The society we have been placed in is one which induces stressers upon our wellbeing constantly. We all know a little or lot about how we need to look after ourselves with good nutrition and exercise.
We are aware that smoking, drinking and other activities we may or may not partake in are detrimental to our health and shorten our life span. But do we really understand what stress is doing to us physically? And why it is essential for those in control of our societal systems to keep the pressure on?
For example I had a cheque today from a large corporation, which owe me money for energy supplies as I have overpaid them last year, every bill I have ever received appears to spell correctly the account name. Yet, when they send a cheque, for the second time, it is again in the wrong account name, making it unable to cash. Of course, I threw the envelope and ranted about how idle or and corrupt they are.
This, happens in every section of our lives, when it comes to living, bills, payments, banking, government communications, all of it, just seems to have an edge of f*ck-uppery with it, which just leaves you in that constant state of, how can I make this payment, make sure I get this in on time, why did that debit come out early?
You are pressured from schools when to take your kids on holidays, as the holiday sites bump up the fees out of term time, so, you compromise and pay fines to your school instead, taking your child out of school during term time, forms, more stress, a feeling of having no control, guilt about your children’s SAT scores.
Does it feel like we are surrounded by severely disorganised people with disorganised procedures, who lack total common sense? I tend to hear people at every turn, complaining about something , which should have been very simple, but, somehow was extraordinarily complicated, and caused them stress.
Before I sympathise with your position too much, and have you raging and ranting with me. We must understand something.
When we are stressed our sympathetic nervous system is triggered into taking control, the hypothalamus part of the brain (the entrance to the primitive brain) is running the show and higher thinking is impossible, we release cortisol into our blood stream, the glucose which is pumped out from our adrenal gland (above your kidneys, below your chest) the bit where you feel nauseas when you are upset. This is to give you the ability to fight, flight or freeze, you have the power to get away or stay and fight, or you freeze if you feel the situation is beyond your control and that you have no hope.
The problem comes though, when this survival response is being triggered all of the time, and you are living in an under threat mode, you cannot think straight, your oxygen does not reach all of your organs as it should, your blood does not flow throughout your body and you shut down what is not necessary for a survival, live or die situation. You have what is called a parasympathetic nervous system, which is also described as ‘feed and breed’, or ‘rest & digest’, if you are constantly under a feeling of threat/stress you cannot digest properly, so you could become overweight or underweight, and if your weight is not effected directly, you certainly do not have the ability to take the needed nutrients from your foods that your body requires, and become deficient in minerals or vitamins, eventually this pressure on your digestive system and your blood being intoxicated with glucose causes diabetes, heart conditions, depression, and even cancer amongst other diseases.
On the end of our Chromosomes we have something called telomeres, they are like the protectors on the end of shoelaces to stop them from fraying. When these are shortened our ability to replicate new cells is decreased. They look at telomeres as a sign of ageing, the shorter, the older. People who are stressed out have shorter telomeres and lack the ability to create new cells effectively and they become dysfunctional cells and cause malformations in cell growth.
Many people have what is called impoverished neurons, due to stressful living instead of soulful living, our brain cells have dendrites, the dendrites look like trees, and when we are stressed they undergo what is called synaptic pruning. We lose a lot of the branches, the branches are what fires synaptic energy to one another for neuron communication, the less dendrites, the less your brain communicates with your body because your central nervous system is not being given the information it needs to keep you healthy and happy.
The central nervous system itself shrinks back a little, because we are having large sites of neuronal death, which is shortening the nerves themselves, when you look at all of this, it appears that as we get stressed and want to escape, our body is doing the same inside of us, trying to hide away and withdraw.
They call it shrinking, retracting, pruning, shortening, this is your body trying to run away from the stress it is under, you heat up, you become inflamed which causes infections and after a long time you literally ‘burn out’, your cells burn out and die and this is when chronic illness can take over.
The last thing I want to do, is get you stressed about feeling stressed, but want to remind you of your power here. When we know the effect stress has upon us, we may just attempt a more peaceful life, instead of willingly entering dramas too often, we are all guilty of this, all of us, because stress it a great big whack of adrenalin, a high.
You know what feels better than this though, keeping it down low, just chilling, and it is healthier for us. What I am saying is, that we must not only dwell upon the situations that are dire. But we must seek the beauty around and within us, our inner magic, our ability to soothe, heal and free ourselves. We must look for the beauty and focus on the creation of a better way of being/feeling/acting/becoming, if it is only ten minutes a day that you sit and meditate upon a ‘better’, it is enough for your body to not want to hide away, and for you to get through another healthy day.
So what do you do about the stress that is unavoidable in this world?
Attain a calm feeling when you eat, and see how long you can remain in a calm state after eating, this way you have the opportunity to take in valuable minerals and vitamins. So play calm music if you can, if you have limited time to eat at work, think nice thoughts, relive a great memory, pre-plan your meal, take a packed lunch for ease, instead of running for a take out, unless of course, walking for your lunch is what relaxes you. This is about knowing your stressers and making your life more harmonious, easier for yourself. If you have to get straight back to work after eating, let the people/things that irritate you go instead of over thinking them, it is not about letting people get away with shit, it is about letting your body rest and digest. Plus if you wait an hour to react to someone who pissed you off, you normally say things a lot easier, with more direction and the point does not get lost in anger, so the chances are things may even find a solution, but if not , at least you got things dealt with in a way you feel proud of yourself and not in a way you may feel guilty about, or rethink over later, and you are digesting, you are resting and taking what you need from your food, after all it is your bodies fuel. You have moved into the control system you want to be in.
