Let me be the first to tell you: Emotions and stress are NOT logical. You cannot always follow a clear path from when a particular emotion began. There is also no tool to let you know when it will finish. Emotional traumas get caught up in our bodies. When we experience something that is similar to a previous experience, the brain recognizes it and releases the same reaction as it did.. way back whenevertheheckthatwas. Often, we are reacting to a situation out of habit.
There was a trigger in the environment and an emotional loop got put into play.
Because of this automatic emotional response system, we are often left unaware of what we are feeling. We label feelings as ‘stress’ because we have such a hard time of giving our emotions a clear name. Even more so, we are unaware of how what we are feeling shows up in our physical bodies.
Let’s get your brain kicking with this extremely short list of 3 signs that stress is affecting your health.
1. You have a pain symptom that cannot be explained. It might be headaches, it might be neck pain. It could be a stomach ache or menstrual cramps. If you have pain in your body that cannot be explained, chances are, it’s of emotional origin.
“Nah, I’m not stressed. I mean, I have a major week at work right now and at the same time my family is visiting and my cat just died. But, I’m fine. I really don’t feel bad.”
Says the patient who just came in for upper neck and shoulder pain that showed up out of the blue.
2. A symptom that you recognize comes back. You know you sometimes have constipation. Doesn’t everyone? But this time it’s day 6 and you are losing your mind. This has happened before and even though you are aware of that, you are still trying to explain it away.
“Yeah, I’ve had this before. It was after my brother was in a car accident. The whole family was really stressed. But I don’t feel stressed now. It’s actually the anniversary this week.”
Says the patient experiencing 10 day diarrhea with no diet changes.
3. You wake up most mornings with jaw, upper shoulder, and neck stiffness. You try to explain to yourself that it’s the mattress or the pillow. The same mattress and pillow that haven’t been an issue for the past few months.
“It’s just so tight. I wake up in the morning and feel like I’ve been clenching my muscles all night. Everything in my life is great. If it weren’t for my boss who screams at the whole team every day, life would be perfect”
Says the patient with a tight jaw and possible TMJ.
We are all guilty of it. You do it. I do it.
I am guilty of it right now.
I’ve been a little busier than usual of late, running the beta test for the Listen Up! Your Body Is Speaking! e-course that I will launch in September. It’s a first round and it’s messy. There is a lot of writing, recording, editing, designing, setting up, re setting up, deleting, starting again and again and and again.
My anxiety about it all gave me a migraine. And pulled my neck right out of alignment.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I am doing right now. I am having so much fun with the blog and I am psyched about doing this ecourse. Even when something is fun and enjoyable, it can be overwhelming and stressful. My go to emotions are overwhelm, anxiety and frustration. In Chinese medicine, both anxiety and frustration build up in the shoulders and neck.
When my migraine started, I was like… WHY!?!??! And then I was like… DUH…..
Because I am more excited than anything else, I didn’t realize how much pressure I was putting on myself to create ‘the perfect course’.
Nor did I recognize that I was mixing up the success of this course with my value as a human.
Here’s the good news: once I noticed, I acted differently. I was more gentle with myself. My emotions got the recognition they deserved. This is the same pattern that I see with patients. Because I have a talent of finding the connections between life and body, I often recognize patterns that my patients aren’t aware of. Once I say it outloud – the shift starts. They realize the truth of the connection and are able to start responding better.
Take a look at this list and then share it with all your friends. I said it before, but I’ll repeat myself: we are all guilty of doing this. Not because we want to. Simply because we haven’t been given the tools to do any different.
The first step is awareness.
Are you aware?