As human beings, we are not designed to live under prolonged periods of stress; stress can cause our bodies to break down and cause illness, disease, heart attacks, physical pain, fatigue, anxiety and panic. We need to have equilibrium in our bodies in order and stress knocks us out of homeostasis it knocks us out of balance, and in doing so creates incoherence in our thought processes and our bodies – which creates incoherence in our external world.
When we react to an event or experience external to us, we release stress hormones of adrenalin and cortisol, which shoot round our body preparing us to fight or flight, and the body gets knocked out of balance. If the body does not regulate and go back into balance, we then move into survival and continually live under these hormones of stress; and the irony is we then need more stress in order to survive – so we literally become addicted to the stress! We then work harder, play harder and get caught in a cycle of stress and survival, and the longer it goes on the harder it becomes to get off the merry go round of the stress/survival cycle.
When we get stressed we become more matter than energy and we become materialists, we try to control my external world by thinking and trying and pushing against the flow. We end up in a constant getting mode, and when we do this we are not receiving a good energy flow into our body and we decrease our natural ability to produce good energy.
We are not supposed to live constantly in a fight or flight mode of stress and anxiety, we need equilibrium and balance in our bodies – physically emotionally and chemically, but stress knocks us out of balance. And when we get knocked out of balance we have incoherence in our thinking and our state of being, our body does not work in the way it should, we may find we have aches and pain, digestive problems or skin problems or even more serious disease or even a heart attack. This incoherence also reflects out into our external world we may feel that everything is chaos and there is no structure to our lives and we primarily focus on our body, the environment and time.
Now, I know first-hand what it feels like to live under constant stress, and why it is so important to address the stress before it gets so bad and has a long term negative impact on our bodies. Because of the amount of traumas, and the subsequent survival I ended up with a very stressful lifestyle and working practice, my life was a merry go round of stress, and I kept attracting more stress into my life and couldn’t seem to make the changes I needed. 18 months ago I realised how bad the stress going on inside my body was, and how much I was living under the hormones of stress on a daily basis. I started to feel a lot of pain in my body and I was getting very out of breath.
I had no idea the damage I was causing to my body and mind. I had become so addicted to that way of being, I needed and thrived under stress, or so I thought. So, after many years of living under stress, working 50 hour weeks and playing hard in my social life, my body literally broke and said ‘no more’ and this time I had to listen. Now, unfortunately I am still living with chronic pain and fatigue due to stress, I simply cannot take stress or pressurised environments. I know that this is the universes way of saying to me slow down and heal, let it happen, rather than chasing and trying to make it happen.
When I work with my clients or university students I will always explore any stress that they have before we even begin working or putting in goals and strategies because any changes made will be a short-term fix if they are living under too much stress. By identifying the areas of our life, which feel stressful we can begin to make changes.
A quick and simple way to address the stress is to jot down on post it notes all the areas in your life that feel stressful, and any events or experiences you might have had that triggered stress, just get it all out and write it down – get it out of your head. Then divide the post it notes into columns of ‘things I can control’ and ‘things I cannot control’ and you will be surprised at what you can let go of and ease your stress. Once you have your list explore each one and look at how you can think and feel differently about it, ask yourself what can I change, what do I need to address to.
If we don’t address our stress and look at ways to live our life differently we will always get the same results, and stress does not just disappear, we have to make changes to our lives and learn a new way of being – try more gentler activities to bring calm into your life, like meditation or yoga, mindfulness or getting out in to nature. A contented life is not a stressful life. We are after all human beings not human doings, so we need to slow down and just be, which means moving in the present moment and we cannot do that when we are constantly living under the hormones of stress.
So address the stress, slow down and meditate!