5 Steps to Break the Cycle of Stress

5 Steps to Break the Cycle of Stress

 Stress is a major factor in illness.

Stress is an important factor in the vast majority of illnesses, both directly and indirectly.  Stress can have a negative impact on just about every part of your body.  It can suppress your immune function, cause a heart attack or stroke, increase your risk of cancer, delay wound healing, promote inflammation, cause you to gain weight, impair your memory, cause depression, exacerbate diabetes, and worsen your sexual function . . . just for starters.   Stress also makes you age faster even at a genetic and cellular level.

Life is becoming increasingly difficult

A lot of people are feeling that life is increasingly difficult as our world seems to be spiraling out of control.  We watch helplessly as parts of our globe descend into madness and terrorism, and our governments seem increasingly unresponsive to individual needs.  Our lives have become more complicated and we are constantly bombarded with information through television, printed materials and the internet.  Rather than having quiet family time in the evening, our families are scattered doing different activities.

Stress comes from what is going on inside

Stress comes not only from what is going on in your life, but even more important from how you react to it.  When you practice simple stress management techniques, on a regular basis, you can be in the same job, the same environment, even the same family but react in more constructive and healthful ways.

Stress management tools assist us in reducing stress. 

Stress management techniques assist us in responding to the stresses in our lives in a detached and constructive way.  Rather than reacting to events in our lives with fear and contraction, we can respond to them with awareness, love and creativity.  There are many stress management techniques that can be applied and even become our habitual way of being.

We can address stress through physiological techniques such as breathe management, exercise, yoga and relaxation techniques or through psychological techniques such as meditation and conscious introspection.   These techniques assist us in releasing accumulated stress and tension and bring about a greater awareness of how we create stress and tension through our mental, physical and emotional reactions to events in our lives.

Deep breathing provides instant stress reduction. 

Breathing techniques are one of the quickest and easiest ways to break the cycle of stress.  If you slow down and deepen your breath, you will automatically become more relaxed.  When you breath slowly and deeply, it initiates a relaxation response in the nervous system and helps you to become more aware of your reactions. 

Awareness is a key component in reducing stress.  

This week, take some time to contemplate the following:

  1. What are the things in your life that cause you to feel stressed?
  2. What do you do when you feel stressed?
  3. Observe yourself over the next week and notice your stress level, what causes you to feel stressed and what you do when you feel stress.
  4. Consider health ways to address your stress, such as exercise, journaling, breathing, talking it out with a friend.
  5. Experiment with addressing your stress in new ways.

Share your questions, successes and thoughts below.  

Courage

Courage

Each day of living with fibromyalgia builds my courage.

Each moment I embrace myself with love builds my courage.  

I am blessed. 

“Every situation is an opportunity for growth and development.

Everything that happens supports my learning process

and brings me back to my Real Self.  

The challenges I face are always in line with my ability to meet them.

Challenge strengthens my faith in myself and God.”

                                                                                       Nogah Lord

4 Types of Heart Wounds

4 Types of Heart Wounds

Heart wounds are those experiences that get lodged in our heart that disconnect us from our connection to God, our sense of our inner self and our authentic self.  These heart wounds are what make us feel like we are not enough and that we can’t trust our own inner knowing.  They inhibit our aliveness and inhibit the expression of who we really are. 

These heart wounds are the foundation of ill health.  The inhibit joy and the free flow of energy in the body.  We compensate for these wounds by compromising our expression in the world.  By being disconnected from our true self, we become the walking wounded; physically, emotionally and mentally.

The four basic types of heart wounds are:

Neglect

Neglect happens when we do not receive the love, nurturing and basic care when we are infants or even later in life.  It sends us the message that we are not important.  When we are neglected, we tend to feel invisible and not enough.  We crave love and care.   We crave the loving nurturance that a loving mother would give a child.  Our self esteem is gone.  Our sense of self is weak. We are afraid to express our self.  We fade into the background and live a life of secret misery. Our beauty and gifts are lost to the world. 

 Abuse

Abuse happens when we are openly criticized, physically abused, sexually abused or emotionally abused.  Abuse is a direct statement from the abuser that who we are isn’t ok.  It sends the message that who we are isn’t enough; that we need to be someone other than who we are to get our needs met and be loved.  We often feel like life isn’t safe.  We never know when the next ‘blow’ will come.  We often compensate for this by becoming a people pleaser.  If we can just be or do the right thing, then we will receive love and our needs will be met.  Yet our inner self is dying for love, attention and expression. 

