Stress. Everybody encounters it from day to day in some measure. From common stressors like getting stuck in traffic or meeting a deadline, to more serious, life altering circumstances like experiencing a traumatic event. It seems that no one is immune to stress. I advise all: “Stress Less, Live Well”.
Stress seems to be an inevitable part of our lives that we have little control over- but why is that?
The experience of stress is a reaction. A physiological response deeply embedded in our genetic makeup for the sole purpose of survival.
The stress signal in our body triggers a “fight or flight response” that is a leftover of our past evolutionary programming. It’s a trigger that was once crucial for our ancestors who, as hunter/gatherers, were regularly in danger and fighting to survive against the elements, wild predators and famine.
As humans, we still experience this response today, in varied doses.
Our physiological systems are repeatedly reacting to situations, sometimes as though they are life threatening.
The next time a potentially stressful situation comes up for you, pay close attention to what happens in your body. It’s highly possible that you will observe an immediate flood of anxiety and fear rushing through you, and often the response will be an overreaction to what’s actually happening. For instance, being late for a meeting may cause your heart to race, your stomach to feel like it’s tied in a knot, or your hands to get sweaty. The body is indicating a greater perception of danger than reality truly poses.
Although we live much more sheltered lives in general today, with the rise of population and material society, we actually encounter a higher number of potential stressors now than our ancestors did. We have more than our basic needs of survival to meet now. Many of us working long hours to satisfy our financial obligations, multi-tasking in excess, finding and keeping a mate, obtaining education, and the list goes on and on…
Stress is the root cause of the majority of disease. Science can now prove this, although allopathic (conventional) medicine is slow to publicize this. However, with the increasing percentage of disease within the population, and with traditional practices as well as naturopathic and energy medicine gaining in popularity, it’s hard to deny the results of these holistic practices.
The relationship between our mental/emotional being and our physical health is becoming more evident.
There is extensive modern research demonstrating the effects of positive and negative stimulation including words, thoughts and images in relation to the energy of people, plants, and water.
Both stress and the release of stress have a profound response in our physical, psychological and energetic systems.
So, is it possible to be completely free of stress? Not to rule out this becoming possible, but at this stage, not entirely. We are, however, as a species, beginning to seek a more evolved way of life, which includes more of a desire for spiritual growth and a heightened awareness of our holistic health. This lends to a promising future for the human race.
What we can do now is learn to manage our levels of stress and create more awareness of our response to stressors. We can learn the tools to observe the inner experience of our bodies and minds in relation to our external circumstances.
We do this by meeting our feelings and thoughts at their source on a regular basis, rather than avoiding or burying them. This is the way of prevention versus treatment of disease. The issues that are ignored or pushed down only fester and become further deeply rooted. Eventually, these energies have to express themselves somehow.
Many of us carry around stress and past issues that long to be healed.
So how do we use the knowledge we have of stress and the relationship it has with our body, mind, and energy system, to heal ourselves? There are many ancient as well as modern teachings and practices available to us today to promote stress relief and holistic health. These include, but are not limited to movement, yoga, meditation, massage and many other healing modalities.
Perhaps one of the most beneficial for stress relief is Yoga, particularly styles that involve deep relaxation. Yoga encompasses the awareness of our body, mind and spirit in one practice. It invites us completely into the present moment, deep into our body and shines a light into the inner workings of our mind. It connect us to our energy system, where we can truly experience our emotions and our intuition. The result is a lighter, happier self in touch with authenticity and personal power.
Choosing a teacher and a Yoga style should be suited to your needs, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.
If you are someone that carries tension, worries often, or who’s physical health is suffering, looking at whether stress is interfering with your well-being is worthwhile.
The number one thing we can do to promote overall health and wellness is to relieve stress. More important than any way of eating, supplementation, exercise trend or medical treatment, is to be proactive with our own healing on a daily basis. This is when we begin to create instead of react, and when we begin the journey of transcending the evolutionary programming that is our survival instinct. It’s time for our species to do more than survive and to begin thriving.
I invite you to connect with me in Rejuvenation Yoga at Sacred Space Studio in Kitsilano.
This is a specialized Hatha class to recharge. Breathing techniques, gentle poses and healing meditations to manage stress, release tension, and re-balance. This practice will invite your intuition to guide you on your path to wellness. Runs 7:30-9:00pm on Tuesdays, starting March 8th.