Transformation 1 – Intention

Transformation 1 – intention.

This blog series is my effort to document the process of transformation that we might undergo in order to become whole or truly ourselves, the person we are meant to be. In order to transform consciously and purposefully we can’t just write about it or think about it. The change has to involve doing things differently, behaving differently. It has to involve action of some type.

In writing this blog I hope to not only learn how to transform myself but also help other people learn how to transform. The intention is to transform myself into a person who is more aligned with my inner self. This inner self is the essence of who we really are but often it is overshadowed by our outer persona. The persona we display to the world comes about as we are shaped by the outer physical world. We let ourselves become a person that sometimes only faintly resembles who we really are. We do so because it is easier than being true to our real self.

My intention when I started this blog was to become truer to myself, authentic, more whole. While I had discovered much about my true self in writing my first book, Holistic Medicine, it seemed that I still lived according to other people’s rules. I still paid too much attention to what society and my ego self expected of me.

Could I transform myself into the person I was meant to be without chaos, illness or drama?

And how was I going to do it?

Without knowing what the process would be I first set the intention that this is what I am going to do. The intention is set by the action of beginning to write this blog and document my progress. I trust that the process will reveal itself as I take each step and documenting it all not only helps me but potentially helps others who wish to transform themselves into more authentic people.

The reasons we are not authentic are many and varied. We tend to become less authentic when we let society or those around us dictate how we should behave. Often it is our own expectations and beliefs that trap us in a life we don’t really love. For surely being authentic is about living a life that is full of joy and love and service to the world. It is about living the life we were born to live, following our true path, our destiny.

How do we identify our true path? How do we know when we are not on it?

The simplest answer is that our true path brings us joy and when we are not on our true path we are not living with joy. Our life drains us and we are unhappy. But changing our life is often a long-term process.

In order to transform into the person I desire to be, all I have to do is align my outer self with my inner self. Of course it’s that easy! My inner self is the eternal part of me, my soul, my connection with Source (the universe, God etc.). This part of me is full of love and knows exactly what the path is. My outer self is the ego me, the mind that chatters away, often with negative thoughts and beliefs. Transforming into my authentic self is about being constantly in touch with my inner self and source. My intention is therefore to live a life in touch with source energy. Setting this intention is important. Like any process living my life in touch with source energy does not have an endpoint and it isn’t a physical outcome so much as a spiritual one.

Once upon a time my intention was to transform my life into a life full of joy and happiness and I thought the way to do this was to stop work as a doctor and become a fulltime writer. So my intention was much more focused on the physical dimensions. For years I fantasized about stopping work as a doctor and just being able to write. I changed jobs frequently trying to find something that was more joyful and fulfilling. Yet I always ended up in the same place. That was because my intention had such a physical outcome attached to it. My inner self and source were always leading, attempting to get me to follow my true path and my true path is to be authentic. Now my ego thinks it knows what that means but it doesn’t. My ego thinks my true path is to be a writer not a doctor. My ego plans and plans and focuses on outcomes that never happen. So now my intention is to live a life in touch with source energy and I can do this by aligning my inner and outer self. In this way my outer persona is a reflection of my inner self – that is what being authentic is all about.

If your intention is about physical outcomes then this blog is probably not for you. While I will go through certain steps or processes that help you transform into a more authentic person it is not a recipe for achieving specific physical goals. Our inner self knows what achievements we are capable of and the direction our lives can take. Our ego thinks it knows what we can achieve but these wished for achievements are often fantasies that society has sold to us. We are all special but often not in the way we fantasize about. When we manage to live our lives directed by our inner self and source we achieve things we never knew were possible but they may not reflect what our ego dreams of.

To set my intention with this spiritual focus of being authentic to my inner self is new for me. All those years I have been trying to be authentic I have just been trying to achieve an ego fantasy of what I believed was my authentic self. I believed that my real role in life was to be a writer not a doctor. Having set my intention to now be authentic I am now open to what my inner self and source have in mind for me – my ego does not know what that might involve but living life with the intention of being authentic opens me up to many possibilities that I may not have even entertained.

