Believe it or not, emotions and thoughts CREATE your physical reality. They are the "energetic" template that condenses to manifest your level of happiness, health, wealth, etc. Listen to what you feel and think on a minute-by-minute basis. Are you positive, optimistic, unity/love based? Or are you negative, pessimistic, and self-centered? By practicing self-audits, you can control your emotions and thoughts. Exercising this self-control of your emotions can be the most powerful means of improving your enjoyment of life. Hint: if your thoughts and emotions are persistently cycling over and over again, stuck on fears, you are thinking of the future. If you are stuck on guilts, you are in the past. The mind tries to distract you from enjoying the PRESENT. To focus on the present, BREATHE and be grateful for the things you have going for you, right now, even if it’s only the breath you just took.
Ten slow, deep yogic breaths (see article on breathing) can do much to increase your sense of well-being by increasing your blood’s oxygen levels. Oxygen is vital to a sense of well-being and when it’s deficient, breathing properly is the cheapest, most efficient way to replenish it. Without enough oxygen you cannot produce the endorphins/eukephalins (morphine-like substances) neurochemicals that are greatly responsible for a positive state of mind. When these chemicals are in deficiency, depression can result.
My philosophy of stress management to control anxiety is to bring your body to its ultimate vitality so that it can more easily withstand the stresses of everyday life. I also emphasize techniques to help you cope with stress as you encounter it. I typically give patients physical exercises, breathing exercises and an improved way of fueling the body that will accomplish this goal. How much benefit you derive from these tools depends mostly on the amount of time and effort you put into them. This is your chance to use some simple, effective techniques to make huge improvements in the way you feel.
There are those of you who may benefit more from an evaluation and tune-up before these techniques can be fully beneficial. If you have one or more chronic injuries, rib muscle spasms, etc, you may not be able to perform some of these exercises until those underlying problems are resolved. In that case, I urge you to consult with me for a short period so we can get you back into balance and moving in a positive direction toward more vitality.
To successfully achieve stress management, we must identify or define what stress is. Simply put, stress is imbalance within body, heart, mind and/or spirit. Restoration of balance within each area leads to decreased negative effects of stress.
For example, a person exercising too intensely (anaerobic, high heart rate exercise styles to the exclusion of appropriate low heart rate aerobic style exercise) can cause repetitive overuse syndromes with symptoms of fatigue, muscle imbalance leading to pain and loss of flexibility and eventually a compromised immune function, not to mention an unhealthy craving for sugar to replace the glycogen stores depleted from excessive anaerobic exertions. Whereas a person using appropriate guidelines and a heart rate monitor will feel refreshed, relaxed, mentally clear and emotionally happy by stimulating the aerobic processes during mild aerobic, lower heart rate exercise.
An example of nutritional stress is the lack of appropriate healthy fats in the diet. In our society, we have brainwashed to become fat phobic to our detriment, incorrectly believing that eating fat makes us “fat”. Healthy fats such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and cold water fish oils (salmon, halibut, sardines, etc.) provide essential fatty acids used by our bodies for many vital functions. This includes the makeup of each cell membrane (which is the ‘brain’ of the cell), detoxification processes, creation of vital hormones such as testosterone, progesterone, cortisone etc. and production of anti-inflammitory prostaglandins. These help control the metabolism in the body in various ways. Also, they are natures premier “aspirin”. So you can see, by limiting good fats in the diet, you are promoting degeneration/inflammation in every cell of your body; making yourself dependent on synthetic drugs to control/mask the symptoms of this degeneration/inflammation, drugs that are dangerous to your health. Few people realize this, but more Americans (>40,000) die EACH YEAR from gastrointestinal bleeding from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (aspirin, Tylenol, Aleve etc.) use than died in the Vietnam war. These drugs are not to be taken lightly. They are not the safe long-term therapy most assume. The risks are real. The good news is that nature had a safe, effective nutritional answer to fight inflammation long before these drugs came along, including omega-3 essential fatty acids. If you suffer from pain/inflammation, a more logical approach would be to identify and support the body’s missing needs, to heal the underlying cause, rather than using symptom blocking chemicals with dangerous consequences and no healing.
