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How's your morning stress switch? 
I sleep through my alarm, i wake up in a rush, my heartbeat races and there is no hot water and i forgot to buy milk! I feel like a failure as my children or grandchildren rushes off to school. Or i have to rush through getting ready for work with a grudge against myself. 
And just like that, my day is off to a bad start. 
And they say, meditation or couple of minutes of yoga helps.  But I can’t sit still for longer than two minutes, and attempting to clear my mind only reminds me that i am on total overdrive from that failed moment i woke up late. So I give up and power through the day. And thus your mood of the day is determined. (The mood of nagging subconcious frustration which sometimes will trigger into an explosive burst on things as mundane as a misplaced sock on the living room floor or a colleague's work product.)
And you start thinking "i do so much and nobody appreciates me!".
Familiar scenario? 
What goes wrong? It is that cortisol switch you turned on at the start of your day upon waking up and it accumulates. Stress causes increased levels of cortisol. 
Cortisol is a stress hormone and it is public enemy numero uno (number one!) and is the cause of so many "evils". Elevated cortisol levels lowers immune function making us susceptible to falling sick. It increases blood pressure and affects our heart health. Accumulations of elevated levels of cortisol over time will cause organ dysfunction. And yes blame it on the cortisol too when you have weight gain. 
So how do we control the switch and on parallel, improve our mood (and health!)?
Here is some quick tips for Stress Management 101 (Cortisol) :

1. Step back and verbally tell yourself "i can control this."

The mere sound of your voice saying that, is like a General telling his army "No problem guys, we have this under control!" and that is reassuring. 
This is to control your overdrive from developing into an out-of-control-spiral. 

2. Hug yourself physically. It is the same scenario where you hug your child when he falls. The mere act of putting our arms around ourselves is protective, soothing and calming. 

So yes, self love is much needed, everyone. I personally think we should never ration on our self love.

We keep putting other people first and ourselves last, dont you think?

3. Squeeze that fingers into a ball. Release it gently until u feel your fingers becoming "heavy".  Tense and untensed your muscles. Tensed muscles increases the productions of cortisol.

4. Stop yourself from being overwhelmed. How? 
Are you chest breathing?

I know that as you are reading this, you are breathing and re-checking your breathing. Yes, check and re-check our breathing through the day. 

Deep breathing has been proven to lull the brain waves, calming it. Breathe in through the nose and exhale through your mouth, like blowing a balloon gently. Remember to pucker your lips (like blowing the letter "O" as you breathe) because it helps in deep breathing. 

5. Do these 12 stretches holding it for about 10 seconds each while breathing deeply. These full body stretches relax tight muscles 

(Note: Have a chair ready by your side if you need to hold on to something for balance. Do NOT force any of the stretches. Modify it if some of the stretches are too taxing. Always listen to your body and you will get there eventually.)

Flip that switch and set that mood to POSITIVE. Why? Because, YOU can! 

And you know - how you start your day will determine the mood for the rest of the day. 

Never allow anyone or anything to make you unhappy.
Never let anyone rob you of your youthful positive energy. 

Dont you think we deserve self-love? Of course! ...Right from the start of the day! 

GOOD morning to US to GOOD DAY ahead!

Yours in health and happiness,
Dee Dee 

Dee Dee Mahmood, multi award winning Celebrity Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, is the Academic Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Edith Cowan University Australia. Her PhD research on obesity was chosen for its impact on obesity in Asia and was accepted and presented at the President's Cup Award, American College of Sports Medicine Northwest Annual Meeting in Tacoma, Washington. This TEDX Speaker has several signature community programs to her name, Fat2Fit Asia and Walking Football for Health Asia. She conducts  synergy on community and corporate health and research collaborations internationally.

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