Life goes faster and faster and our mind seems initially very capable of dealing with this speed of change. However at the same time we see an increasing number of people who are ill with 70% of all illnesses related to stress! The body it seems is not coping so well. How come?
Hopefully the words below will give you food for thought on this matter.
Beyond health and healing: part 2
The last 40 years has seen a tremendous change in the speed with which we need to adapt ourselves. From black and white TV’s with 1 or 2 channels to flatscreens with hunderds. From a turn the disc to dial phone to mobile phones with the capacity to ring anywhere in the world and access to infinite data. Letters that took a week or more to arrive now arrives the next day or with email in the next second. To name but a few changes in a lifetime or at least my lifetime so far.
Through this ‘change of speed’ - action - we’re faced with an equal increasing response - reaction. Imagine not responding within a matter of hours to an email with a question or a message left on your voicemail?
We are continuously being challenged an stimulated to react. One chalenge isn’t over yet or the next one is already there and then next and the next... it’s action, action, action,... We’re always on the ball, in tension.
What about time to ease?
In 1967 psychiatrists Holmes and Rahe examined 5000 patient records to determine wheter stress might cause illness and found a significant correlation between life changes and their illness. From these results they published the Holmes and Rahe stress scale
Those who score 300+ points within a year are at risk of illness. An example of how you can accumulate 300 points:
39 Gain anew family member
26 Spouce starts or stops work
20 Change in residence
18 Change in social activities
36 Change to different line of work
28 Outstanding personal achievement
37 Death of a close friend
As you can see in the above example of events this is only a fraction of what one person - in our western society - can go through during one year. For some this happens within 3 to 4 months. Also note that some of these changes can be seen as positive: Marriage, pregnancy, outstanidng personal achievement...
Would you associate the above when experienced over a period of one year with becoming ill?
If you think about these changes don’t you feel that you can handle them? Some events are not easy but can you mindfully deal with them?
And still, this fraction of what we’re actually experiencing leads to an increaded risk of illness!
I’ve been working with people’s health for more then 10 years and have had many a person come to see me suffering from back or neck pain, feeling depressed, having a lack of energy and/or suffer from general malaise who three to four months prior had gone through a major change in their lives. These were mostly people that moved to Brussels with their family to take up a new post at the European Comission, Parlement or NATO.
Discovering the Holmes and Rahe’s scale gave me great insight to understanding the correlation of major change and the physical pain that became intollerable 3 months later (onset was probably earlier but we mostly react it will pass). Their life had been turned upside down in a matter of months.
Take the Rahe and Holmes scale a bit further and instead of change see these events as stimuli or stressors in other words stress response provoking elements (fight and flight response). The scale was made in 1967 and as I stated at the start of this chapter there has been a tremendous amount of change over the last 40 years and an increase in speed with which we need to react.
This change is for most people no problem on a mind level as our mind seems to be very capable of adapting itslef to new situations and challenges.
The body however that seems to be another story.
If the mind can be seen as our software and the body the hardware our software has greatly expanded over the last decades. The human software has changed as a consequence of the demands we've put on it but what about the hardware, the body with all its components?
Have we adapted the hardware to suit the software?
Have we adapted the hardware to suit the software?
In IT the faster the software the lighter the hardware became. Just look at he phone 40 years ago compared to the mobile phones of today.
Maybe it is presumptuous of me to compare the above comparison with us humans but I’ll do it anyway: The smarter we became the heavier we’ve become.
We actualy have gone the opposite way.
Time to look at the hardware a bit more to shed a light on my observations.
What I think of when adapting the hardware is the speed with which the body processes information and change. We are bombarded with information, various stimuli and before we even have the chance to integrate those stimuli the next set is already upon us. Stress is not followed anymore with ease, just more stress. Ease is something that doesn't seem to be part of normal life anymore.
Our organism has an ancient survival mechanism called the fight and fight (stress) response which realeases amongst other things adrenaline and cortisol. The fight and fight response is there for our survival and must follow a time of ease to reset itself. Just like a muscle if a muscle isn’t relaxed after a time of strain what do you think is going to happen?
The properties of the fight and flight response are such that when activated (sympathetic) it must be followed by deactivation (parasymapthetic). Stress must follow ease.
