Stress appears to be endemic in our lives, perhaps even more so in urban areas (yes, I just attempted to ride the metro this morning, and it took three times as long as usual!)
Stress negatively impacts our health because it constantly activates the adrenal glands and their fight-flight-freeze-or fold response to external events.
Physical Effects of Stress
Further, stress activates our sympathetic nervous system, which keeps our bodies in a chemical and nervous system state of high alert. This is fine for short sprints away from potential predators, or a climb up a steep cliff, but creates problems for our bodies when we do not allow them to calm down again and remain calm and relaxed for several hours at a time. Allowing our bodies to be calm engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows our bodies to “rest and digest,” to quote Dr. Charles Gant. When the parasympathetic system is active in our calm bodies, our immune systems can go to work, we can digest the nutrients in our food, and the chemicals flowing through our bodies encourage the renewal and health of our cells, rather than drawing on them to work.
Stress can prevent or reduce this process of daily renewal and activation of our immune systems. We may be too busy feeling flooded with adrenaline causing us to feel as though we need to flee or fight (anger), or fold (collapse on the sofa and give up).
However, how we respond mentally to stress creates significant differences in how our bodies respond to stress.
How Do You Experience Stress?
I did not used to believe that stress was an inner as much as an outer experience. I spent more than a decade-and-a-half as a young widow and single mom completing two master’s degrees and then working full-time. Back then, I thought all the stress was coming from outside of me, and certainly, stressful events were happening outside of me at what seemed like a constant rate.
Another fifteen years later and with training in both life coaching and energy healing, along with over five years of experience working with clients with both of these approaches, I now know that how we react to stress can make a big difference in how we feel, and also in all of life.
Learn Relaxation Techniques in the Stress Reduction Workshop
On Saturday June 11, 2016, from 9:30 to 12:30, I will be leading a three-hour workshop which will begin by leading participants into a deeply relaxed state by a variety of methods. Experiencing deep relaxation is so essential for enjoying life that we will begin by relaxing.
This event has ended.
Carol "Anandi" Richardson M.Div., M.P.H., combines wisdom and training from both East and West, and focuses on wellness in mind, body, and soul. She specializes in Reiki Energy Healing, Intuitive Life Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Raja Yoga Meditation. She is the author of Mornings with the Masters: Mystical Journeys in a Postmodern World, Exodus 2012: A Mission to Save the Earth and Aging Well~Be Your Best Self Forever!.