Oh Stress. The dreadful stress. We all have it, we all experience it, we all struggle with it. But…at the same time we all tend to oversee it and its abilities to impact the quality of our health and our lives. So many of us view stress as a not so serious emotional response to day to day activities and problems. But, did we ever stop to think that the chemical reactions of stress within our bodies can be sitting at the root of a lot of our illnesses?
Our bodies are incredible well oiled machines and by that I mean they have the innate ability to self heal and self-regulate. Think about it, we are self regulating every second. We walk into a dark room, our eyes immediately adjust to the lighting. Every day our bodies are utilizing their self-regulating and self-repair mechanisms to fight off cancer cells, repair broken proteins, fight infectious agents or even naturally repel against the aging process.
Now here is the kick…
“…what they don't teach in medical school: The body's natural self-repair mechanisms only fully function when the nervous system is in relaxation response.” Says Dr. Lissa Rankin.
You got that?!! Our beautiful self-regulating high tech computer we call our bodies only function this way at a state of relaxation, which is also known as homeostasis. I know…I’m throwing a lot of fancy words around but bare with me…all this really means is every time we are stressed our bodies put this healing system on hold in order to use our energy elsewhere.
Let me paint a little picture so you can understand:
It is a Monday. You sit down at your desk and check your email. Oh no…the meeting you thought was next week is tomorrow. PANIC! You did not work on any of the presentation and now you have a day to complete it. Immediately your body vaults into flight or fight response. You get a burst of cortisol (the main stress hormone) and epinephrine (a hormone that induces fear, anger and alertness) streaming through your body. Your heart rate increases, your blood pressure spikes and your large muscle groups are activated.
(Your body literally thinks you are about to run from a vicious tiger.)
So now all of the sudden our body is neglecting to deliver energy to it’s self healing systems…because it is busy trying to save your life from what it’s processing as a life threatening danger.
Now here is the bigger problem:
In our modern day society, we are in fight or flight response All. The. Damn. Time. On top of dealing with a global pandemic, our lives seem like a nonstop loop of chaotic scenarios. Your alarm doesn’t go off and you miss your 9 am call with your boss, the stop light won’t turn green and you are already 15 minutes late picking up your kid from camp, you're trying to work from home but you can’t catch one minute of silence, you drop your venti 4 shot espresso cappuccino macchiato creme brûlée frappe with one pump of non fat sweetener all over your white pants.
Look, the list goes on. And I’m sure you get it. But what I really want you to get is that stress can also arise from more undercover or hidden issues in our lives. This is the kind of stress that can subtly infiltrate your life without us really noticing. This can be the stress of loneliness, toxic relationships, the stress of waking up for a job that is unfulfilling, the stress of feeling out of touch with your purpose.
These are HUGE! And the worst part is, these are critical factors of stress that most of us are unwilling to change.
We are living our lives out of rhythm and out of our bodies natural state of homeostasis.
We are becoming prone and susceptible to anything our body would have normally courageously fought off.
Take a look at this chart:
When any of these stones are out of balance, they can trigger stress responses in the body. The inner pilot light is the foundation of your stones. This is your intuition that you need to listen to on a daily basis. Remember that you are the only person who knows your body and your needs. Make sure you prioritize that.
You’ll notice that physical health is at the top. A lot of time people think this should be the foundation but, the body is SO fragile that when any of these aspects of our lives are out of balance the body is the first to respond.
All of these stones can be a force of activating stress response in the body BUT, the great thing here is that when our stones are in balance and in harmony, they can also be a force for activating relaxation response.
Let's take a look at the relationships stone. This one is so important which is why it is close to the foundation. When you are surrounded by beautiful, uplifting relationships, where you feel a sense of belonging and connection to a soul community that gets you, you are living in a state of love. With this, our bodies release oxytocin, endorphins and many more hormones that place the body in a relaxation mode and activate the it’s self repair mechanisms. How beautiful is this!?!
So what the hell does this all mean?
Yes, drinking your green juice every morning is good for you but start to think more holistically about why you might feel the way you do. No amount of kale is going to counterbalance the poisonous effects of chronic receptive stress response in the body.
The next time you are sick or find an imbalance in your body, use it as a signal and opportunity to take a step back and question the sources of stress in your life. What stress can you remove? And if you have stress that is inevitable to your life what are ways you can practice self care.
The goal is to put your body in a state of relaxation as much as possible. Take a look at your stones. Do you see any areas you have been neglecting to change? It is time to start prioritizing what you need in your life and to give your body a break from stress.
For now, start to redirect your energy into activities that that bring you joy and gratitude. Exercise, use essential oils, take a bath, talk with friends, go for a walk...just make sure you are being proactive towards placing yourself in states of joy, relaxation, and gratitude.
You deserve it. 😊
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