I have lived much of my life trying to follow my authentic path but this is the first time I have let go of the outcome in physical terms and set my intention in purely spiritual terms. I intend to live with my physical self aligned with inner self and spirit. Or in other words to manifest my inner self on the physical level. Let’s see how it goes.

 

 

 

Transformation – introduction

I had set out to write a book on transformation but have decided for the time being to publish it as a blog. Books take a long while to write and I am keen for some feedback on the topic while I am exploring the process.

My life has been a series of transformations. This is true for most people and especially for those of us interested in personal and spiritual development. Many of our transformations are brought about by suffering or tragedy. Events that happen that jolt us out of our daily grind and make us realize there is more to life than we had been living. Positive experiences can also cause us to undergo transformation – the birth of a child, falling in love, landing the perfect job, or meeting a special friend.

Often we let our lives pass in this way; waiting for change and transformation to arise out of our life’s events. What if we were to actively embrace change and transformation? What if we were to decide to transform ourselves on a day to day basis in order to become a better person? Of course this is the basis of personal and spiritual development and there are many traditions that recommend such an approach. Choosing to actively transform ourselves into the person we were meant to be. Becoming more authentic. Allowing our soul and inner self to be reflected in our outer persona and our life story.

This is what I propose to explore in this blog series. Choosing to transform. Choosing to grow and change into a better version of ourselves. This version is already present within us but it takes some work to allow our outer persona to be in alignment with our inner self.

My first book Holistic Medicine put forward a model that we can use to understand ourselves better. Holistic Medicine sought to provide people with a way to grow through chaos and transform and heal themselves. This blog begins with the assumption that instead of waiting for chaos or other events to transform us we can choose to transform ourselves consciously.

Whilst I believe that chaos is a natural process that leads to transformation it is often uncomfortable and causes a lot of suffering. What if we could grow and learn and transform without having to suffer so much? Why not choose that path?

If chaos happens in order that we transform into something new can we avoid some of the chaos if we choose to be open to transformation all the time? Rather than waiting for chaos and suffering can we be open to change on an ongoing basis?

Transformation comes about as we bring our inner and outer selves into line so that our inner self is expressed. Our ego shrinks and our inner self or spirit grows and becomes manifest in the physical world. We become who we are meant to be and live authentic lives. We heal our fragmentation and become whole.

The process of chaos has been described in my first book but essentially it is a nonlinear process that cannot be controlled; the outcome is never predetermined and it can take us anywhere. Once we find ourselves in a chaotic process we have no control and have to rely on our inner self to bring us to the outcome. The transformation that we undergo can happen on an unconscious level but as we become more aware of our inner self and its connection to spirit we transform on a more conscious level. I believe that as we become even more aware of our inner self we can choose to undergo the transformative processes without the need for so much chaos and suffering. We can choose to grow in a spiritual sense through the power of our desire to do so. But we may have to learn how to do this.

This is what this blog series is about. Learning how to grow spiritually by choosing to do so. Let’s choose to grow and transform without waiting for life to bring it to us in the form of suffering. Let’s choose to transform into our higher self where our physical self is aligned with our spiritual self and we are whole.

 

 

Skills for living an authentic life 6

Cultivating our community.

An important part of our life is our relationships with other people. Certainly to live an authentic life it is necessary to have authentic relationships with others and be a part of a community. Our community or tribe gives us a place to be ourselves and to support others to be true to themselves.

Community doesn’t just mean the local neighbourhood although some of us do embrace the local community, however this is becoming less common with large cities and busy lives. Our community may be a local church or a local gardening group. It may be our meditation or yoga circle or our bridge club or local school. It is important to have places where we feel we belong and we can act ourselves rather than being who we might be expected to be. For some people their work provides a community but for others the work environment is not always a place where they can be truly themselves.

Cultivating community is about having good relationships with family and close friends but also involves extending our circle beyond those we are closest to. It is a place where we can have relationships with others through finding common ground. Communities are invaluable for times when people are in need; they support their members through good and bad times and people often become even closer in times of crisis or tragedy. In fact tragedy can bring both small and large communities together in an outpouring of grief and support.

