Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be more stressed than others? Or why something that stresses you out doesn’t affect a friend or co-worker the same way? The answer is simple and complex at the same time. I will explain why stress happens, the risks and give you 3 simple steps on how to change it.
Here are the some of the most common signs of stress and physiological risks of letting your stress continue:
Poor brain function
Impaired cell regeneration (aging)
Poor digestion and metabolism
Weakened immune response
You may already be experiencing some of the physical symptoms of prolonged stress and blame it on an illness or other condition. It is more likely that the symptom is the result of stress, not the other way around.
If you are already experiencing the symptoms, don’t worry, I have some steps that can help you turn back the tide so you can get your spark back, improve your sleep, help your immune system, digestion, eliminate pain and regain the energy you are looking for.
In 1936, stress was not taken seriously or even recognized as a medical issue. There was no clear definition or way of measuring stress. A researcher in Canada, named Hans Selye changed all that. While Selye was studying hormonal changes in rats, he realized something wasn’t making sense. His experiment was tracking the effects of one specific hormone, and although the rats were experiencing changes in their glands, the changes were not connected to the hormone he was injecting. Selye observed a similar expression of the “symptoms” in some of his medical students who were not “sick”. He had an epiphany; the reaction he was seeing in the rats, was due to the stress of the experiment, not the injection itself.
Selye developed a theory: repeated exposure to stress would cause “general adaptation syndrome.” The idea was that with repeated stressful events, the body would respond to a brief shock the same way it would to long term stress, sort of like building up an immunity to stress. In theory, this seemed like a good thing. Unfortunately, the repeated exposure to stress created a different problem. After subsequent shocks, the body lost it resilience and had a hard time recovering from the reaction. The outcome was a string of stress-related medical conditions, including exhaustion.
Now we know that when The Stress Response is triggered in a human, there is a predictable string of events that take place in the brain and central nervous system, resulting in changes to your organs, digestive system, heart rate and more.
Keeping Selye’s research in mind, it becomes easier to see why some people have a harder time finding equilibrium after a series of stressful events, often leading to aggressive behavior aka a “meltdown”.
Psychologist Daniel Goleman coined the term “Amygdala Hijacking” in his 1995 book, "Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" to refer to an immediate and intense emotional reaction that’s out of proportion to the situation. It’s what happens when we have unresolved feelings or situations that have not been given their time to process. This dynamic feeds into our stress response.
Although there are physical and or environmental conditions that can trigger a stress response, like a toxic substance in the air, the most common stress we deal with is rooted in the mind and, more often than not, it’s related to unresolved past trauma.
One of key components I see most frequently in my clients is, quite simply, a lack of tools and training on how to make the necessary adjustments to adapt or recover from a disturbing situation, mindset or circumstance.
These days, with a focus on “selfies”, cell phones and computers, the muscle for stress recovery is devolving. Like any muscle, use it or lose it. With the advent of information at our fingertips, we are being trained to go outside for answers to anxiety and stress, rather than focusing inside and developing agile coping mechanisms.
It’s time for a global resurgence of self-exploration for answers. The best way to take care of stress is to be willing to go on an inner journey and ask the hard questions about whether you are living a life that allows you your authentic self-expression, or living someone else’s idea of who you should be.
Fritz Perls, was a revolutionary psychotherapist in the 1960’s. His answer on how to heal stress was summed up in one fantastic quote “Lose your mind and come to your senses”.
Fritz Perls founded a revolutionary form of therapy called “Gestalt.” Gestalt means “whole” in German. The goal of Gestalt is to discover your true identity, your soul; the part of you that is buried under the values habits and thinking that you inherited from influencers in your life. He routinely encouraged self-examination and asking yourself “Whom am I?” Knowing the self, an individual could more readily identify what provides them with a sense of satisfaction and achievement and also understand what is causing frustration or stress in their life. The emphasis was to connect with your senses to steer you away from the future or the past, and bring you into present moment.
“Be Here Now”, by Ram Dass is an iconic book, rich with wisdom about understanding the true nature of the self. Both Ram Dass and Gestalt were in agreement - living in present moment, away from the conditioned behavior that we accept as true, is the answer to inner peace. Ram Dass and Perls, along with people like Werner Erhard, and Ida Rolfe represent a revolution in evolution, known as the human potential movement. It was a time when people thought it was cool to tune in. It was also a time when therapy and bodywork were utilized in concert to encourage self-awareness and expression; creating change through internal exploration to seek out the true nature of the self.
The lyrics and energy in Eminen’s song “Lose Yourself” capture it beautifully:
“You better lose yourself in the music The moment, you own it, you better never let it go You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo”
Regardless of who is saying it, the message is the same. The terminology has changed. Today what used to be called “Human potential” is sort of like “Emotional Intelligence,” without the emphasis on bodywork.
It is my experience with myself and my clients that bodywork is a very important part of the equation. When I work with clients to heal their emotional and physical blocks, my clients not only raise their EQ (Emotional Intelligence) but their BQ (Body Intelligence.)
Let’s move on to some techniques that will help you raise your EQ and your BQ, and reduce your stress. All three steps intentionally involve different senses as it is one of the fastest ways to get an immediate result.
Know Yourself “Know Yourself” is the first and most important principal in EQ. This means taking time to tune-in to how you are feeling. Unfortunately, most cultures do not encourage emotional awareness or expression. This is key to understanding what makes you feel a sense of achievement or frustration. Knowing the self, is a continuing path of discovery
Keeping a journal activates multiple senses and helps the brain connect with the heart. More specifically, it gives your emotional brain a chance to help you process whatever you have not integrated from an emotional standpoint. Manually writing things out will also give you the opportunity to see some of your recurring patterns so you can make changes. For those of you asking, why not type? I have tried both and writing trumps typing.
Connect with Your Senses When we are lamenting the past or worrying about the future, we are not present to ourselves or to those around us. There is really no upside to being somewhere else. When we check out, we leave others with a sense of something being off, even if they cannot identify it. If we are unhappy and find it hard to stay present, we must be the one to make a shift.
One of the best ways to bring yourself into present moment is through the use of authentic essential oils. Properly produced oils bypass the Cerebral Cortex (the thinking part of the brain) and go straight into the Amygdala (the feeling part of the brain.) Inhaling an oil is a very efficient way to get present, especially if it is high in sesquiterpenes which can help elevate your mood or help you relax. Our sense of smell is the first sense we develop as human beings. It the only sense that requires no thinking for us to have the experience.
Oils that are authentic, pure and have the right chemical balance are not so easy to find. It took me years to find a company I am 100% comfortable with. It is estimated that 98% of the oils on the market are adulterated. There is loads of clever marketing out there. If you would like to know more, you can go to carlasgreatoils.com
Connect With Your Body The body has three primary roles. It is there to communicate to you about what you are feeling. It is also there for you to use as an instrument to help you communicate. Lastly, the body is a receiving station that enables you to receive other people’s communication. Give your body some love and good nourishment. One of the best tools to support a healthy body is bodywork that does not override your body’s natural inclination to heal. Bodywork helps you go inward, especially if you focus on your breathing while receiving a session.
To inquire about speaking, coaching or healing session, please contact me at email@example.com