Worrying is Stress.
We were never designed to be in ‘stress mode’ all the time. This is like turning on a car and letting it idle in the driveway until it runs out of fuel!
Sadly this is how most of us are living our lives, whether we’re conscious of it or not. But only, we run out of ‘health’ – not fuel!
The body is always responding to what the mind is doing, because body and mind are a two-way connection.
“Modern science has shown that the mind has the power to heal our body.” (Professor Of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.)
However, there’s still a disconnect. Western science or our medical system are still slow to acknowledge this ancient long standing fact, because science needs to actually ‘see’ things before it is considered accepted. I always think we can’t actually ‘see’ the wind or a smell either, but this doesn’t make it any less real. There are many things in life we can’t actually ‘see’ and these are often the most crucial parts of life, like the air that we breathe.
I know personally, the more I stress, the worse I feel physically. Watch how you feel after you do a meditation – it’s like everything quietens down (including any symptoms.)
Our body has a function (which is the OPPOSITE of stress) called the ‘Relaxation Response.’ To improve our health, or to feel better, we need to make a point of switching ON this mode ‘most’ of the time, and only use our stress response when we need to. This is how we were meant to live… before modern thinking taught us that we mustn’t be doing enough in our lives, if we aren’t stressed all the time.
The simple fact is our bodies aren’t designed to have cortisol (our stress hormone) running through our veins ‘most’ of the time (or with some people,it’s all of the time.) Again the analogy of a car – it’s like running dirty fuel through the line (the car motor is going to break down soon.)
The problem is, we are so accustomed to feeling stressed, and relying on adrenaline to get our day done, that we don’t give it another thought. Until one day, we can’t get up out of bed, or we have a stroke or we’re struck down by some crazy autoimmune disease.
And it’s then, we go to the doctor, and handed a script for medication. It’s very hard for our doctor to tell us about how stress affects our general health in a 10 minute consultation. They also won’t, due to malpractice reasons. They’re trained to prescribe medication, not to be ‘our teachers.’
Poor Mental Health can sound a pretty scary thing and we can be forgiven for thinking that it’s what happens to ‘other’ people. But it’s really just the umbrella term for conditions ranging in such things as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, chronic stress and of course many other mental health conditions that we’ve heard about as well.
All of these conditions can be similar, yet very different for each and every one of us. Some are mild, some are serious, some can be helped enormously by going to work on healing our gut and in some cases medication is necessary also.
Every circumstance is both the same yet very different as to how it affects OUR health.
Firstly it’s ‘what’ we’re going through (e.g. divorce, work stress, family stress) and secondly it’s ‘OUR CAPACITY’ to handle stress (our stress tolerance.) Some people have a high stress tolerance “where it takes a lot to shake her!” Others have a low tolerance, where they will be stressed by little every day things such as ‘who didn’t turn the dishwasher on last night!?’
It seems to be our repetitive every day thoughts that are our main source of stress. It’s the ‘am I going to lose my job,’ ‘will I ever feel better again,’ or ‘what am I going to do?’
These everyday thoughts are perhaps causing us more stress than the big events in our lives because they are constant and repetitive. Unless we wake up with a morning ritual of feeling grateful for another beautiful day, our mind will tend to spring to our negative self talk and so the stress roller coaster continues.
‘Low stress tolerance’ can be due to the physiological wear and tear on our body, which stress has caused over 30 or 40 years of our lives. This wear and tear usually causes poor gut health, which will in turn infiltrate every other system of our body and back to our brain. As we get older there’s simply more wear and tear… UNLESS we do something about it.
And we need to remember, that many of us are going through the same thing… It’s just ‘OUR VERSION’ of a similar experience. This is why it help so much to chat to others and be open about our dilemmas, because we’ve all been there in some way or another.
There are many stress management techniques, but the most important thing to remember about stress is that ‘we’ create a lot of it ourselves, perhaps by trying to be and do too much. A lot of our anxiety can be dialed down if we for example delegate more, ‘choose to do less’ (hire a cleaner) and perhaps let go of the ‘control freak’ that tends to be in us all.
Just as there are many ways we can feel stress, there are also many ways we can switch to our own relaxation response. We just need to learn how and like Nike said ‘just do it!’
There are common threads that flow through all relaxation techniques, regardless of culture, time, meditation and even prayer.
These are: ‘Repetition’ and ‘Disregard for our other thoughts.’ If we find something that works for us, such as meditation, yoga or Tai chi, we need to do them daily (repetition) and let our thoughts come and go (disregard our other thoughts.) This is what works.
My specialty (and passion) as a Clinical Nutritionist is healing our physical and mental health through healing our gut and at the same time dialing down our stress response.
We can’t tend to one without the other.
This system is what you’ll get inside Empowered Women’s Health coming soon, plus you’ll get some much needed ‘hand holding,’ to take you through the steps so that it works for YOU! Sign up to know more HERE.