The antidote to stress…you may be surprised

The response to acute stress is normal. It is necessary. It keeps us alive. That is its job. Stress is when your brain and body are knocked out of balance. The stress response is what your body does innately to bring it back to order.

Acute stress doesn’t last. Something triggers the stress response. Then the stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released into the blood stream. Blood is shunted to our limbs and our heart rate increases to help us get the heck out of dodge. And then when the stressor or danger is no longer present, our heart rate slows, blood is returned to our “non-essential” digestive and reproductive organs and our blood chemistry returns to normal, we come into balance and we feel relaxed again.

That is a normal response to stress. The problem occurs when stress becomes chronic. I know this all too well as a result of the pressure I have put on myself for the majority of my life, playing the “I gotta get it right” game.

Chronic stress is when we can’t turn the stress response off. We can live in this chronic stress mode for quite a long period of time until our bodies can’t cope any more and it affects the way our systems function. Living in emergency mode (chronic stress) for an extended period of time leads to disease. Period. The hormones of stress push the genetic buttons that create disease.

I didn’t even know I was living with chronic stress. It is that sneaky. It flies just under the radar. And I wasn’t listening to all the symptoms my body was giving me, such as fatigue, pain, tension, digestive and hormonal issues, skin cancer…

But I don’t want to stay focused on what chronic stress is. I want to focus on what to do to come back into balance.

There are a few antidotes to stress but the one that has meant the most to me is love and connection.

Feeling stressed is a very lonely experience, even if you are surrounded by people. When you are stressed, you are in your own little world, very self focused because you are, after all, in survival mode. I felt very alone at times and that it was all up to me to take care of and no one would understand what I was feeling.

That feeling of separation is an ego construct. The stressed state is not the truth of who you are. It is the ego’s way of having you feel separate, of feeling alone. It feels very very real but it isn’t true. When you feel stressed, you don’t tend to socialize or connect with people as much and it feels lonely.

What I have come to know is that me reaching out and connecting, me getting into my heart and asking what would love do has been my way out of the stress forest. It changed my blood chemistry from stress to bonding. Oxytocin is released into the blood stream during a hug and when a mother breast feeds. It is a bonding hormone that makes you feel good. It counters the affects of the stress hormones. It is a great example of how love and connection are an antidote.

When I am connecting with others at a heart level, I feel relaxed and really good. Life flows better and is way more enjoyable. It is the opposite of the separation I feel with the fear/stress response.

I had a realization last week that I talked to my husband about. We are both really good at giving each other space to work through whatever is going on for us. We take full responsibility for how we are feeling and we have faith in each other to do what we need to in order to move through things. We don’t need to save one another. What I realized though is that I feel very alone when I do that as I tend to isolate myself. So I told him that I would love us to really stay connected and communicate even more when each of us is moving through something. We can still do what we need to on our own and stay connected at the same time. It will require some practice as isolation is quite an ingrained pattern of mine.

So the next time you feel separate or alone, your system is likely stressed and instead of focusing on reducing stress, put your attention on love and connection. What you put your attention on grows. Reach out to family or friends. Look people in the eye and smile when you see them walking down the street or in line at the grocery store. Make a stranger’s day by asking them how their day is going. Or maybe the connection that is needed is with yourself, giving yourself some love and connecting with what you need to feel good. There is no need to be an island unto yourself.

Love and connection is how you shift from survival stress mode into thriving and enjoyment. Who’s day can you make today?

Much love,

Glenda

Stress is Optional?

The truth is, yes, stress is optional. And I know this will push the buttons of more than a few people, especially the ones who are really in it right now, up to their eyeballs in overwhelm.

I sooooo get it! I would get so triggered and pissy when I felt stressed out and my hubby would remind me of this fact. Yes, the F bombs flew! And I also knew deep down that it was true, that I actually had choice in the matter.

So let’s dissect this down a bit. What is stress exactly?

Stress = pressure + worry (or some other negative emotion).

A lot of people actually believe that pressure alone is stress but it isn’t.

You can give two different people the same task to do in the same amount of time. Both have pressure to complete the task so that is the common denominator.

What is different is that person A may look at the task, breakdown the steps and just start. Person B could look at the task, breakdown the steps but also add a story about what if I don’t get it done? What are people going to think? What if I don’t get it done and I lose my job? They begin ruminating and going down the rabbit hole of all the worst case scenarios. They create a story that not getting the task completed in time means something bad about them. They both had the same pressure of the task but person A wasn’t stressed and person B was.

Now you may be thinking that person B doesn’t have a choice. That is just who they are, a worrier. But I beg to differ. Person B is not a worrier. That isn’t who they really are. They just have a learned behaviour pattern of worrying. They are choosing to worry, albeit subconsciously, as a result of a limiting belief and protective mechanism they took on as a child. In this case, the belief is “I’m not good enough” and the protective mechanism or behaviour is to worry.

