Stress: Why It Isn’t A Switch We Can Just Turn Off

I wrote about stress during my Emotions Series. But there is one component of it that has been on my mind lately. Most disease in the body caused by stress is often deemed as cure-less. And believe me it is, if we disempower the person by saying it is hopeless unless they shut the stress off.

The important thing to remember about treating/caring for a stressed out person is they are walking in DESPERATE. Don’t say no, don’t negate their experience, don’t let your busy schedule and next patient stop you from taking a deep breath and holding their frenzied space for a moment. Yes, stressed out people are difficult to handle, but that is because so many people have already bruised them. First congratulate them on trying to take back control. Remind them that the process of healing has already started if they are in your office.

From a healer’s perspective (all modalities and trainings included) every issue deserves validation. In my opinion stress (like pain and sleep issues) deserves more validation. When stress is at the forefront of a physical issue we are always straddling a point when it is still a physical issue and when it becomes a mental/emotional issue.

Stress is like a hamster’s wheel. With each rotation of the wheel the body is more depleted and further away from feeling strong enough to make change.

Contemplate this vicious cycle:

  1. Worry knots the qi in the body slowing down all internal movement.
  2. Stagnation causes the body to work harder to maintain normal processes.
  3. The body becomes depleted from completing normal daily tasks.
  4. The body goes into panic mode because it doesn’t have the resources it needs to function normally.
  5. Every task is a struggle and causes continuous worry.

Western Medicine very often gives stress as a cause of a disease. But knowing the cause of a disease isn’t a direct line towards treatment. Quitting your job or kicking your children (or spouse) out on the street so you can lead a stress-free lifestyle is just not a viable option.  There is no special switch or perfect trick to get rid of stress. You have to outsmart it by slowly exhausting the stress, so you can grow healthy and strong again.

Here are some sneaky tricks to starve stress, knock it off its feet and take back control.

  • Get enough sleep at night
  • Eliminate extra activities you don’t really want to do (even small ones)
  • Turn off the television, computer, phone as much as possible
  • Eat a balanced diet at regular intervals, never let the body go longer than four or five hours without food during the day
  • Walk outside even for ten minutes
  • Sit alone, some place quiet, maybe with your eyes closed, without any stimulation for 3 minutes
  • Start a daily mantra of gratitude before falling asleep at night
  • Take a day of rest (or part day) every week without any productivity at all
  • Breath work, as simple or complicated as you know how
  • Take breaks from the screen (eg. 10 minutes off after 3 hours of email work)

If you have a disease (small or large) that is caused by stress remember that the stress is larger than you right now. Don’t try to jump up and fight it out of you, you will only end up exhausted. Try to make small little changes every day like you are trying to encourage an unwanted guest to slink out the back door.

Image credit: andresr / 123RF Stock Photo

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