Ways to cultivate our community

  1. Talking more to people we meet in our everyday lives enhances our community. Even small conversations can bring light to someone’s day and you never know what connections you may develop.
  2. Explore the ways in which we can be of service to others. This builds community connections. We might do volunteer work or help with child-minding for the single parent or gardening for the elderly. Simple acts of kindness are a great way to increase the strength of the community and allow us to express our authenticity
  3. Get involved in community activities. Go to local activities such as farmers markets, meditation groups, local concerts and gatherings.
  4. Embrace the culture of your community. Be it a church group or school community, a spiritual group or a bridge club it is important to celebrate the cultural aspects of the group.
  5. Celebrate the individual and their authenticity. We can make sure we celebrate individual achievements especially as it relates to the community.
  6. Be inclusive rather then exclusive. Community should embrace diversity as well as being a place where we feel ourselves; we can include members who traditionally may be excluded and in that way strengthen the larger community.

 

To be authentic means that we aren’t just ourselves in the privacy of our own home but bring that authenticity to our communities and the world.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

Skills for living an authentic life 5

One of the most important skills for living authentically is to follow our passions. If we fail to do so then we leave part of our inner self unfulfilled and unexpressed. It’s like hiding part of ourselves away and not showing the world who we truly are. Our passions and our inner callings reveal much about our authentic self and they demand that we pay attention.

Many people are not sure what their passions are but when once a passion gets hold of you there is no doubt about its power to change. And it’s never restricted to one thing. There is the passion that grabs hold of you when you fall in love, the passion that grips you when you have a baby or start a new job or a new project. Some passions are obviously creative projects but many people discover passion in sport or outdoor activities. The range of passions that can be followed is unlimited. The important thing is not to ignore the calling.

For many years I ignored the call to write; I would dabble with various projects but never fully commit to them. It wasn’t until one of my best friends died that I realised I needed to follow the call and commit more fully to writing. I actually quit my job and spent the next year writing, and farming alpacas. I allowed the passion to take hold of me and I followed my intuition. It led to the beginning of my first book Holistic Medicine. I ended up returning to General practice, which is a nice balance to my writing because patients teach me so much more about life and healing. I still try to write as much as I can especially when the urge is really pushing me to do so.

Of course I have other passions in my life that I try to pay attention to such as my relationships, the garden and sustainability, walking in the bush, reading and thinking. And I am always open to a new passion taking hold of me. This is important in living authentically – to listen to our inner callings and respond to them. They come from spirit and our inner self and they open us up to possibilities that we don’t necessarily see when our focus is on the everyday.

For those people who don’t feel they have any passion in their life it is important to recapture that feeling of direction and drive that passions bring. Try to recall how you felt when you were gripped by some project and imagine what new things might inspire you. Be open to change as this often brings about new opportunities. Remember all those things that you have been passionate about in the past and resurrect some of them that you feel inspired to revisit. Use your intuition to explore new possibilities for passion and joy. When you are inspired to begin something new don’t let the everyday obligations stand in your way. Always spend time doing what you love and what brings you joy. It doesn’t have to be grand or world changing it just has to be yours. Listen to your inner self.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

Skills for living an authentic life 4

In the fourth blog in this series I will be looking at how to listen better to our intuition. In my last blog I wrote about the different sides of the brain; the left side that is logical and rational and the right side that is intuitive. Our inner authentic self is always trying to enter our conscious awareness and intuition is a pretty direct way to do this. Both logic and intuition are useful skills but most of us have come to rely more on logic and we forget to trust our intuition.

Intuition is not solely located in the right side of the mind. It is also in our body, especially in our gut. We get gut feelings that provide us with important information about a situation or person and this information isn’t at all logical. Or sometimes we feel something in our bones or just know something in our heart centre.

Our intuition can also speak to us through our senses – we can receive messages through visions or hearing messages or through an inner knowing – clairvoyance, clairaudience and claircognizance.

There are many ways that our intuition tries to get our attention but we can be more open to accessing our intuition if we have the intention. By intending to be open to intuitive messages and paying attention to them by following through on their messages we allow our inner self to speak with us more directly.

