“The world has gone mad!” I am hearing this a lot lately from clients, friends and family. The changes in our world, shifting energies, the 24 hour news cycle and our own personal situations are all creating a feeling of overwhelm. Understanding how we are affected internally helps to set the stage for implementing strategies that work to assist us to regain perspective and balance and maintain our health, sanity and well-being.
Understanding the Reality of Stress
Stress has been defined as wear and tear on the mind and body. Stress occurs anytime we must adapt to change whether it is positive or negative. Obviously the negative takes more of a toll than the positive.
I often hear people say, “It’s just stress”, as if stress some vague concept that rolls around in the world without any relationship or consequence for our health, wealth, happiness or relationships. Not true. There are very real physiological changes that go on in every system in our body in response to stress, as well as associated psychological shifts that can affect behavior.
It may be easy to understand how a major change like the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, kids moving on with their lives or moving to a new home can have a deep effect on mind and body. What may be more difficult to grasp is that even minor stresses or observation of stress in others (E.G. the news) have a physiological effect on us and if left unchecked accumulate and create more complex problems in the future.
The mind and body are tremendously resilient and will try to acclimate for a while but there is generally a price. If we don’t tune in and pay attention to what is happening to and with ourselves in present time, we most probably will be presented with a unwelcome bill in the future that reflects our lack of awareness and non adaptive stress responses! And here’s the real kicker… we will think we had nothing to do with the erosion of our health/lives, we will feel and act like whatever has befallen to us “just happened” out of the blue.
Important Awareness Re: Patterns
Our lack of awareness and ineffective responses to stress are largely a product of lack of awareness. Early family and societal conditioning teaches us to be above it all, overlook, keep a strong front, project a false exterior that hides how you really feel and work harder, longer than is optimum for your health. We believe in the fantasy that it will all go away somehow, time will heal all wounds … “I will rest, relax, and get my life in balance, once this is over.”
To deny, minimize or ignore how we feel, what we need and what is happening within our minds and bodies is a common outcome of conditioning that teaches denial and adaptation to early warning signs of stress. Unfortunately, this approach often means that the first realization that there is a problem is from a doctor’s office, emergency room or hospital bed!
The good news is that there is a lot we can learn at any stage in the stress cycle that can help to heal and create true balance in our lives. Our recording Relaxation 101 (available as a CD or Download) was specifically designed to reset the nervous system to release the negative effects of stress and strengthen the system to be less overwhelmed when inevitable stresses occur.
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Next post: Five Strategies to Help You Release Stress