Last weekend we went to see Bruce Lipton. If you don’t know of him, he was originally a cell biologist who has, over the years, gathered together some fascinating information about how our biology works, and drawn some great conclusions from that. (Find him on YouTube, or read his books – it’s inspirational and educative stuff). Amongst other things, he talked about stress and its effects, and provided me with a very useful reminder.
There are lots of reasons why stress is not good for us. It releases chemicals into our bodies, which shut down our immune system, our healing, and renewal and maintenance of cells. It also sends all our energy into our hindbrain – the primitive bit that produces knee-jerk reactions – which makes us behave stupidly. And we all know this at some level.
What I found particularly useful was to be reminded of how our bodies are stressed. There are 3 sources of stress:
1.    Physical trauma of some kind – when we are physically hurt
2.    Toxins entering the body. This could be through the food we eat or the air we breathe.
3.    Thought – our own thoughts about things.
And what he emphasised is that our thoughts are the most common and most powerful stressor that we experience. This got me thinking – I hope in a constructive way! – about the thoughts we have.
The ones that stress us most are the ones which are anchored in fear, the ones we call being anxious or worried. Now a lot of the time we know these thoughts are unnecessary and our minds are exaggerating them. You now the ones I mean – the ones like: ‘I’m running a bit late and my car might not start’, or ‘I’m feeling a bit under the weather – maybe I’ve got a degenerative disease’. We can recognise that we’ve taken 2 and 2 and made 400! And we can take a step back and realise that these are not obvious deductions, but a fear-based emotional reaction. A few deep breaths and a bit of perspective can help us to bring these thoughts back under control.
Of course, sometimes being anxious is justified: a physical pain we don’t recognise or understand; having to do something we don’t feel confident about; facing something which may well have a bad outcome, for example. We know when we’re having these sorts of thoughts because they ‘plague’ us. They keep creeping in through other things we’re doing, we can’t argue ourselves out of it with any logic, they affect our dreams.
In these cases, I think the solution is to do something about it, take an action to alleviate the situation. We can go to the doctor, ask for some help from others who have dealt with something similar, prepare ourselves thoroughly for something. Putting off doing something about it because we’re anxious just perpetuates the anxiety and therefore the stress, and that is just a vicious cycle. When we take an action, we are taking back some control, and that automatically alleviates the stress.
Let’s not give ourselves extra problems through stress we can do something about. Life’s too short!

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