We can use traditional intuitive tools – tarot, runes, oracle cards and the like. These tap into our intuition in quite concrete ways providing us with information that we might not otherwise be able to access. By using these tools regularly we become more practiced at allowing our inner self to speak to us directly.

We can also access our intuition through our dreams and visions. Sometimes there are obvious and direct messages or we can pay attention to the symbols and images. To discover the deeper meanings behind our dreams we might read dream books or see a psychologist skilled in dream interpretation.

Another way that intuition comes to our attention is through intuitive flashes and hunches. A sudden thought might jump into our awareness or we might feel a strong urge to do something spontaneous. These intuitive flashes can lead to moments of creativity as new ideas come to us or might lead us to meet people who help us on our path. Following out intuitive hunches may take a leap of faith but as we follow our intuition more we become more in tune with it and its connection to our authentic self.

Intuition is a pretty direct line to our inner self yet many of us have forgotten how to trust this skill. We rely more on our logic and our rational brain and try to think our way out of problems. We plan out our lives and forget to let spontaneity and creativity help us follow our path more closely.

 

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

Skills for living an authentic life 3

The third skill for living an authentic life is to do with the mind. I have written extensively about the mind in my book Holistic Medicine so today I am going to just go over some of the basics.

The mind is made up of two parts that I call the right and left side; these correspond roughly to the right and left sides of the brain. The left side is the rational, logical part of our mind and the right side is the intuitive side. The two sides think in two different ways but we have got so used to the incessant chatter of the left side that we forget to pay attention to our intuitive side. Or sometimes we rely too much on our intuition without using our logic.

The left side thinks in words and sentences and follows thoughts in roughly a straight line; this is what makes it logical. Our left side is very useful for solving logical problems and we shouldn’t forget this. It can’t however solve more complex problems that aren’t logical in many ways. Here we need to use our intuitive side. The intuitive side doesn’t think in words but often in images or symbols and often we aren’t aware of it thinking at all, it simply pops the answer to our problem into our awareness.

To help solve our more complex problems we often need to pay more attention to our intuitive mind. This doesn’t mean we discard the logical mind but we don’t try to rely solely on it for problems that don’t have a logical answer. How do we know when something requires an intuitive insight or answer? Usually it is that chaotic process or problem that we get stuck in. Our logical mind is going a million miles an hour trying to figure out the answer and we feel like we are going crazy with all the thinking. This usually means we are caught in the middle of chaos and the only way out is to tap into our intuition.

To do this we may need to spend time trying to help quiet the logical side of our mind – we can do this through meditation and relaxation or we can do it through occupying the left side with a logical task. This might mean distracting it with a puzzle or using it to identify what parts of the problem can be helped with logic.

To tap into our intuition there are many tools we can use such as tarot, runes and oracle cards but often when we bring some quiet to our left brain, the right brain can be heard. The answer may come in meditation or relaxation or in our dreams. But it doesn’t come by thinking more about the problem.

Some times we might rely too much on our intuitive side and stop paying attention to our logical side. This can lead us into problems as we are out of balance if we don’t bring the two sides together. The two sides of the brain are designed to work together and we should never rely on either side in isolation. We can use the logical side for logical problem solving and the intuitive side for providing answers to more chaotic problems.

Both sides are also involved in the creative process with the intuitive side often coming up with unique and seemingly spontaneous new ideas. The left side then tests the ideas for strengths and weaknesses and helps refine them. As we learn more about how the sides of the mind work we can begin to pay more attention to the power of logic and intuition in our lives.

If all this sounds very confusing I go into much more detail in my book Holistic Medicine and that might be helpful to read.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship

Skills for living an authentic life 2

This week, in the second blog of the authentic life skills series, I am going to write about being aware of our physical body. For me there are two main aspects of awareness. The first is the actual physicality of our body and the second is the spiritual dimension of our physical body. By paying attention to both our physical needs and the spiritual messages that relate to our symptoms and illnesses we can learn to live more authentic lives. Our inner self is sending us messages by way of our physical body and as we learn how to pay better attention we learn more about our selves and what we need to be healthy and whole.

