Stress is NOT the problem; WHY you are getting stressed is the problem.
Understanding Stress: Stress is an important mechanism that is essential for the organism’s survival. The human body is equipped with intelligent mechanisms necessary for its own survival, growth, sustenance and capacity to heal itself. The most important of these is the ability to protect itself from dangers, without which everything else is pointless.
When the human body is lacking energy and nutrients it creates a signal to the senses and it goes looking for food. This signal is called hunger. In the same way, when the organism senses a threat to its own survival it sends a signal to all its functions to minimize energy consumption in preparation for use in flight or fight. This signal is known as stress. Stress is communicated to several organs via a hormone called cortisol. All the organs, upon receiving this signal, minimize their working capacities until the situation persists. Once the situation is over, the organs return to their normal working conditions. We don't want to suppress or destroy this capacity, which would result in the organism becoming unintelligent.
Look at it this way, when I feel hungry it means I need to eat. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if, instead of eating I choose to take a pill to suppress the hunger then this confuses the system. It's the same with stress.
Imagine you are sleeping and suddenly the fire alarm goes off. You start to panic which is a genuine stress. Your heart rate goes up and you are ready for a flight situation requiring you run out of your house to a safe place. Once you sense you are out of danger you return to your normal state slowly. Your heart beat returns to normal; your breathing becomes easy; and you are out of stress.
In the present generation, there is no fire but rather the alarm wrongly senses a fire and goes off every now and then. We respond in panic and are stressed, which is causing us to run all the time. So what do we do?
Suppress stress: Ignore the alarm, wear earplugs? Even if we do that, if there is genuine fire we may not survive because we ignore the alarm. Yet, this is what most of us do; we take pills to suppress stress and for how long can we do that? There are negative side-affects that can result from this.
Cope with stress: Become fit and strong; learn to meditate; practice some techniques like breathing, laughter, yoga etc. so that we can run up and down the stairs easily and cope with stressful situations appropriately.
Both are just ways to manage stress but in using these methods we are not questioning the core dysfunction; to really check if there is something wrong with the program that the alarm is sounded so frequently.
This program is our conditioned mind, which is made to believe there is a constant threat. When we are stressed, if we were to take a moment to look at what is making us stressed, we would understand the cause and would in turn analyze if the threat was genuine. Once we determine that the threat is not genuine, we would not become stressed unnecessarily.
To be able to do this, one should practice mindfulness where one can watch their own behavior and reaction to situations. The mind needs to unlearn the wrong programs retrain to rely on the senses, which are more intelligent in sensing danger/ threats. This is the core purpose of yoga, if practiced in the right spirit, which is to bring mind and body together in unison.
Lets not fight with stress let’s try to understand it. Peace, love and happiness are the outcomes when the mind and body work together in harmony.
Open Cirlce Yoga.