Don’t stand still while the saber-toothed crouches

By Kay Wagner LMP, CPT | Apr 04, 2012

Your boss tells you that your department’s downsizing. Inside your alarm goes off. “What about my mortgage and family?!” your mind screams. Now your adrenals start kicking out cortisol to give you strength to fight or out run the danger. You try to stay calm. “I’ll let you know,” says your boss.

Whether its job security or your child’s illness, your body reacts to the threat as if it were a saber-toothed tiger.

Your body and mind become a fountain of tension, agitation and anxiety. Cortisol has saturated every cell. What to do? MOVE! Don’t stand still while the saber-toothed crouches. Punch, walk, run or drop and do 10.

Drop and do 10? That’s right, push-ups. You may be amazed at the power you feel as you work out. Use the cortisol and increased heart rate to your advantage. Lift weights, do crunches, dance, or kick box. Use movement to move the hormones through your bloodstream.

High levels of cortisol increase the risk of heart disease, arthritis and depression. No wonder the lunchtime 10-30 minute walk reduces the risk of heart attack by 20 percent.

Breathe to stay calm. Four things happen to your breathing when you are under pressure. It becomes faster, louder, more shallow and erratic. Slow your breathing down, and breathe more quietly, deeply and rhythmically.

Belly breathing calms and purifies. Fill your belly with deep breaths. Oxygen is a natural stress reliever. Focus on stress floating out with each exhale.

And deep breathing with deep exhaling massages your heart and lungs, removing cortisol and circulating oxygen.

Car therapy is one time it’s helpful to NOT carpool!

In your car, let out a rebel yell. Don’t censor as you give a voice to your frustrations.

Vocal release and improved breathing when singing have a proven calming influence. Sing your stress out.

Then talk gently to yourself. Reassure the frightened or angry voices inside that you are going to get through this, that we are all facing change.

Stay tall to make space for your heart and lungs and naturally deepen your breathing.

All of these stress relievers increase endorphins, your body’s feel good hormones.

They are a proactive strategy for staying calm in the storm.

With the volatile economy and world’s events, it’s vital that we manage stress. Whether it’s financial, health, or wild animals, we have been given tools to stay focused and calm to face challenges with clarity and purpose.

Kay Wagner LMP & NASM Certified Personal Trainer, leads Seniors Strength Training, Yoga & Pilates at Rosehill Community Center. Kay offers PERSONAL TRAINING & SPA FACIAL MASSAGE in her studio overlooking the mountains and water, at 828 2nd St. in Mukilteo. Call 425-353-4545. “Like” her on Face book @ Kay Wagner Wellness. Visit

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