We sometimes forget that we have a physical body that we need to look after. We eat too much of the wrong foods or we drink too much alcohol or use drugs or we put too many toxins in our body or we don’t get enough sleep or we don’t keep our body active. Our body will generally tell us when it isn’t happy but only if we’re listening and paying attention. Sometimes we push our body beyond what is healthy for it but our body will give us messages that things are not right. We need to get used to paying close attention to our body and its messages.

These messages show us how we might treat our selves better by eating good foods, getting enough rest, doing enough activity or exercise and avoiding toxins and pollutants. The messages also often have a spiritual message that we can interpret through our intuition or with the help of intuitive healers. I have mentioned some books previously and my favourite is The Body is the Barometer of the Soul, by Annette Noontil. With this book we can decipher what our physical symptoms mean on a spiritual level.

Recently I have been suffering a bit of vertigo, something I experience intermittently. This episode is relatively mild but lasting longer than usual. It makes me feel off balance and slightly dizzy. Without looking at any books I can tell something is out of balance in my life. Maybe I am not grounded, a bit floaty and probably I’m not looking after myself properly.

I dip into Annette’s book and it tells me that vertigo is about not taking personal time for yourself. It says I am going round in circles and not being organised for the straight path, that I need more inflow of insights for what to do next and that I should make a solid direction for self. Of course this is all very apt because I have been writing my book on transformation and exploring the concepts of going with the flow and not focusing on outcomes. Obviously my body is telling me I need to ground myself more and make solid directions and be more organized on my path.

I look at another book by Inna Segal, called The Secret Language of the Body, and it tells me that vertigo is about feeling unstable, out of balance, ungrounded. It is to do with difficulty accepting things as they are and going round and round in circles, not being sure how to make changes or what direction to take. While I don’t like to admit it this sounds like what is going on in my life. I have only recently moved to a new job near Phillip Island and I love the location but am finding the work has the same frustrations as all my previous jobs. I am feeling unstable because I am living in two places neither of which is permanent and have just spent three weeks in a holiday house while working in the very busy tourist season. No wonder I’m off balance. I have begun the process of paying better attention to the physical symptoms and need to make some changes. I need to ground myself more and make some decisions on the direction of my life. By the sound of it, it would be good for me to stop going round in circles in my life and settle on a firm direction. Of course there are other things to pay attention to like my intuition but paying attention to the physical body gives me information about what my inner self is trying to tell me.

It is in this way that we can become more aware of what our inner self needs by paying close attention to our symptoms. We can look at the various physical ways that we might not be looking after ourselves and address these. Then we can go deeper and look at the spiritual meaning behind our symptoms. If we address both the physical and spiritual needs the symptoms often resolve and we can find a greater understanding of our true self.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship

Skills for living an authentic life 1

Well it’s 2017 and time for new beginnings and changes. We all like to think about making changes to our lives at this time of year but so often we don’t follow through on our resolutions. What if our one resolution was simply to be better at expressing our true self? I have been writing some of my new book on Transformation and I have been thinking a lot about how people might be more authentic and true to their inner selves. For most of us this is a journey of discovery about who we really are and who we want to be in the world. Living authentically may seem a bit of a new age cliché but a lack of living authentically is what causes many of the problems in society and many of our personal problems. We are trying to be some version of ourselves that is not who we really are. When we can be the version of ourselves that is truly who we are then life falls into place. Yet we often don’t pay attention to the skills we need to live authentically. Over the next month I am going to discuss at least seven skills that help us live a more authentic life and they are –

  1. Dealing with our emotions
  1. Being aware of our physical body
  1. Dealing with our mind
  1. Listening to our intuition
  1. Following our passions
  1. Cultivating our community
  1. Appreciating nature

Today’s skill is dealing with our emotions.

Young children are usually in touch with their emotions; they feel sad they cry, they feel angry and they yell and throw a tantrum, they feel happy and they laugh. Yet society doesn’t feel comfortable with such overt displays of emotion so most of us are taught that some emotions are not acceptable. We are taught not to cry when we feel sad because it is a display of weakness, that it is not okay to feel anger much less act it out, that even laughter and happiness are not always appropriate. We are taught to bottle up our feelings in many different ways. What happens when we are taught to suppress and deny our emotions isn’t that the emotion disappears but rather the emotion simmers beneath the surface and can erupt if the conditions are right.

