When it comes to stress, I am an expert. I have been so stressed at certain times in my life that I have been rooted to the spot not knowing which way to turn or what to do next. I have overstretched myself in every conceivable direction until inertia set in. I knew that my stressful state was having a detrimental effect on my health, but I seemed unable to do anything about it until adrenal fatigue forced me to stop and re-evaluate my life.
Stress has a habit of disguising itself. It comes in different forms and can affect us in many different ways. On most occasions stress is easily dealt with, it comes in short bursts and doesn’t tend to have a long lasting effect. However, as we get older and are lives become busier and busier and more and more is expected of us both at home and work, stress can very easily become a chronic condition. It is not unusual at this stage, for us to kid ourselves that this is just normal life, we deny that we are stressed and therefore see no reason to do anything about it. We just cope. Or at least we think we are coping.
Our bodies are like any other piece of machinery. If we don’t look after them, one day they will give up the ghost. Research indicates that there is absolutely no doubt that stress affects our immune systems and ultimately our health and well-being. We have an inbuilt flight or fight system that in the early days was activated when cavemen were being chased by a wild animal. The moment came, the adrenalin rush kicked in and then it was gone. Today that no longer happens of course, but we do have some situations where there may be similarities, such as making a presentation at work or making a speech at a wedding, but in many cases our stresses are ongoing. For example: pressure at work on a daily basis, troublesome teenagers, long commutes to work in heavy traffic, to name but a few. These stressors often happen day in day out and the constant rush of adrenalin and cortisol eventually takes its toll on our bodies.
During my recovery from stress I found I had to make some massive changes to my life both in my everyday activities, but more importantly in my mind set. The saying “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got” is so true, but simply changing what you do, if you are essentially the same person, doesn’t actually work. There is an intrinsic need to view life differently before it is possible to change what you do successfully.
So many stress relief books teach you techniques such as meditation, yoga, NLP etc but very few help you to get to the root cause of why you do what you do in the way that you do it and why that, in turn, stresses you out. While I am fully in favour of all of those techniques for a healthy life I would like to suggest that there is something else that needs to happen to fully recover from your chronic stress.
In his book “A New Earth” Eckhart Tolle talks about the ego and how our egos sabotage our lives.
Eckhart Tolle comments that, to the extent that the ego is present in an individual, that individual is somewhat insane psychologically, in reference to the ego’s nature as compulsively hyper-active and compulsively (and pathologically) self-centered. However, since this is the norm, it goes unrecognised as the source of much that could be classified as insane behavior in everyday life. – Wikipedia
For me this was a real revelation and prompted me to research more about this approach. It also led me to writing a Kindle ebook charting my own recovery from chronic stress to optimal health. It was a revelation for me to see how my ego had actually sabotaged my life and how it had been the root cause of my stress. Of course to some extent it still can be, but now that I am aware of what is happening I can deal with it before it becomes problematic.
Article by Janet Matthews
Get your copy of Janet’s new book here.
Janet Matthews is a retired headteacher of pupils with emotional and behavioural problems. She also has a diploma (DipION) in Nutritional Therapy, and she writes blogs and articles online for her own websites and as a guest writer. Her new book “Is Stress Your Silent Killer? My journey from chronic stress to optimal health” is currently in Kindle format on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.