Stress, the nemesis of all humans. We all experience stress every day. It might be an annoying laugh, a loud voice, a bad night of sleep, someone’s lack of respect, cold weather, money issues, politics, news, or relationships! I’ll spare you the long, unending list of the stressors we humans experience.
We often perceive stress as being done to us, by something out there, externally, circumstantial, from the world, and others. Right?
Even though life events and circumstances out there might indeed be distressing, mentally, emotionally and physically, the actual stress response (like all of our mental and physical responses) is generated within ourselves, within our mind and body.
I’d like to invite you to consider a couple viewpoints:
First, think of stress as something separate from who you are. Stress is not who you are.
Second, remember that it is possible to learn to remain in control, to be in a place of calmness, or balance.
So, is my stress real or is it all in my head? Yes! Both!! Stress is as real as the air you breath! Yet, it is perceived, created or interpreted in your mind.
Stress is very real that every human being, in fact every mammal on this planet knows what stress is. Yet, it is personal and internal, so only you know exactly how stress feels to you.
Since you are a mindbody (both mind and body), both your mental, or emotional, stress will always cause a physical reaction.
What comes first? When your body is stressed or tense, it sends signals to your mind telling it to be stressed, this causes mental stress to manifest, and there starts the cycle of perpetual or chronic stress, worry and anxiety. We can never be certain what started a stress cycle, it’s impossible to pinpoint one cause.
Modern research and my clinical experience show that our stress response is programmed in our unconscious mind, and also within our body. Not only unconscious programming and learned responses, trigger issues, etc, but literally learned and programmed responses from your physical brain, as in your vagus nerve responses, or other gland responses.
There are many mindbody stress cycles, these diagrams demonstrate some:
In fact, emotions and trauma are stored in the body (in fascia, in muscle memory, in the neurons found in your gut and heart, and energetically), this is why often we experience an emotional release during body work, such as when a certain massaged spot on the body brings out an emotion or memory. This is more obvious during trigger points therapy and myofascial unwinding therapy.
Your body keeps the score, we store emotions and trauma in the body, not only in the mind. When emotional or physical trauma happens, if we do not allow the body to release the traumatic energy immediately after the incident (often in the form of physical shaking), and if we don’t experience emotional safety, the body compensates by storing away the trauma.
Another point that often goes unnoticed is that any fascial torsion caused by an accident (be it severe or minor) actually remains trapped, your body compensates using muscles. Over time this structural imbalance manifests as chronic stress, pain or other health issues.
Whether it is your mind or body, these stored programs and traumatic memories are energy in different forms. This is where energy work comes into the therapeutic process. This is why achieving true and lasting healing requires combining mind, body and energy therapies together.
Your answer is “three” fold, you have three paths or doorways. Since you are both mind, body, and ultimately you are made up of a conglomeration of different forms of energy, and since stress is manifested or created in the mind or the body, your pathways to relief can utilize the mind, body or energy.
Your most important action is to take action, any kind of action. Start with the mind, or the body, or energy, it doesn’t matter what comes first.
Now, with this knowledge you know that you can harness your ability to manage the emotional and physical responses within you, even if they were triggered by the world.
Whatever path or tool you pick, congratulations! In doing this, you are practicing being your own best friend, and being kinder to yourself. In time you start to master your inner state, and become more able to let go of energies that no longer serve you.. In doing so, you start to create the “best version of your future self” right now. For that, I congratulate you!