Most of us know the feeling of anger building as small frustrations mount up into big frustrations and anger boils over. Instead if we allow our anger to be felt and let the feeling permeate our being we can begin to understand what the feeling is about. As we feel the anger we begin to learn about what is causing it. Maybe it is an injustice that we need to speak up about, or maybe we are allowing people to control us, or maybe we need to change something about ourselves. Emotions are not useless inconveniences they are one way our inner self lets us know when things are going well or not so well.

Feeling our emotions is not always easy especially if they are emotions that have been labeled as bad or wrong at some time in our life. We sometimes have to just sit with our feelings and emotions as they bubble up inside us but if we let ourselves feel them they rarely hang around for very long. As we feel them we can usually become aware of their message. So-called negative emotions are a signal that something is not right. Positive emotions signal that things are on track and that we are following our path. When we experience a lot of negative emotions it is good to pay better attention to them; to actively sit with them and feel them. Usually when we sit with them we discover deeper meanings that encourage us to change things – either the situation or our reaction to a situation or something about ourselves.

There are many ways we try to avoid feelings – we drink alcohol, use drugs, work too hard, project our anger onto other people, gamble too much or sometimes we just pretend that everything is fine and put on a happy face. Instead of avoiding our feelings it is wise to simply sit with them, allow them to have their way with us and experience them more fully. This doesn’t mean acting them out but rather allowing them to move through us. If we have a lot of trouble doing this then sometimes it is wise to see a counselor or psychologist to learn better strategies. I have written more about dealing with emotions in my book Holistic Medicine but there are other books around that have been written primarily on the subject that may be useful, such as Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Whatever way you choose to learn more about your emotional self it will help you discover things about your inner self that help you on the path to becoming more authentic.

In my next blog of this series I will discuss how we can be more aware of our physical body.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

 

 

Seven steps for dealing with overwhelming stress

In our busy western lives stress can often become a problem. Sometimes there are so many things happening that we become overwhelmed. This is when our stress hormones really kick in and we find it hard to cope with the many demands. I have written about dealing with stress in my book Holistic Medicine but here are seven simple steps to follow when you find yourself overwhelmed and stressed out.

 

  1. Recognise that you are under stress. Sometimes we are so busy and overwhelmed by our lives that we don’t even realise that we are under stress. It helps for us to step back for a moment and take some deep breaths. We can pause for a few moments and just pay attention to the fact that our lives have become too full.
  2. Ground yourself. When we are overwhelmed we lose touch with our self and pay too much attention to what is going on around us. The process of grounding starts to bring us back to our selves. Grounding can be as simple as going for a walk outside (bare feet is best), doing some grounding yoga poses or lying on the earth.
  3. Focus on simple things that you can do. When we are overwhelmed with so many things going on in our life we need to focus on those things that will make a difference to our level of stress. What can we do to make a difference in the short term?
  4. Ask for help. Sometimes we try to do everything by ourselves. It is good when we are overwhelmed to ask for help from our family and friends. We can let them know things are overwhelming and that we need some help.
  5. Centre yourself. This is a process of paying attention to our heart centre. We can tap into our inner self and pay attention to the calming effect the heart centre can have on our whole self. Our intuition may help guide us to how to deal with the stress and how to prioritise our time.
  6. Pay attention to what being overwhelmed is telling you about your life. Most of us do too much and we forget to take care of ourselves. Stress shows us that we are not looking after our own needs very well.
  7. Let go. We may need to let go of the need to control everything in our lives. We may need to let go of doing so many things and being so busy. If we can let go of our busyness we can make some time in our lives to listen to our own needs better.

 

We become overwhelmed and stressed when we don’t listen to ourselves and forget to pay attention to our own needs. These seven steps help us take some time out and begin to listen to what we need in our lives. Our priority should be to simplify out lives and pay better attention to what makes us happy.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

Photo from Unsplash by Tim Marshall

 

Stress

Stress is a term that is bandied around an awful lot these days but what does it really mean and how does it affect our health?