So stress actually is a choice. We are choosing to worry or put undo pressure on ourselves. Now why on earth would anyone choose that? After all, it feels like crap and when escalated can feel like you may be having a heart attack. Who would choose that?

The majority of the time, it is not a conscious choice. We are only aware of 4% of our conscious thoughts. The rest of our thoughts and beliefs live in our subconscious minds where we are not aware of them and they are creating our realities. It is only when we become conscious of these subconscious thoughts that we have choice.

Awareness gives us choice which is exactly why I am talking about it today to start the contemplation of what beliefs/thoughts and habitual patterns are at the root of feeling stressed. Awareness is the first step. Then the unravelling and disengaging from these patterns can begin.

What I have come to know is that underlying worry and limiting beliefs is fear. If fear didn’t exist, we wouldn’t worry and we wouldn’t hold ourselves back in any way. Guess where a lot of our fears live? Yep, in our subconscious minds.

So what are you afraid of? And fear can be pretty sneaky and disguise itself in many ways so look closely. Fears can seem pretty darn powerful. When you are in the grip of fear, it feels really really real, even if you know better, even if it doesn’t make logical sense. And when we are stuck in fear, it often feels like there is no way out. But there is.

Let yourself feel it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t stuff it down. It doesn’t go away when you do that. It silently pulls your strings in the background. You aren’t free from it.

Acknowledge the fear, look it in the face, feel it and be with it. Don’t judge it or judge yourself for feeling it. Just experience the sensations of it and watch it. Don’t make it mean something. Just let it move through you. It is amazing how quickly it will move through you and dissipate when you don’t resist it or get in its way.

Once you are on the other side of it, you can look at it if you want and see that the fear isn’t real in the first place (False Experiences Appearing Real) or you can just get on with taking steps forward.

It is a simple process and yet not easy. We are taught to fear our fears, to avoid them at all costs. Don’t admit your fears or you are weak. And the biggest fear of all is, if I admit my fear and allow myself to feel it, that I won’t come out of it and I will be paralyzed, stuck. The truth is that never happens if you don’t resist it or get in its way. I have guided many people through this process because it can feel very unsafe and people often lose their way. This isn’t something you have to do alone. You are capable of it and you can but you don’t have to.

With the fear out of the way, there is no need for worry/stress, no need for our nervous systems to go into fight or flight. We can proceed in a calm, centred state where our brains work better and where solutions are discovered. It feels a lot better and is easier to move forward.

Fear is a really good distraction by our Egos from getting on with what we are here to do. We are here to be the gift that we are, to create and enjoy life. Life is about moving forward, not being stuck in fear.

Now you may be asking, can I feel the fear, not get rid of it and still move forward? Feel the fear and do it anyway? You bet and that’s what I have been playing with lately, expanding my capacity to be with the discomfort of fear and still do my thing. It definitely is a muscle that requires exercising and it is a faster way to move forward. You don’t even need to know what the fear is or where it came from. Knowing that gives the mind peace but it isn’t necessary. But I will tell you that it is uncomfortable and where I started first was allowing myself to fully feel fear first and then take steps once the fear dissipated. It wasn’t as quick but it felt better.

So both ways are absolutely possible and you get to choose. You do not have to be ruled by your fears and you do have the power to move forward inspite of them. As always, I am hear to be of assistance if this is something you desire support with.

So circling back to stress. Feeling stressed is indeed optional and you can choose to live in stress mode (survival mode) or to live free of fears/stress that hold you back. You get to choose. Ask for support and begin freeing yourself today.

Much love,

Glenda

Colds…Flu…What’s Your Medicine?

Waking up to a frosty morning this morning reminded me that summer is most definitely over and fall has taken the reigns. Where has September gone? It isn’t a surprise that September has come and gone because it is always a busy time in our family with back to school, kids’ activities starting up, business licence renewal, 4 birthdays and our wedding anniversary.

And yes, I overdid it and got sick. That seems to be my M.O.. When I get too caught up in the to do list and stop listening to my body, I get sidelined so that I have to look after myself. Thank you Body!

Ideally the best scenario is to not get sick at all. I mean, who likes feeling crappy? Not this gal. So prevention is definitely the best line of action, without a doubt. But that is for another day. I want to discuss what to do when you are feeling like pulling the covers up over your head and hibernating. I moved through this last bout of “sickness” very quickly and with a lot more ease than in the past and I want to share some of the things I did differently this time.
I am not going to talk about all the other ways to help ourselves such as drinking lots of fluids, eating nutritious food, taking supplements, essential oils etc. cause you know all that stuff. I’m more interested today in talking about some different aspects of healing that you may not have considered.

