pleasant surroundings. The GI tract works best when the mind and body are calm, allowing the majority of circulating blood to go to the abdominal area and allowing the nervous system to focus on digestive functions. The goal is not to make all of our clients stress disappear, but to improve digestion by creating an environment for the sympathetic nervous system to deactivate around meal time, so that the parasympathetic nervous system can do its job to release digestive enzymes and produce saliva and stomach acid. Just like you can't drive with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake, the body can't engage both systems at the same time. Awareness is key for creating change. Helping your clients identify when they're stressed and how to switch more consciously from sympathetic to parasympathetic functions can be a tool for a better health and may even tap into some of their deeply rooted digestive ailments. Yogis have been consciously manipulating their bodily rhythms for centuries. This awareness of how to bring consciousness to the stress response is not new. Some of it has just been forgotten. Remember, you can either choose to stress or digest, so choose wisely. It's important as Health Coaches to walk or talk. So I encourage you to choose one of the five tips discussed in this lecture to practice this week. And be sure to stop by the Facebook group to let us know how it goes. Thanks for tuning in. See you next time.

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Duration: 10 minutes and 26 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: ninaz on Mar 22, 2018

Five Ways to Encourage Rest and Digest_Final

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