PNI PNI, or psychoneuroimmunology is what many health professionals specialize in today. They use three methods to measure the immune system, the nervous system, and the brain. One, they take blood samples from human or animal participants who have been exposed to different degrees of stress and count the number of lymphocytes and other white blood cells in the bloodstream. Second, they extract blood, add cancerous tumor cells to the mix, and measure the degree at which the natural killer cells destroy the tumors. Last, this method "challenges" the organism by injecting a foreign agent into the skin and measuring the amount of swelling that arises at the site of the injection. The more swelling, the stronger the immune reaction. In one study conducted in 1994, forty-eight adult volunteers were paid to take a harmless but novel protein pill every day for twelve weeks. It would lead the immune system to respond by producing an antibody. The participants also gave daily saliva samples that were later used to measure the amount of antibody produced. The more positive events participants experienced in a given day, the more antibody was produced and vice versa. Brehm, Kassin, Fein. Social Psychology. Sixth edition.
Everyday Stress Release
Breathing focus, and release
Before I tackle stress, I must let it glide through me and upwards and out through the top of my head. I can choose whether these particles attack me, or leave my body, dissolving into nothingness and non-existence. Breathing technique I have learned to correct. In panic mode, sometimes one either stops breathing passageways or hyperventilates. Incorrect breathing stops airflow to the brain and starves it of activity. Even just during the day, when working on a task, I can be more conscious of my breathing pattern. It calms the body, and maintains a collected rhythm that soothes. It becomes a focal point for a stressful situation. When I am by the sea or in the mountains, what is the first instinct I have?-to take in the fresh air and be vitally alive with nature.
2. Positive self-talk, positive affirmation Carl Jung calls “the constant mental chatter of the ego “psychic tension.” The human needs equilibrium. Some thoughts we cannot keep from having, but replacing them with positive affirmations is a way of life that can be created or regained over time.
3. Guided Imagery There is little time to resent my stress, so it is important to understand it and empathize with it. During guided imagery, I can create new memories, continuing to work towards mental peace. With guided imagery, I am participating in my well-being. Listening to recorded tapes, or just imagining my favorite scenery works. Examples: Walking through my flowers in slow motion, loved ones meeting each other at the airport, a cottage clean-up scene, the smell of salty ocean air and rippling waves, the calmness and depth of a forest walk.
4. Meditation Meditation can unlock insights for greater understanding or purpose, calm my body, and progressively fight the damage wreaked by long-term stress on the mind and body. Meditating while walking is best for me, because I am active, and focusing on each step I take.
5. Herbs and essential oils Smell is our strongest memory faculty; lavenders, frankincense, etc. Herbs are often neglected when cooking; turmeric with black pepper Learn which herbs accomplish which health function.
6. Progressive muscle relaxation Example: before bed, during a panic stressor, run through each muscle flex and release
7. Yoga as a morning routine Sun-set salutation is empowering and a good way to start the day. It is amazing how the human body can stretch, while coordinating stretch with thoughtfulness of mind-body connection.
8. Remind myself that I do not own the world’s problems The news, while necessary to watch or read, can be saddening and discouraging. I have to remember that I cannot help everyone, and this relieves stress. I am not responsible for the world’s problems. I am not the Greek god, Atlas, the image of him holding the world on his shoulders is disheartening.