Stress is a fact of life. We have all experienced it at some point in our lives. Stress can be a great motivator when you have a big project to deliver, and when your stress response is well-managed, stress ebbs and flows naturally with life circumstances. When sustained over an extended period, stress becomes dangerous and can lead to illness and disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged stress can lead to pain and tension, anxiety, poor sleep, fatigue, anger, depression, chest pain, and headaches.
The Yogis say that the body is the barometer of the soul. If you are dealing with pain or tension in your body that has been around for more than six months, then consider that you are also dealing with prolonged stress. Your body is giving you important information about its current state of health. The tension patterns that you hold in your body are the accumulation of your life experiences, thoughts, belief systems, and habits.
How often do you notice tension rising in your body when you are dealing with something stressful? Sustained stress imprints pain and tension patterns in your body, which is why you can feel tension or pain rise when you feel stressed. Throughout your life, you have been bombarded with the pressures of a busy calendar, family obligations, and to-do lists. Even a good night’s sleep can be interrupted by your busy mind or tension and pain in your body that keeps you tossing and turning at night. These are signs that your nervous system may be in overdrive, trying to cope with the constant stress and demands of life.
Often when we feel a bit out of sorts, we reach for solutions outside of ourselves. Pharmaceuticals that address anxiety, depression, and insomnia are readily available. However, they do not address the root cause of your response to stress; they are simply an interim solution when you need immediate help. All illness – mental, emotional, and physical arises from sustained stress and nervous system overload. Logic says that if you keep doing the same thing, you will simply get the same result. An unsettled body leads to an unsettled mind full of cyclical and repetitive thoughts, and an unsettled mind leads to pain and tension in your body.
Why not take a different approach?
What if, before reaching outside of yourself, take a moment to get quiet and tune into your own body to sense and feel what it needs to feel better? Your body is intelligent and continually signals to you when something is out of balance. How often do you check-in and notice how your life is showing up in your body? Where do you notice nagging discomfort, recurring headaches, or restless sleep? The more present and aware you are of these sensations in your body, the more successful you will be finding a solution and healing.
Try this one simple self-care practice called 3-3-3 Alternate Nostril Breathing to help you get started with reducing the stress response in your body. You can do this as many times a day as you need to. This practice will soothe your overactive nervous system, reduce anxiety, and lower blood pressure. Try this out for a week and see how you feel?
When we nourish ourselves, we show up more fully and vibrantly in our lives. You will experience less tension or pain, sleep better, have more energy, and feel happier.