Co-dependency

Co-dependency happens when those who raised us have unhealthy boundaries and therefore, we never learn healthy boundaries.  In this case, our sense of self is obscured.  We derive our sense of self through other people not through our self.   We need the approval of others to feel ok.  Our true self cannot be felt and expressed.  We often lack healthy boundaries.  We allow others to abuse us.  We are people pleasers.  We take on other people’s problems to solve.  We don’t know what we want or need.  Even if we did know what we wanted or needed, we are powerless to claim that.  We are too busy taking care of others or living through others. 

 Loss

Loss is when we have a loss of someone whom we loved and or who loved us.  If is the loss of a parent at a young age, it undermines our sense of trust in the world.  It lodges a deep sense of sadness within the heart.  If the loss occurs when we are very young or have any of the other core wounds, we may not have the inner resources to overcome the loss and the sadness may linger into adulthood.  We live a life of sadness and depression without knowing why. 

This may sound tragic and it is.  It is the loss of ourselves, our freedom, and our joy.  I believe the underlying cause of fibromyaligia is unhealed heart wounds.  It has certainly been a major factor in my health challenges.  

The good news!

The good news is that these wounds can be healed and we can move beyond them.  In fact, in the process of healing our core wounds lead us to great strength and power.  They teach us compassion and love and many other lessons.  

Introspection for the week:

  1. Look within and notice which of these heart wounds you have experienced.
  2. Notice how they have impacted you and your life.
  3. How have you compensated in order to survive with the unhealed wound?
  4. What healing of the wound(s) have you already accomplished?
  5. What still needs to be healed?

Stay tuned. 

Coming soon:  

Healing the Wounds of the Heart: An Online Group Healing Circle 

The Art of Self Love: Right Relationship with Body, Mind, Heart and Spirit

In the meantime:

If you would like assistance with healing your heart wounds, sign up for a complimentary Discovery session or an Inner Transformation session with Bindu.

With Love,

Bindu

Accepting the Unacceptable – Equanimity Pt 2

Accepting the Unacceptable – Equanimity Pt 2

Accepting the Unacceptable.

When I wrote my blog last week, I was reflecting on the power of equanimity.  The story that I shared shifted the way I perceived life, but it did not happen overnight.  I was pretty anchored in victim consciousness, struggling with health issues, career issues . . . . well in essence, my whole life was unraveling.  I had quit my job and was moving from Colorado to Massachusetts to study Macrobiotics.  It was the beginning of my quest for improved health and inner peace.

As I listened to the story of the Farmer and the Old Horse as I drove cross country, I was amazed.   I had never even considered that the things happening in my life that I thought were bad, might not be in the long run.  It took me years and many ups and downs in my life to fully embrace the idea of equanimity.

As I was posting last weeks post, I wondered if people with fibromyalgia could embrace such a concept.  The phrase Accepting the Unacceptable came to mind.  Living with fibromyalgia, is a day to day experience of accepting the unacceptable.  Mostly because there are many days that there is nothing you can do except to surrender to the pain, fatigue and depression that you feel.  And some days, not even that.

How can we Accept the Unacceptable?

And why would we even want to?  Isn’t accepting it just keeping us stuck in it.  Don’t we need to fight it and do everything in our power to find a solution?  To heal, or to reduce the pain, fatigue, depression, IBS, etc, etc, etc.

In my years of struggling with fibromyalgia, I learned a lot.  I spent years resisting and denying what was happening in my body.  I would push beyond what was comfortable, thinking I could move beyond the pain.  In the long run, that only made me feel worse and led me to wishing I could just die, because life was just too painful.  A phrase from the song Wildflower by Skylark would often come to me: sleep is the only freedom that she knows.  This was my life.  Going to bed at night, even with restless sleep was the only freedom from the pain and depression I lived with every day.    Waking up in the morning and having to get out of bed was meeting the pain and fatigue all over again.

Accepting that I couldn’t power my way through this, was a life changer for me.  I had to be honest and realistic with myself.  I had to be honest about what I could and couldn’t do.  I had to listen to my body and stop pushing myself.  Once I did that, I began the healing process.  I began to slow down.  I was able to say no to what I couldn’t accomplish. Both to myself and my family.

This was a major turning point in my life.

Out of this acceptance and listening to my body, I began to be able to manage my symptoms so that they were tolerable, and I could maintain a more consistent level of functionality.  By listening to my body, I found foods that were more supportive and exercise routines that worked for me.  I discovered how much sleep I needed and what would disturb or enhance my sleep.  I found the kind of regular schedule that would support me in keeping the symptoms at a tolerable level.  I discovered what kinds of activities I could engage in and others that I needed to avoid.  I could tell when my emotions and anxiety were spiraling out of control and learned ways to pull back to take care of myself.