If triggered chronically the stress response has a adverse affect on our health: Muscles stay tensed, immunity is lowered, certain parts of our body get decreaed blood flow through vasoconstriction (i.e. stomach) which leads to problems etc. Our internal balance is impeded.
Do you start to see the relationship between change, the increase of stimuli and the effect on our health?
I can't count the amount of people that said but I'm not stressed although they have all the physical signs of being in a stress mode. Yes, the mind might be totally ok with the demands we put on it, it is by nature capable of processing information much quicker. The body however deals with change in a very different matter and the body can over time have an adverse effect on the mind: Chronic stress can make you mindless.
Now to come back to presumtuous and methaphorical statement comparing our increased mental capacity with weight.
(And I’m not saying that overweight people can’t be smart... read on as that is not what I’m implying here)
Have you ever seen a though?
Can you see your body?
If you look at this from a vibrational perspective the mind with its thoughs you can’t see hence has a high vibration (light) and the body which you can has a low vibration (heavy).
Have you ever had a day when you felt down, depressed? How did your body feel then? Now imagine the day that you were extremely happy or better in love. How did your body feel then?
When I’m down I feel heavy and slow and when I’m happy I feel light and vibrant. You too?
How much are you able to handle in a happy state compared to when you’re in a down state?
Now here is the crunch.
Have you ever seen a happy vibrant person that is stressed?
Happy people are less susceptible for stress. Why is that?
(I’m trying to comprehend what I’m observing in others and myself here.)
Back to an example from my practice: Person comes in with severe back ache, looks a bit off-color, feels down and explain what’s the matter: I've been having a little bit of pain for the last few days but this morning I woke up and couldn't move anymore. Then I go to work. What I notice is that the body is dense, tense, compressed, I lift bot legs at the ankles for a test, they feel heavy and have lost their feel of flow. After the treamtment I feel that the body is less dense, more rleaxed, lighter and free. Lifting the legs is easier and if I pull slightly I feel they have regained their elasticity, springiness. Person stands up again and says wow I feel more grounded, I can move better, it feels I’ve just left a few kilo’s behind and what often happens is that the non physical problems they were experiencing seem to have disolved or have gotten less important, their mood is better etc. Sometimes they even reflect on a situation: Why was that a problem?
I would say they went from a low vibration to a higher vibration they are lighter and even look more radiant. Put them on the balance scales and what will you see as a difference in weight?
I’ve never tried this but I’m sure there is no difference. A person of 70 kg will walk out a person of 70 kg but still their experience of those 70 kg will be very different.
I’m sure we all felt this: In the morning we wake up 70 kg and moody and everything is a burden and heavy. Then during the day something magical happens by the evening we are happy, content, fulfilled and weight 70kg but feel lighter... our vibrational state has changed which gives us a total different experience of ourselves and when we are in the latter state we can handle the world better.
This reminds me of the states of water. When water has a low vibration it’s ice = dense state. When it has a high vibration its vapour and inbetween you have the liquid state. Our bodies are 70% water...
Our mind due to its inherent higher vibrational state is able to deal with change easier and quicker then the body. The body with it’s lower vibrational state has reached it’s limits. The body is not coping with the increase in and the speed of change/demands we put on it.
If it is so is there a way to overcome the impass and create body - mind balance?
The problems mentioned above were:
- To much change / stimuli in too short a time.
- Reduce the amount of change
- Reduce stimuli
- When depressed are bodies struggle even more...
- Be happy
- Adapt your life so that you can live a more relaxed, joyful life. This can take some time. and sometimes some very difficult decisions have to be made. My own methamprophose took 10 years and is still going on. Don’t make overhaste decisions.
- Do you feel stuck? Then maybe you need to find out your purpose in life and crate a new future.
- If needed get professional help to help you create a new life goal.
- Body tension and overactive stress response
- Get regular body work that helps you to reduce tension and balances the stress response like Osteopathic Body-Coaching does. But there are other approaches...
- Tickle your Amygdala
- Practice at least 3 times a day for 3 minutes focused breathing with positive feeling.
Start interacting with your inate wisdom. Maybe you need to change your diet and eat more vibrant food (fresh vegetables or sprouted seeds. Maybe you observe that you’re always critical of yourself and others which requires a change of mindset. Maybe you just need to smile a bit more,...
Maybe you just need to love yourself more...
Be creative and enjoy the process.