Shoot me if I’m wrong, but isn’t stress THE most overstated yet underrated word we encounter today? Only a lucky few are exempt from its wake. As a generation, we are more committed to our stresses than our spouses – we bow down to its every call, take it everywhere with us, allowing it to shape and rule our world from the inside out! Now which spouse even has those kinds of privileges today??
Yet we know very little about what’s actually happening to us as we indulge this partner in crime. We tend to attribute stress to something that happened externally, over which we have little or no control. But stress is actually a reaction to an emotion produced in the body when we put our attention on that which happened to us.
Let’s get a tad technical to answer this question with clarity. When we perceive something as a stressful situation, the sympathetic nervous system in our body gets activated. In particular, the amygdala, a small organ in the primitive brain directs the release of adrenaline throughout the body, aka the fight/flight/freeze response! Now this level of alertness was great back in primitive times when we were saving ourselves from saber tooth tigers but luckily for us, the only things chasing us these days are deadlines and disgruntled partners; neither of which warrants a similar level of threat, though some might disagree ;)
Now here’s why we need to keep our stress levels in check. The cocktail of hormones triggered by stress are also highly addictive – just like cocaine or heroin! They too, produce high levels of energy in our body, preparing it for battle and overtime, we become hooked to the ensuing feelings (anxiety, fear, panic, depression), even craving them like addicts in their absence. This is when peace and calm actually feel alien to a body which now resonates more with stress and high strung emotional states.
Is it any wonder then that most illnesses which cannot be explained by medical science are attributed to stress and its effects?! Experiments in neuroscience and epigenetics have shown how stress down-regulates genes to create terminal diseases and damage to bodily systems. Thus our genetic destiny is no longer pre-determined but created by our predominant emotional state!
By the way, the side effect of learning to effectively deal with stress is what we call “joy”!
Emotions are nothing but the end product of an experience. Thoughts are the language of the mind, feelings the language of the body. So, if emotions can make us ill, can they also make us well?
Stress is not our natural state of existence. But in our fast paced crazy lives, it has become a way of coping! Living in survival mode constantly is unkind to ourselves. It is setting ourselves up for all kinds of outcomes we are stressing about to begin with.
So people, the time has come to end our devoted relationship with stress and cut the chords that keep us invested in that commitment.
“But how”- you might ask, can one consensually end this relationship?
Yoga, meditation, centering the body, becoming aware and mindful of our thoughts and feelings, and developing inner peace, all go a long way in setting the stage for a life truly worth living.
She has been on the management team of Vinati Organics Limited since 2006 and balances the technical/manufacturing execution with her marketing abilities combined with new age aggression.