Stress comes in a number of different guises and it affects our health primarily by putting extra demands on our adrenal glands (although it is much more complex than just the adrenals). The adrenal glands secrete a number of different hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Acute stress causes a surge in some of these hormones that puts us into a flight or fight response which is very useful if you are faced with a sabre tooth tiger or other acute stress. Chronic stress,such as most of us face in today’s fast and stimulating society, leads to chronic increases in these stress hormones and this leads to health problems of many sorts. Our adrenals may react by increasing secretion of the stress hormones at the expense of restorative hormones such as DHEA or eventually they may react by decreasing secretion of the stress hormones leading to fatigue and other health issues.

Sometimes we think of stress as only the emotional kind and it is true this is a major source of stress for many people, but we shouldn’t forget the other sources of stress that contribute to our health problems. Stresses can be divided into four main groups – environmental, psychosocial, physiological and biological.

Environmental stressors

  • Pollution – air pollution and contamination of our food supply with pesticides and herbicides puts extra stress on our body. Heavy metal toxicity is a problem for many people. Noise pollution can also be a problem.
  • Radiation – Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is a major problem in today’s society. We are exposed to millions of times more EMR than our grandparents and the effects on our  cells can be severe. We are also exposed to more ionising radiation than ever before with the increase in X-rays and air flights.
  • Weather – weather extremes put our bodies under stress and with climate change these weather extremes are becoming more common.

Psychosocial stressors

These are the emotional type stressors that we all think of as affecting our health. In today’s fast paced society there is increased performance stress in schools and work places. The constant pressure we put ourselves under can lead to adrenal exhaustion and burnout. Many of us also face financial pressures, relationship pressures and anxieties about the future.

Physiological stressors

  • Ageing – as we age our bodies have to cope with the accumulation of many years of ongoing stress of all sorts. Our cells age and the powerhouse of the cell – the mitochondria – decrease in number. Ageing puts at us increased risk of infections and degenerative diseases both of which contribute to increase stress on the whole body.
  • Illness – any illness puts extra stress on the body. Something as simple as a cold will increase the stress response. Chronic disease causes even more stress with both physical and emotional components.
  • Trauma – physical trauma is an obvious stress but emotional traumas can take a larger toll. Grief is a major stress with increases in many health problems in the first year following the death of a loved one.
  • Nutritional deficiencies – our poor diet and poor farming practices have led to an epidemic of obesity and deficiencies in many nutrients. If we don’t have the basic building blocks for our cells to work with then there is physiological stress at a cellular level.

Biological stressors

The main biological stressors are infections; all infections put stress on the body but there are some chronic infections that can affect us profoundly. Viruses, bacteria and parasites can all be to blame. The Epstein Barr virus (EBV), the cytomegalovirus (CMV), the hepatitis virus, the herpes virus and others have all been implicated in chronic diseases. Bacterial infections such as Lyme disease are now thought to be a major cause of chronic ill health.With the increase in overseas travel many people are exposed to bacteria and parasites that cause an increase burden of disease.

With all these stressors it is amazing that the human body works as well as it does and that for the most part good health is the norm. But with all these stressors affecting our body and our adrenals we do need to look after ourselves as well as we can. The seven key ways to decreasing the effect stress has on our lives are as follows.

  1. Eat a healthy diet. I have discussed this on my website and a good diet is essential in providing the building blocks for the body to replace and restore cells and to manufacture hormones and produce energy.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. Also discussed on my site – 8-81/2 hours sleep between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am is the most restorative and healing.
  3. Exercise daily – 30 -45 minutes of exercise a day is optimal. Too much exercise can be an additional stress on the body.
  4. Meditation – daily meditation decreases the stress response and calms the sympathetic nervous system.
  5. Relax with family and friends and cultivate community.
  6. Consider nutritional supplements and herbal tonics to help the body cope with stress.
  7. Avoid artificial stimulants. Caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants may provide short term relief from stress but long term they create more problems for the adrenals and the body as a whole.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.