When you are thinking to yourself of the challenges in your and/or the world, do some exercise during or after, let the aggression be used up, that glucose you released when you felt disgusted about the state things are in (or you perceive them to be in), get on the exercise bike, run up and down the stairs, sitting glucose causes illness, so burn it off, or it will burn you out. There are easy exercises even for the larger men/lady, dance it out, get a punch bag. There are things that you can do, which are at your level and abilities, even if it is simple sofa exercises, ask a professional health advocate in your local area who can give you pointers at which are the appropriate steps for your level of need.
Get creative, paint, doodle, fix things, make things, get a hobby which causes you to use the part of your brain that sees beauty in things and gives you a sense of self worth and pride. One of the biggest problems today is that everything is compartmentalised, this means everything has been reduced and removed from the whole. In the olden days if you were building a car, you saw the car at the end of the line. Everybody did there bits, in the same place and you could be in awe of the achievement. Today you are maybe in a place that just makes tyres, you only see the tyre, nothing else, your work feels meaningless, and you lose pride. A little way to feel good about your job role would be to research a little about where your tyres go, then google the craziest thing that someone did with the cars you make, and know you could have built the tyre that was on the set of a movie or drove in a journey that lasted seven days, or maybe got blown up my Hammond or Jeremy etc
Of course your job role is not tyres, but what is? and what is bigger than it? And if you cannot seek that pride, in that way, it is important for you to start and finish something, something that you see in entirety, pride and accomplishment helps us feel self worth, gives us an understanding of our value, abilities and usefulness.
We all say we have no time, but we have plenty of time to fit in little things that can make us feel a lot better about who we are, and show us things about ourselves we did not know before. We all believe that people a have a natural ability at something, a god given talent, which is mostly untrue, people who are incredibly talented in one area, practice, rehearse, understand, discipline themselves, fail a lot and win a little. They never give up, they see their goal and they go for it.
I discuss over and over again the acronym SPICES, which is used in child development, only I use it with children and adults, because we never stop growing or learning. We are always developing, if we have a balanced spice rack, we have a tasty meal, if we lose one spice, the other spices keep our flavour, but the more spices we lose, we end up with a bad bland taste.
Social: We need friends and family, who we see to keep those dendrites full of branches, we must have some social side to our lives, now this does not mean partying with 80 people, unless you enjoy partying with 80 people. For some people social interaction is just walking their dog and saying hello and smiling at the other dog walkers, again, it is about knowing what you like, what makes you happy.
Physical: Walking or dancing is a way of exercising, without exercising, have a look around your area, talk to your local health/ wellbeing teams about what is available in your area which is suitable for your limits? Most gyms are about 20-25 quid a month, like 80 pence a day, less than a mars bar.
Intellectual: We need to keep learning to keep our minds alert, and have our higher brain working more than our lower brain. If we have jobs that repetitive and do not stretch us, or we are unemployed at this time, then our minds may not be getting the stimulus they need to grow big branchy healthy dendrites. I am not saying pick up a book on metaphysics, well, unless it is a beginners understanding (unless of course you have a good understanding already). Again it is about causing joy, not more stress, if i was to pick up a book on trigonometry, I would find it difficult, however, if I read a book on sacred geometry, I would not fully grasp the mathematical understanding behind it, but I would appreciate the beauty of maths. Know your interest and go into a level you can be happy with.
Creative: As I have already mentioned, we can build, paint, sew, knit, work with wood, metals, different materials. You tube today has brought us just about how to do anything, if you do not like videos, find a library, or local groups and workshops, or just starts messing around, and remember, practice makes perfect, nobody got up one day and just did something amazing, they did lots of shit stuff first. I promise you.
Emotional: This to me is hugging, get a good hug on, with your cat, your dog, your lover, a family member, a friend. I love hugging. If you have nobody to hug, find a tree, I tell you, it hugs back. Besides the hugging to top up your feeling goodness. It is also about expressing your emotions, and detecting them, knowing when and why you feel like you do, and expressing those feelings in a way which you, and those around you feel comfortable with. When I am angry, I like to walk it out, my partner likes to talk it out, so at these times we have a big conflict, if I stay I find it hard to keep my composure and say awful things, if i leave, he gets real angry that we had no resolution, and I come home calm then he loses his composure, and says some pretty awful things. It is about knowing yourself, and finding a way to vent that helps everyone.
Spiritual: This to me comes again with creativity, I draw and doodle, it is my way of totally zenning out into another field. I source something which calms me, and takes my mind away from thoughts and worries, I am also pagan and believe in the mythology of our gods and ancestors, which gives me a connection and understanding, a feeling of magic in the universe within and around us. Of course your spirituality is your inner faith, what makes you feel like something has your back, if not a god of any kind, a lost loved one who leaves little signs around for you, to pick you back up when you feel a little lost. Whatever you find that feeling of ineffability in, it is worth looking for, if it is in the stars, in science, in the metaphysical, or in our ancestors, maybe all, it feels awesome.
Reducing our stress is vital for our health and can be achieved with a few small changes about how we think and act. You are not powerless, you are powerful, you are the change agent you have been waiting for, only maybe you didn’t feel it was important enough before, hopefully my rendition of how stress sucks the life out of you, make you want to resuscitate yourself.
Remember this, to stress less, rest or move. teach your body to be still and relaxed so you can be in the control system which allows you to be fuelled from your food, or move your ass, use that adrenalin in the faith it was given to you.
It is all just common sense that we no longer ponder, we have forgot the simplicity and beauty of our bodies and just need to fall back in love with them, like we did as a child, we knew then, how to rest and how to move, and it was never a chore.
Many of my blogs have practical tips on how to change behaviours easily, knowing a little bit about behaviour and brains, you could make yourself a life full of miracles.