The Link between Stress & Symptoms
I think we can all agree that a certain level of stress is absolutely essential in life. The important words being 'certain level'. Everyone of us is as unique on the inside as we are on the outside and so 'one (wo)man's high stress may be another (wo)man's low stress'. Basically, we all have varying capacities to take on perceived stress. Regardless, stress of any nature - work, relationship, money, kids - creates a fascinating physiological reaction in the body and the greater the perceived the stress and the longer we endure something intolerable to our physiology the greater the chance of symptoms arising to alert us to change something. If we ignore these early signs tension, pain and disease start to arise: chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Addison's disease, immune suppression, autoimmune diseases, poor recovery from exercise, tendinitis and the list goes on!
The Definition of Insanity...
...is to continue to do the same thing and expect different results. It's time to ask "what have I continued to do this year and seen no long-term, positive results from." This applies to any area of your life: Physical Health & Well-being, Professional/Business, Social, Relationship/Family, Spiritual and Financial. Keep it very simple and list one goal that you know you can consistently work toward in each of these areas of your life. As you fulfill one goal, check it off and add a new one below it. This is a great strategy to help keep you on track and develop the discipline to achieve each goal rather than creating an overwhelming list that ultimately is unattainable for most everyone.
A Video To Change Your Perspective
Take the time to watch this 50-minute documentary in which Professor Robert Sapolsky educates us about the #1 source of all human diseases - stress. Travel back in time and discover how our early ancestors had infrequent bouts of high-stress combined with very frequent opportunities to relax and restore. As a Professor of Biological Sciences, Neurology and Neurological Sciences his research is at the forefront of understanding the profound impact of stress upon human physiology and where we as a species are heading unless we take accountability for our health and learn to moderate stress.
Simple Solutions to Stress
I encourage you to discover where your tipping point is with regards to how much stress is too much for you. Your body and mind will provide feedback via symptoms to provide early warning signs. Take heed of this advice and make changes sooner rather than later otherwise the stress debt will accumulate making it more and more challenging to get out of this debt. Typically, we may go about our day with excessive stimulation from dealing with the family, listening to loud music, exposure to computers/cell phones, hectic commute to work, processed food choices and the list goes on. Other than our sleep each night, we rarely take the time to switch off. When we 'go, go, go' all the time we trigger the FIGHT & FLIGHT pathway of our nervous system, when we sleep each night we stimulate the opposite side to this called the REST & DIGEST pathway. However, if we are imbalanced between these two pathways, too much Fight & Flight and not enough Rest & Digest, then symptoms arise to provide that valuable feedback to teach us to balance it out. Everyone is good at Fight & Flight but here are some solutions to help balance with Rest & Digest methods:
- Tai Chi or Qi Gong
- Slow walking in or around the mountains, river or ocean
- Easy reading
- Easy music listening
- Good company that helps us relax and laugh
- Afternoon nap
- Hot bath or tub followed by light stretching and mobility
- Whole, organic meals with at least 30-minutes to enjoy, relax and improve digestion
No one wakes up each morning dedicating themselves to your health. Only you can do that.
Yours In Muscle Health,
Jason Barlow, RMT.