Endemic level of pollution, dirty white skies, food toxicity, noise, dreaful traffic .. Hanoi has its ways to raise our stress level, especially as a parent..
Best remedy would be to get a promotion to Hawaii or Switzerland. But very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene. So here are a few cheaper – yet super efficient totally healthy and reliable anti depression medications:
- Don’t take a deep breath, but a long exhale:
In stressful times, we typically breathe too rapidly. This leads to a buildup of oxygen in the bloodstream and a corresponding decrease in the relative amount of carbon dioxide. This condition can result in muscle twitching, nausea, irritability, lightheadedness, confusion, and anxiety. Sounds familiar?
You can work with anxiety by focusing on your exhalations and lengthening them, deliberately and gradually. For example, if your everyday exhalation lasts six counts, draw each one out to seven for a few breathing cycles, then to eight for a few cycles, and so on, until you find a length that suits you (many breathing technics are included in part 4 of the post ..)
2. Disconnect your phone, recharge your soul
I have to admit that sometimes, Ignorance is bliss.
I am glued to AirVisual, the most reliable apps measuring the Air Quality in Hanoi. I am checking it on an average of 10 times a day. On Facebook, I read almost all the news about the pollution in Hanoi. So what does FB do? They litterally bombard me with even more depresssing pollution news.
So I unplug from times to times. Try just one day, all day, and see how you feel. Don’t meet with the usual “did you check the pollution?!” crowd, get a new book, an exciting series on Netflix (The people vs OJ Simpson!) and find something exceptional to do, far from your phone.
A great massage will do wonders, and Yakushi has a pampering “package 3 (body massage, facial and acupuncture)” that will definitely do the trick for less than 30$ the 3 hours !
Acupuncture is also on top of my list. My 2 favorite doctors are the great Caite Halley in Zenith Yoga (700K VND). Such a blessing to have an English speaking super qualified acupuncteur in town! Ms Linh in Yakushi is another magician, I totally trust her too (190K VND). She won’t tell you if she plans to add cupping or moxibustion to the needle treatement, surprise ! ( But she speaks hardly no English so you just need to trust her. Or go to Cate 😉
Jessica Williams offers Reiki sessions (and trainings!) in Zenith as well, and at her home in Ciputra. Reiki is a technic called “palm healing” , that helps the flow of energy and remove blocks in a similar way to acupuncture (but needle free of course! session is 800 K VND).
(Not to spoil point 4, but it’s a big time winner, my favorite of all times ..)
3. Interrupt anxiety with gratitude
Even if we sometimes tend to forget it, we all have (many!) things to be grateful for: our body, our breath, our mind to start with.
As often as possible, try to replace any negative thought with a positive one. It’s not easy, but it works! It’s called reprogramming your mind or if you want to show off, call it neuroplasticity).
Another technic is the 3R:
“When you find yourself in that cycle of worry or compulsive thinking, remember the three R’s — rename, re-frame, and redirect. When the worry begins, mentally yell “Stop!” Rename the issue by reminding yourself that worry isn’t real. Rename it as a compulsive reaction, not reality. Re-frame your thinking by focusing on positive or distracting thoughts, even if you still feel anxious. Force yourself to think different thoughts. Redirect your actions. Go do something uplifting, fun or mentally engaging. The key is following these steps repeatedly, every time you worry obsessively, to break the pattern and rewire your brain“.
The easiest way to get started with the ritual of gratitude is to save just 5 mn every morning/evening to write down 3 gratitudes. By naming a few, uou might inspire more aspects of your life to be grateful for. This little ritual became a family business as the kids are always writing their gratitudes of the day before going to bed.
It won’t take long before you see the magic happens: the more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.
4. Last but not least : Restorative Yoga
Self Promotion moment ! I am teaching in Tay Ho in a cosy set up, with air purifiers, essential oils in a very calm place (no construction site nearby!!!). Restorative Yoga is as its name says: totally restorative.
It is the best remedy to balance your nervous system, take your body into a state that allows for renewal and rejuvenation. Not only physical but also emotional and mental relaxation. Poses like Child’s Pose, Legs-Up-the-Wall, and Savasana must be held for at least a few minutes. You can remain in the pose for up to 15 minutes using bolsters, pillows, straps, blocks, etc. to support your body in a full, long, and comfortable position, with gentle attention directed towards the breath.
This month, we’ll practice poses for difficulties in breathing, the “Inhale, Exhale series” to improve your respiratory capacity.
I teach every Thursday in Tay Ho, in French or in English, 2pm and 7:30 pm small groups (only 200K). Private classes available too 🙂 You can book your mat on my FB page or contact me via messenger to get all the details.
How about you? How do you cope with stress?