This first point is a no brainer. REST. I realize I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. Sleep and rest are how our bodies repair and regenerate. But what you may not be aware of is that how you rest is a big part of your recovery.

Do you rest, fully accepting where you are at, dropping your agenda of all the things you were supposed to do, and giving yourself what you need?

OR

Do you resist the fact that you aren’t feeling well, still try to get some things on the list done with the occasional nap here and there, willing yourself to get through the day to the time when you can collapse in bed once the stuff gets done?

OR

Do you actually rest because you have to, because you feel so crappy but you are beating yourself up for being sick and not doing all the things and feeling guilty for someone else having to pick up the slack?

Which scenario do you think is most supportive of getting better faster?

Now, I get there are some exceptions to the rule because life happens and sometimes we just have to show up, sick and all. But what I invite you to do, is look at what your pattern is when you aren’t feeling well.

For all you Mommas, are you still trying to run the household and the family from your bed? Or are you letting your partner do that? I promise you, the house will not fall apart and your kids will survive without you. Your partner is fully capable whether you believe that or not. So when you are sick, let go of all the shoulds, have tos and musts and just rest.

I spent an entire day in bed, letting my hubby look after everything and I think it was a big part of why I recovered so quickly. You may receive some backlash if your family is used to you doing everything but don’t let that get you out of bed. It’s actually a win all around if you honour yourself and get the rest you need.

And if you aren’t in a position where you can delegate, throw away the to do list as much as you can and only stick with necessities. That does not mean housework. Your house will not fall down if left to its own devices for a few days.

The next point is about medicine. I’m not a big fan of taking medicines such as decongestives etc. I know my body can heal itself without the help of pharmaceuticals so I avoid them as much as I can. My medicine of choice is energy medicine.

There are a lot of different types of energy medicine but I will share what I used that I really feel made a difference. Everything is energy, including our bodies. They are made of energy and energy runs through our bodies along different channels. Being a practitioner of Chinese Medical Acupuncture, the channels I use are the meridian system and acupuncture points on the body to help myself recover. Sometimes I needle myself and sometimes I tap certain points. Tapping is something you can do lying in bed and doesn’t require a lot of energy to do. So as I was resting in bed, I tapped 4 different acupuncture points several times during the day. You can use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and go through all the points along with voicing how you are feeling and what you are thinking, which is a great practice in itself, or you can just tap a few points.

The ones I used this time are from Donna Eden, an amazing energy practitioner. She calls them The Four Thumps and they help boost your immune system, balance your blood chemistry and electrolytes and reduce toxins and stress.

You start tapping or thumping beneath your cheekbones, next to your nose (LI 20), for 15 seconds. Then move to Kidney 27 points which are just below the medial ends of your collar bones and thump firmly for 15 secs. Then thump the centre of your sternum over your thymus for the same time. Finish with thumping on the neurolymphatic spleen points that are beneath the breasts and down one rib. These points are often tender, meaning that the thumping or tapping can help release toxins in clogged areas. Watch the video below to see a demonstration.

While I didn’t have a lot of energy to be out of bed, this was something I could do while I was resting to get energy moving through my body to help it heal.

Another thing I did while laying in bed was deep breathing. Our lymphatic system which drains fluid from the blood vessels, doesn’t have a pump. It is reliant on contraction of our muscles for fluid flow. So even though I wasn’t moving much while lying in bed, I could use deep breathing as a way to affect the lymphatic flow in my torso. Not only did it help my lymphatics, I felt more relaxed which helped me rest even more.

So after a day of a head that felt like it weighed a ton of bricks, I woke up the next morning surprised to feel way less congested in my head. I also had energy to get out of bed and start moving a little.

Knowing that moving the body is so important for healing, I got on my yoga mat, snotty nose and all. I wore my comfy cosy clothes, had my tea and kleenex box close by, turned on Youtube and had a date with Adriene. Yoga with Adriene is amazing. She has a video for everything, including Yoga for when you are sick! You can check it out here. She takes you gently through a restorative yoga practice which feels really good, especially after lying in bed for a while. And if you know about yoga, it not only addresses your physical body, but it also promotes energy flow which enhances your healing.

Now to be clear, I didn’t really want to get my ass on the yoga mat. I still wanted to stay in a fetal position and watch Netflix but I knew how much it would help me, and it did. No one really wants to do the things that help us the most or we would do them all the time, wouldn’t we? So don’t listen to your ego trying to talk you into self sabotaging behaviour feeling sorry for yourself. You ain’t no victim!

You now have a few more items in your “navigating colds and flus” tool box. Like any tool, they can’t help you unless you pull them out of your tool box and use them. Do the things you know will help you heal and you’ll find yourself feeling better faster.

Until next time,

Much love,

Glenda