Resident Life Coach at SANGHA Retreat

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Enlightens with Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety & Stress

A master-planned destination retreat for mindful living, SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute offers an Eastern framing of philosophies balanced and drawing from modalities around the world that fits into these challenging times where a peaceful state of mind and body is more imperative than ever. Whilst many remain at home, it is normal to feel overwhelmed by the global situation. Life Coach Grace Zhu sheds light into coping mechanisms during seclusion to cope with stress and anxiety.

The accomplished Grace Zhu is a National Consultant Psychologist Grade 2, a registered hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. Grace is an expert in holistic wellness with a background in medical, psychological and spiritual education. At SANGHA Retreat, she offers life coaching, psychological consultations, short and long term as well as open-ended counselling, psychotherapy, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, psychodynamic therapy, object relations therapy and appreciative inquiry coaching.

Stress is both psychological and physical. Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. As the field of psychoneuroimmunology grows and develops, many discrete pathways of links between psychology and immunity are being discovered. During stress, the body believes it is in imminent danger, so cortisol triggers a number of metabolic changes to ensure that enough energy is available in case a fight is necessary. In short, this learning has helped health experts to regulate stress control and fear stemmed from anxiety which in turn helps boost the immune system: how you feel and what do you think affects your immune system.

Grace advises that when in a situation where you feel anxiety and stress, you should take stock and limit the intake or exposure to stressors whether brief or chronic, then engage in a mindful practice that works for you – there is no “one size fits all” practice. It is about keeping oneself focused on an activity that is meaningful and resonates on a personal level, finding what comforts you and what works best for you to enter a state of mindfulness to assess and recalibrate when in a distressed state. This is important as it creates a sense of achievement to motivate the mind and alleviate stressors, feeling good about yourself is the key to overcoming stress and anxiety.

Regulating your sleep pattern is essential. In order to improve your sleep, it is crucial to take an integrated approach, including remedies such as lifestyle changes, stress reduction, Traditional Chinese medicine herbs and acupuncture, exercise, specific massages, yoga and meditation. Sleep is a foundation to our physical and mental well-being and is considered as one of the main pillars of health. It is controlled by a series of very complex processes, including multiple biological and mental factors, such as your body clock (circadian rhythm), stress levels, hormone levels, neurotransmitters, the harmony between heart and kidney, your sleep environment, what you eat and when you eat alongside many further factors. 

Grace Zhu

Cognitive upgrading is relative to the individual, it is the complex layers of understanding dependent on your personal thinking system that has been formulated through your lifetime, affected by your environment and cultural background. It is a conscious journey that well-being seekers are inclined to embark on and Grace underlines that cognitive upgrading happens in three stages to upgrade your thinking system. She comments the three stages begins with owning your life – which is translated to taking responsibility and accountability of your situation and actions; this is followed by the second stage where the patient trusts in their self, surrenders to their truths and shows gratitude for their blessings; the highest level then leads to creating your own life and reality by actualising your self-goals.

The AT ONE Healing Spa at SANGHA Retreat is uniquely positioned for guests to embark on this journey of self-recovery though immersive and all-encompassing programming. Located west of Shanghai in the culturally and historically rich city of Suzhou, SANGHA Retreat combines Eastern holistic philosophy and practices with Western science and medicine. The expansive 190,000 sqm estate comprises an integrative medicine clinic with both Chinese and Western doctors, a state-of-the-art spa and the OCTAVE Institute, which is dedicated to the study of East-meets-West holistic methods.