By Accepting the Unacceptable, I found myself and was able to shift into healing. 

As the years progressed, I began to understand the gifts that were inherent in my years of suffering.  I really got the truth of the story of the Farmer and the Horse.

I began to understand the positive impact having fibromyalgia had on me.  I began to receive the lessons of awareness, compassion, and truth that I received by living with fibromyalgia.  I began to let go of old conditioning and discover my authentic self.  Having fibromyalgia changed the trajectory of my life . . . many times.  It forced me to heal on many different levels.  It transformed me from a weak, unfulfilled, mean, needy, shallow person, to a strong, fulfilled, empowered, kind, self-sufficient woman.  For that I am grateful.

Weekly contemplation: 

This week take some time to ask yourself where you can allow more acceptance to happen.

  • Can you say no to a family member as you accept the fact that if you join a family event that you will be in pain for a week?
  • Can you say no to yourself as you accept that if you clean the house today you won’t be able to get up and fix breakfast in the morning . . . and need to ask for help?
  • What other examples can you come up with???

These moment by moment choices to accept what is and make choices based on what is, will pave the way to rebuilding your health.    Check out my blog that I will post in two weeks entitled:  The 5 phases of Fibromyalgia which takes the process even further.

Next week I will post the third installment of the Power of Equanimity and offer some tools to begin to develop and nurture the state of equanimity in your consciousness.

In the meantime, please share your insights and experiences as you experiment with Accepting the Unacceptable.

Taking Responsibility

Taking Responsibility

Positive and Negative . . .

Every moment in our lives presents us an opportunity to evolve our consciousness.  Stuff happens that we don’t like.  Our plans get blocked, our hopes don’t turn out the way we wanted, people get hurt or someone is mean to us.  All sorts of things that we don’t like are happening to us or around us all the time.

Our conditioning is to push away the “negative” thing and try to hold on to the “positive” things.  But that doesn’t really work as life always presents us with both positive and negative.  That is part of living in a relative world on planet earth.

 “If you argue with life, you lose.” 

This is one of my favorite sayings.  If you really watch life, you will find that it is true.  Life happens.  What is, is what is.   A family member is mean or greedy.  Your child gets a bad grade in a class.  Someone dies.  You do something that you later regret.

This is life.  Stuff happens.  No matter how little we dislike something, that isn’t going to change what has already happened.

Buttons

We all have buttons or triggers.  If you watch your experience, certain things set you off.  If you watch this, you will see patterns in your reactions and thinking.  Some examples are:

  1. Angry people sent you running away in fear.
  2. Something that you perceive as unfair or an injustice trigger anger in you.
  3. You attract people who don’t seem to hear or appreciate you. You feel unappreciated, unloved or worthless.

Opportunities

Every time one of your buttons gets pushed, you have an opportunity.  You can rant and rave and tell the world how awful life is.  You can go within and look at your button.   Being conscious around our buttons being pushed is an opportunity to expand our consciousness.  Often, our buttons are an opportunity to release a negative emotion or belief.

Feeling our emotions is freeing

I discovered years ago that often when I wanted another person or circumstances to be different that I wanted to change the outside, because I didn’t want to feel the emotion that had been triggered within.  Once I took the time to go within and feel the emotion, I would feel free, empowered and not upset by the same circumstances.

Going within, identifying the emotion and the belief that holds that emotion in place is the first step in freeing yourself from negative life patterns and situations.   It also helps if you can identify the underlying source of that emotions or belief.  Maybe angry people trigger fear in you because you grew up in an alcoholic household and anger was a precursor to being beaten.

A shift in consciousness

Once the emotion is felt and the underlying belief and source is identified, you will not react to a similar situation in the same way.  You will have the opportunity to meet life with more awareness.  With more awareness, you have more options available to you.  You have the power of choice.   Rather than reacting blindly to the world outside, you are more empowered to respond differently and create a new inner reality.  This is evolution in action.

Awareness Practice for this month

This month, watch how you react to different situations in your life.  Notice what your Buttons are.  Become aware of patterns and similar situations that trigger you.  Notice what emotion you are feeling underneath your thoughts.  Feel your feelings.  Watch your thought patterns.  Notice what begins to unfold as you begin to expand your awareness of your inner world in this way.