The beginning of a new year is often a time that we take stock of what we have accomplished in the previous year. It is also a time that we commit to changes that we want to implement in our lives as well as resetting goals for the year to come. We reflect on what has been going well, what has not felt so good and we commit to more of what was missing in the year gone by.
After the holidays we quickly move back into every day routines and start experiencing life at full force. Stress quickly creeps back in. We dismiss the obvious signs and the impact stress is having on our body. What if we trusted our body to tell us when something is up and not good for us?
Have you ever felt aches and pains in your body and declared that they were just a sign of aging or perhaps a symptom of a particular condition. The body responds to stress in exactly the same way as it does to any other strain or illness. The next time aches and pain come to your awareness think about what is happening around you. Is there anything at play that may contribute?
Have you ever felt sick to your stomach after a particular situation or event? My usual response is that it must be due to something I have eaten or maybe that there is a virus or just some bug going around. The last thing that we think of is that it could be our bodies responding to stress. Recently, I found myself in a situation where my body decided it was time to speak up. I spent a few hours under the weather so I decided to review my day in detail. What had I eaten? Who had I been in contact with where I may have picked up a bug or something? In the end I came up empty! The reality was it had nothing to do with any of that. It was simply my thoughts and the stresses that I was experiencing which were at play! Once, I became aware at a conscious level that my thoughts and the stress I was experiencing were creating aches, pain, discomfort and illness in my body I was able to change my thoughts and feel relief.
We have all experienced times when we were aware of our bodies response to stressful situations. We may have had symptoms such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, rise in body temperature or perhaps even chest pain. Think about how you might react when a police car pulls up behind you with the lights on. Does your breathing become shallower? Does you’re your heart rate increase and do you start to sweat as you anticipate the possibility of getting a ticket? Once the situation resolves whether you get the ticket or not the stress usually decreases and your body rhythms return to normal. The heart rate slows along with breathing and body temperature drops. Your body is responding to those types of stressful situations daily whether you are aware of them or not.
Do you find yourself rundown with frequent colds? We are likely to tell ourselves it is cold season, the children all have colds, there is a bad “one” going around, all of which could be true. The question is what are we doing to wear our bodies down in order to make open to the colds and flu’s. Stress is likely playing a role.
There is opportunity for increased awareness. Once we recognize what stress is doing to us, then we can take conscious action with strategies to bring our body back to wellbeing. The next time your body sends you a message, pause, reflect and take the time to understand what it is saying and what might be the root cause.