An example of neurological balance in the body can be illustrated with blood pressure controls. Blood pressure is the result of balance between the excitation and inhibition of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight responses) . With adequate brain cortex neuronal activity, the brain dampens (inhibits) the sympathetic system to maintain normal blood pressure. When the brain output commands decreases, blood pressure rises, sometime to pathologic levels, increasing risk of stroke and heart attack. Cortical output is dependent on sensory input, primarily from mechanoreceptors. Mechanoreceptors are special nerve endings in all muscles and joints that sense motion and gravitational forces on our bodies. The more we move (including appropriate exercise) the more we wake up our brains with good sensory input, enabling the motor output controls from the brain to easily control blood pressure within safe limits. Of course, this is dependent on good posture, joint mechanical alignment and muscle balance. When these are lost due to injuries, illnesses, and conditions, rehab must be performed to restore this function so the brain and nervous system can guide the body back to optimal function, including, but not limited to blood pressure.
An example of mental balance can be illustrated with excessive thoughts keeping you focused on the past or the future. The only time in which you can truly be effective is here, NOW. The mind easily gets stuck in guilt (the past) and fear (the future). By focusing on your breathing and being in the present moment, you can be more creative and enjoy the fruits of your creativity much more. The Emotional/mental Stress Release Technique I teach is an effective tool to help center those who are overwhelmed by prior traumas (whether physical, mental, emotional, etc), without having to rely on tranquilizers or other mood altering chemicals (and their negative side effects). The Emotional Freedom Technique and the Emotional Code technique are two extremely effective ways to heal energetic blockages associated with trapped, hidden emotions, which can perpetuate anxiety in the body, which leads to any number of symptoms. These symptoms can include addictions to drugs, foods, cigarettes and alcohol, unhealthy eating habits, physical symptoms that don’t respond to structural corrections. These addictions are an attempt to self-medicate and minimize the internal anxiousness caused by the energetic blocks that need to be cleared. These blocks are the aftereffects of various traumas we experience in life, such as physical assaults, molestation, psychological abuse, and PTDS from combat experience, violent injuries and accidents, etc.
The Emotional Stress Release Technique is simple to perform and is great for those time when you have obsessive thoughts, whether it be about something as serious as death or illness, or something as annoying as not being able to get a certain song out of your head. Obsessive thoughts can be very distracting to you accomplishing your goal of living in the present.
The Emotional Stress Release Technique
When under mental/emotional stress, touch the skin directly above the brows with one or two fingers and tug with a very light pressure upwards toward the top of the forehead. Hold this light tissue tug while internally focusing on the persistant thoughts and/or feelings that are overwhelming you. Breath slowly and deeply, relaxing the body. As you replay stressful events in your mind, the mental/emotional “charge” will begin to lessen and soon you will not be able to easily focus on that which initially was overwhelming. At this point you are ready to go on to your next project for the day with more of yourself in present time, ready for maximum productively and happiness.
An example of spiritual balance is seen with a person committed to following their bliss. When following your heart, or as some say, your higher self, you will intuitively know you are on your path. While at times very challenging, the satisfaction of doing your mission in life is reward enough. I can speak from my experience that this is so true. When deviating off this path, for whatever reason, you will have a sense of being unfulfilled or longing for something more deeply satisfying. One of life’s biggest challenges is figuring out what our path is; what we came here to accomplish. True satisfaction comes from achieving this. Sometimes life changes must be made to achieve this (change in relationships, location of your home base, career, new hobbies, learning something new you’ve always had an interest in, volunteer work, etc.) Remember, courage is always greatly rewarded. To fully appreciate these rewards, you need to take the risk of changing your life to better suit you as a spirit.
An excellent book to read about how to stay in the present is The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman. This book chronicles one man’s spiritual transformation and contains many gems that can help you cope with living in this polarity-based reality.
We come into bodies to learn from this third dimensional experience of life on earth in a polarity consciousness. The name of the game is consciousness remembering itself and it’s source. Some call it the search for enlightenment. If we have patience, perserverance, courage and, perhaps most importantly, unconditional love, we can achieve higher consciousness or enlightenment and a sense of unity with all of creation.
Much of our world focuses on separation, division, conflict, selfishness, money and so forth. At some point, we discover the unsatisfying lack of fulfillment in the pursuits. Once survival, relationship, sexual and career goals have been mastered a natural draw to spiritual growth emerges. Finding a deeper meaning, a higher purpose in this life to give us true satisfaction becomes paramount. Through meditative practices we can tune out the worries of the world and make connection with our higher self, our own inner guide to spiritual growth.