Stress is a fact of life. Sometimes it gets so bad we see ourselves as unfortunate, even as lost souls. But with the right understanding and resources, we can regain strength and actually grow from stressful situations. We can use stress to find our limits and boundaries—to challenge us and empower ourselves to heal.
Being stressed out is an opportunity for growth when you approach it the right way
Stress approached truthfully and intelligently can bring evolution on the highest level. I like to think of stress as an acronym, STRESS, which stands for:
It’s an easy way to remember the different elements that make up this force that has such great impact on our lives. A clear and strong understanding of how stress is seen intelligently can only bring an opportunity for greater confidence in healing with it.
The combination of physiological, emotional, and energetic dysfunction is the first “S” in STRESS.
- Physiological: Chronic stress produces too much of the stress hormone, cortisol, which triggers a cascade of unhealthy changes in the body. Functional systems, such as digestion, hormone, immune, and cognition, are affected by chronically high cortisol levels and eventually become dysfunctional.
- Emotional: When the physiological systems are not functioning well, negative emotions come up more frequently. Anxiety, depression, and nervousness are examples of chronic-stress related emotions. How we see life (with the glass half full or half empty) will affect our emotional reactions to stress, too.
- Energetic: We exist on many different levels, energetically being one of them. (Read more about this in the Energy section further down.) When we’re healthy, our energy body is in synch with our physical body. When this dynamic is unbalanced we lose energy. A helpful analogy is to think of yourself as a computer with trillions of programs running, and how viruses in your system will slow it down or cause malfunctions.
- Thoughts: We are what we think about; high-vibration positive thoughts are healthier than low-vibration negative thoughts.Our thoughts affect our physical reality because we manifest what we think about, both consciously and unconsciously. From language to buildings to politics to technology to hamburgers—everything began as a thought.
We created words to articulate our thoughts and give form to our ideas. But often we don’t pay attention to the power of words. We use them indiscriminately, carelessly, angrily. Yet choosing our thoughts and words carefully, with wisdom, results in better outcomes. Positive words have a higher vibration than negative words—their energetic signature has better qualities. High vibrations are associated with positive feelings such as love, forgiveness, compassion and peace. In contrast, low vibrations are associated with harmful feelings such as hatred, fear, greed and depression.
In his book The Secret Life of Water, Masaru Emoto’s experiments with water molecules and crystallization patterns prove that the quality of thoughts and words (high vs. low vibration) influence the quality of water. In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, Dr. Joe Dispenza writes about the brain’s neuroplasticity and the power of words to create change—positive or negative.
- High vibrational words: Love, Happiness, Compassion, Peace, Opportunities, Respect
- Low vibrational words: Hate, Depression, Judgement, War, Problems, Dishonour
Strong sleep and restorative time outs are important for healing from stress. Our bodies have opportunity to heal when we sleep. This is when your functional systems and energetic systems regenerate and reboot.
Good sleep quality relies on a few factors:
- intelligent duration ( 8-10 hours for most people )
- a dark room to prevent disruption of your circadian biological clock
- cool temperature
- quiet setting
- a comfortable, supportive bed.
Certain hormonal and physiological dysfunctions from chronic stress can disrupt sleeping patterns—seeking support from a qualified health practitioner may help. (For a well-researched, informative book on the importance of smart sleeping, pick up Lights Out by T.S Wiley with Bent Formby.) Restorative time outs include going for walks in the park, sitting outside in the sun, deep breathing, and hugging. All these activities have been shown to reduce cortisol levels—read Cracking the Metabolic Code by Dr. James B. LaValle for more insight.
We are vibrational beings composed of many different energetic systems, including meridians, acupuncture points, chakras, and etheric fields. Vibrational Medicine by Dr. Gerber is one of the most respected and well-researched books on energy medicine. Unbalanced, stressed energy systems can affect physical biological systems (particularly the hormonal systems) and create disease.
One of the techniques I use in my practice is tapping. It is a simple, effective way to reset and rebalance our energy systems. It’s part of a method called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which helps people deal with stress and unhealthy emotions. For more in-depth opportunities to experience energy medicine, seek out healing practitioners who use the tools I have found have found most helpful in my practice such as Reiki or Qigong. Acupuncture can also help to balance energy. These skills can introduce you to new and exciting healing methods to reduce stress.
We are all here to do two things in this world: learn and help each other out. I tell this to my patients all the time. I’m also fond of signing off my emails with “Unity and Healing”. Why? Because stress is humanity’s common denominator—we all experience it, no matter what our lives look like. With such a strong connection pulling us together, it’s natural to unite for support and healing. Friends, family, health practitioners, and support groups are all potentially blessed opportunities to heal and grow from stress.
Strategies for Stress:
We all need a well formulated and executed plan to evolve from stress. (We don’t just need it—we deserve it!) You are the only one who can control YOUR life and to be successful, strategy is pivotal.
Five Minute Living: An intelligent strategy includes having the right support (see the second-last “S” of STRESS, above), and the “Five Minute Living” concept: anyone can find five minutes a few times per day to regain a healthy state of being and happiness. Five minutes of deep breathing, stretches, tapping or other energetic practices, walking, positive affirmations, peaceful quiet sitting, hydration, supportive eating and supplements, and hugging a loved one is time well spent on powerful approaches to dealing with stress.
My patients who come to me for help managing stress may get a Reiki treatment or Qigong session. Or maybe they’ll get some bodywork to release tension. But they will also get coaching to help them adopt the practices I’ve mentioned here as part of STRESS—like exercise, better sleep habits, nutrition, positive affirmations—so they can find balance in their daily lives and learn to handle stress like a master.
If you are experiencing stress and would like to learn how to manage it or would like to learn whether Reiki, Qigong and energy balancing can help you, please contact Dr. Adonis Makris, DC at 416-925-4687 or email at Amakris@orthophysio.com