In This Article
A Reset From Stress and Anxiety
During the holidays our “joy” is sometimes overshadowed by the stress and strain of the holiday season. Watch my instructional video on what I like to call “The One Minute Meditation.”
Watch my short video to learn how to do this quick one-minute reset from stress and anxiety. This meditation technique is amazingly effective. I often tell my patients that if they did this ten times a day for a total of ten minutes, it would totally change their lives.
I am also including a case study from my days with the New Jersey Nets demonstrating some important herbal tools I used with the players to boost their immunity and deal with the stress and anxiety on the court. These same tools can be helpful against the stress and anxiety of the holidays during a season also tainted with the fear of the flu.
Case Study: My Experience Decreasing Stress and Pain for the New Jersey Nets
In 1999 and 2000, based on my book, Body, Mind and Sport, I was the Director of Player Development for the New Jersey Nets basketball team. My job was to develop a nutritional program and support the strength coach and trainer with injury prevention and rehab. Before I got the job, the New Jersey Nets were the most injured team in the league for two years running. After my second year, we were the third least injured team in the league. While much of what I did was structurally based therapy, as I still do at The LifeSpa in Boulder, I really believe that stress had a huge impact on their immunity as well as their mental and emotional well-being. Though being a professional athlete may seem glamorous, the reality is they needed incredible stamina to deal with an 82-game season, which included being on an airplane 4-5 times a week and being physically exhausted on a daily basis with games and practices.
Ayurvedic Herbs Help Decrease Stress
About three-quarters the way through the first season, the trainer turned to me and said, “You know, I shouldn’t be saying this because I don’t want to jinx anything, but we have been injury-free this season with hardly any missed games from colds or flu.” With the help of the strength coach we beefed up the nutritional program he already had in place to include an Ayurvedic Herbal program to be taken after every game and practice. I also worked individually with the players for specific situations.
How Snacking Effects Mood
I remember one day the owners called me up and asked me to see one of the players. I was told he wanted to retire from basketball and was clinically depressed and was not going back on the court – ever! When I spoke to him he told me he could not face going out there in front of so many people ever again. Shooting foul shots in front of 25,000 people was just too overwhelming for him and he could just not face it. I asked him about his diet and he had been grazing – eating 6 small meals a day. He had got this advice from a personal trainer during the off-season. I reminded him that in the NBA, most guys eat a big lunch at 2:00 or 3:00 PM and then go to the arena at 5:00 PM and then play at 7:00 PM. They don’t get back to the plane for another meal until 11:00 PM. That means that they have to go without food for at least eight hours and somewhere in there, play an NBA basketball game. If you are used to eating six meals a day that means your body has conditioned itself to eat and need food every three hours and you are trying to go for eight hours! I told him “I think your blood sugar is crashing on the court which is one of the major causes of depression and anxiety.” I told him to start eating three good meals a day, and read my book The Three Season Diet. Within two weeks he was back on the court averaging twenty points a game.
In this video, I explain the many benefits of eating 3 meals a day (without snacking) instead of grazing or eating many small meals. Eating 3 meals a day may stabilize your mood, balance your blood sugar, maintain a healthy weight, increase your stamina and support a natural detoxing each day. (5:40 min)
How To Calm Down After A Stressful Or Exciting Day
One of the other major complaints I heard from the NBA players was that after the excitement of a game they couldn’t settle down and had a difficult time falling asleep. When morning would come they felt like they were exhausted – like they had been hit by a bus. There are only a couple of herbs in the world that can both help you get a deep night’s sleep and give you the energy to start a busy and hectic day or play an NBA basketball game: This herb is called Ashwagandha, which is sometimes referred to as “the strength of ten horses.” Ashwagandha increases or decreases stress-fighting hormones, depending on what the body needs, as well as boosts immunity. This herb is an adaptogen which means it helps the body adapt or rejuvenate from the wear and tear of stress. If you are exhausted it will rebuild your reserves, strengthen the adrenals, boost immunity and give the body and mind the energy it needs to handle the stress of the day and the energy needed to stay calm and actually go to sleep at night.
The number one reason why folks cannot go to sleep is that they are exhausted. Many people think it is because they have too much energy. In reality, we need the energy to sedate ourselves so the body and mind can go to sleep and stay asleep. So for these players, the exhaustion was comprehensive – they got two days off all season if they had a forgiving schedule: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Life in the NBA is an immune compromising and performance-wrecking endurance event that Ashwagandha offered amazing results for.
Muscle Pain Increases Stress and Decreases Performance
The main reason I was hired by the New Jersey Nets was to keep the players on the court and free of injuries. My background in sports injury chiropractic was how I went from being a nutritional consultant to being full-time. After working on the athletes it became clear that they were in desperate need of soft tissue-based chiropractic. Soon I was in such demand by the players I was offered a full-time job.
Why Our Muscles and Joints Hurt
When an athlete gets injured, or the muscles become tight due to overuse, the amount of blood supply to that muscle is decreased. When this happens, the muscles lay down a protective fibrous tissue called scar tissue to protect the area. It is much the same as when you don’t water your lawn you get crabgrass. Though it is green and better than dirt, it is a much tougher version of grass. This is what the body makes in our muscles when we get stressed, tight, over-exercised or injured. The fibrous tissue is laid down between the muscle fibers and actually sticks the muscles’ spindles together making it more difficult for the muscles to contract and move. Along with problems in muscle contraction comes a much higher risk of that muscle tearing. So the techniques I now employ at LifeSpa are deep soft tissue techniques that are designed to break up the fibrous tissue and re-instate the blood supply back to the muscle.
How To Feel Good
When the blood is restored to your muscles, the elasticity, optimal strength, and function of the muscle return. The supplement Pain Free is an herb that includes Boswellia acids. These naturally occurring substances actually break up the built-up scar tissue and support the blood supply to both the muscle and the joints when combined properly with the synergistic herbs in this formula. The action of this herb, Pain Free, mimics exactly what I was trying to accomplish in therapy. Pain Free was an invaluable tool in keeping the fibrous tissue build-up down and the risk of an injury down during a very long NBA season. Each athlete got two capsules of the Pain Free twice a day during the season.
I realize we are not all playing in the NBA, but we are all juggling family, friends, business and – now during the holiday season – lots of stress. Remember to start using my easy yet effective One Minute Meditation throughout the day to bring more peace and calm into your life. I felt that sharing with you the same strategies that worked in the NBA may be just what you need to make this season and the New Year the most healthy and joyful of all!