Nothing happens in a vacuum; there is connection at every level. Every act impacts someone or something else. This is true within our bodies too.
Cellular biologist and epigenetics pioneer, Bruce Lipton, has beautifully presented the science behind the connection between our beliefs and our physical health. Bruce states that our bodies are always in one of two states: rejuvenation/growth or deferred growth.
Rejuvenation/growth occurs when we feel safe and at peace; when we’re stressed or feeling threatened our bodies brace and defer growth. When growth is deferred, imbalance and disease can occur. (Bruce masterfully elaborates on the power our beliefs hold over our health and their ability to alter our genes. Though not the focus of this post, I highly recommend reading both the Biology of Belief and Spontaneous Evolution.)
“Certain types of chronic and more insidious stress due to loneliness, poverty, bereavement, depression and frustration due to discrimination are associated with impaired immune system resistance to viral linked disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and cancer. Stress can have effects on hormones, brain neurotransmitters, additional small chemical messengers elsewhere, prostaglandins, as well as crucial enzyme systems, and metabolic activities that are still unknown. Research in these areas may help to explain how stress contributes to depression, anxiety and its diverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract, skin and other organs.” Stress.org
In addition to causing physical aging and disease, stress blocks inspiration, creative flow and the ability to see the bigger picture. From this contracted space we cannot create success, happiness, health or joy.
Whether you’re currently experience stress or are in a place of peace, it is crucial to have “emergency de-stress” tools at your disposal. For me, there is no method superior to meditation. You may find that music, push ups, volunteer work or yoga are key de-stressors for you. Anything that won’t make a bad situation worse (i.e. smoking, overindulgence in food, drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping or gambling) and brings you peace should be noted for use when you encounter sustained stress.
Take control of the breath. Focus all of your attention on the length of your inhales and exhales. Make the them even, then pause briefly between each inhale and exhale. The mind is a terrible master, but a wonderful servant. Task it on watching the breath.
Once the breath is even and long, turn the mind’s attention to gratitude. If you feel there isn’t much to be grateful for, get down to basics and ask, “What would my life be like without _______________ (a loved one, a pet, air, water, food, trees)?” If you really consider the question, it cannot fail.
Building on the feeling of gratitude, affirm a positive truth that YOU believe. “I am more than this challenge.” “Life conspires to help me when I help myself.” “All things change and this shall too.” “Love is the greatest force in existence and I call on it to surround me now.” “I can choose peace rather than this (Course in Miracles).” “I am safe.”
With stress subdued, you’ll have full and balanced control of your mind along with the unclouded ability to see problems more clearly and make better choices. Your body, in a state of growth and rejuvenation, will support and carry you through the challenge. From a place of centered strength, you will successfully channel your efforts and energy toward creating the life you desire.