Our Perception of Stress
Our body is made up of 50 trillion cells and they work optimally by providing them with the proper nutrients.
Billions of chemical reactions happen all the time. WE are a true miracle.
The subconscious mind makes up 97% of our brain power and is estimated to process two to four million pieces of information a second. That’s the part of your brain that is responsible for your heart beating, your lungs breathing and your nails growing without being told to do so.
The conscious mind makes up the other 3% and is estimated to process 134 pieces of information per second.
Humans have been on earth for approximately 150 thousand years and we are designed for survival.
While we were hunters and gatherers, we often had to run away from danger. When that happened, our heart and lungs worked harder, our blood supply left our organs and filled our limbs to help us run faster. This is called the sympathetic system, the fight and flight response. Once our danger disappeared, our heart rate and lung function slowed down, our blood supply returned to our organs as we calmed down and returned to a rest phase called the parasympathetic system. Both of these chemical reactions are dictated by our subconscious mind. We are truly amazing creatures.
The problem arises when, fast forward to today, we find ourselves in a constant chronic state of stress. There are no cougars or grizzly bears running after us but how we perceive our lives has caused us to run away from our own selves.
When someone asks “ How are you?” the common answer is “busy” or “stressed”. Just saying those words have wired our brains to have a cascading chemical stress response in the body. If, for example we responded with “enriching and fulfilling” it would totally change the chemical response in the body.
We need to remember that we HAVE chosen this lifestyle and how we perceive it can be an important game changer to our general health.
By being in a constant “stress mode”, our digestive system struggles as there is no time to eat and digest if we are in danger, our heart rate increases, our sleep is disrupted as we need to be alert in case that bear pops up again, we have trouble conceiving and our libido decreases as theres no time to procreate if we are running from danger. We also have trouble losing weight as the body needs to keep fat storages as energy to run away.
So how can we change this?
First is to change the way we look at things and then the things we look at change. When asked how you are, pause for a moment and see if you can retrain your brain to answer in a more positive way. Using words like; full, exciting, fulfilling, fun, interesting etc.
And if you really are feeling the physical reaction of stress, you can tap into your parasympathetic system, your rest and repair mode by focusing on your breath, especially your exhalations. Try to breath in and out through your nose, making your breath longer with each round and focusing on expanding your belly in and out. Do this 10 times and see how you feel. Another wonderful breathing exercise by Dr. Andrew Weil is the 4-7-8 breath which you can view here: http://www.drweil.com/videos-features/videos/
Another way to tap into your rest and repair mode is to close your eyes and think of 5 things that you are thankful for. It’s hard to be stressed when you focus on the small sweet gifts that have come your way.
In our every day hurries, we can often find ourselves wound up so tightly that we lose ourselves in the process and forget the most important messages of love, health and happiness.
May you find your inner peace through these small changes.
Yours in Health!