Is being in constant stressful states causing long term damage? I would suggest so. Over 70% of hospital admissions in the western world is through stress related illness.
Did you know we can change our stress response by thought alone?
Most of us whether we realise is or not are living by the hormones of stress. We are literally in survival mode much of the time. This was extremely adaptive behaviour for our ancestors, the cavemen who had to constantly fight danger or be on high alert to survive. There was the constant need to hunt for food or being ready to fight a sabre tooth tiger.
So at an evolutional level, we are designed, predisposed and evolved to deal with stressful (dangerous and life threatening) situations. In such cases our bodies are very powerful fight or flight producing machines. So in such an eventuality all our stress hormones go into overdrive. Adrenaline and cortisol flush through the body’s system, blood rushes to the extremities to enable us to fight and use all our energy or to run as fast as we can. This is all highly complex and clever and was adaptive back then. In the present day it is very rare that we are faced with situations of danger.
In todays society however we produce those same stress hormones whenever we are in a state of stress, or even when we are just thinking about it.
An example would be if you are mulling over and over what to say to a work colleague after a dispute the day previously. Or after having a big argument with your partner. You still experience the same emotions and feelings as if you are still actually in that situation right there.
Continued production of stress hormones over a prolonged period of time is highly maladaptive behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, a certain level of stress is needed in certain situations. This is vital and it enables us to function to our optimum ability. However when we are constantly living by the hormones of stress, we are headed for disease, illness or other related problems.
What we don’t realise is that as we think the same thoughts this leads to the same choices to the same behaviours to the same experiences which leads to the same emotions which then returns us to the same thoughts. We are effectively conditioning the body to become the mind. This is because thoughts and feelings are directly linked.
Thoughts are created in the mind, feeling are within the body.
This is great for certain automatic programmes and habits such as driving, walking or talking. However its not so effective when we condition our body by negative thoughts that then lead to the same negative feelings. We then become conditioned to negative emotions such as those of worry, fear, guilt, anxiety, resentment and judgment. Old emotions are a record of the past so we are literally living in the past.
How can we then create a new future while we are living in the past! We may say the past defines who we but we are using situation right now to reaffirm our addictions to past emotions “Oh I’ve not got enough likes on Facebook today”, “nobody loves me”, “its hard to change”, you get the picture. These are all just old beliefs, non of which are true, but it is easier to reinforce as this is the familiar, this is who we are.
In essence our personality then becomes our personal reality.
The good news is we can change and I see transformational changes in the work that I do on a regular basis. If it was easy everyone would be doing it right?
- Firstly its important to become more conscious of the same thoughts and feelings. Much of this is automatic, a subconscious programme. So become more aware of those negative thoughts. Raise your awareness. Recognise moment to moment how you are feeling, rather than letting those thoughts pass you by on a subconscious level (most of the time we are that conditioned we don’t even realise we are doing the thinking).
- The more we can live by the feelings of gratitude and joy the more positives we will notice in our lives. Be in the now. Live moment to moment and be present. As soon as we are experiencing worry and anxiety, we are right back in the past and the moment we experience fear we are constructing a false future that isn’t even true yet.
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