Many of us know what adrenaline feels like. In some cases we enjoy it, and in other cases, we don't. Some of us enjoy falling from heights because of adrenaline, while that same adrenaline will trigger fear in the next person.
Each person experiences the physical effects of adrenaline differently, in every situation, because of an emotional response, having been assigned to the idea, (of falling from heights, for example), at least once before. One person's emotional experience, of falling from heights may feel positive, for their own personal reason, while the other's is negative, for a different reason, that is equally valid. Each reason is emotional.
If these same two people were situated in front of a camera, on a live TV broadcast, the person being previously fearful of heights can now enthused to be in front of the camera, while the adrenaline-loving sky-diver now, feels nervous, frightened, or humiliated because of publicity. Once again, each individual has assigned different, emotional meaning to the event, or situation at hand. And it is said to be true, "to each, his own."
That being said, this blog post is absolutely an extension to the one exactly before it. You may find all that is said here fascinating, but I encourage you to refer back to the previous post if not already seen. We know stress is the ability to make us sick, especially if we choose to ignore the physical impacts of our bodies emotional experience. One day, we discover ourselves, in re-living the exact same emotional, traumatic experiences, over and over again.
Eventually, we become prone to serious sickness such as, depression, paranoia, sadness, and confusion, which, if continued to be physically ignored may manifest inside the body, much like a disease.The best way to care for our health, is therefore, instead to use what we notice about our bodily experience of stress, to channel our emotional memories and to ask ourselves, "how come?" We can observe these experiences, through our physical selves in recognizing the specific, physical effects of anxiety, and giving it another name.
Instead of saying, “I am suffering from anxiety,” we can choose to recognize that we are breathing shallow, and that we are sweating. Perhaps we are experiencing something normal, non-threatening, but have previously associated a situation with similar characteristics with fear, and is now being brought up for our bodies' in the physical present, much like reinforcement of previously lived traumatic events.
No person is inherently crazy, in my personal opinion. Mental disability is not the same thing mental, emotional instability. Deciding that something may not, perhaps be dangerous, or scary, after all, just because we feel frightened, or threatened, we must learn to recognize something similar must have made us feel this way once before, why else would we be feeling so worked up, and physically begin to notice changes in our body's behavior?
Paying regard to one's own emotional response, to each situation that causes one's body to send the brain warning signals, is perhaps, the most effective way to relieve stress, and to fit 'nominal stress' into our everyday lives, in a way that serves us much better, or even very well.
We begin to re-collect our own mental clarity, and personal sense of emotional stability so we are able to evaluate most situations more appropriately. Thus, we live much happier, healthier, and prosperous lives!
One time, when I was five, I tried to pet a goose. The goose began to chase me, and I ran away. As I ran, I found myself becoming very stressed out about it. The goose caught up soon to me, and bit me on my hand.
The goose then left me alone. I fell to the ground, and began to cry. I was extremely frightened. If you have ever been bit by a goose, you know it is painful. I remember vividly, however, the physical pain not being relevant, or significant to me, at all, for several minutes, in the heat of momentary fear.
Only after I was able to calm down, reasonably enough, I could catch my breath, and then I was able to notice the pain felt in my finger. Though I had been conscious of the event, it was not until I discovered this new, sense of mellowing out, that it registered in my brain, I just got bit by a goose.
We’ve all heard the phrase, stress is a killer. Logically, we do not recognize any known cases of a person’s death, due to being way too stressed out. The term is used, rather to describe stress’ powerful impact on the physical body, in terms of being an emotional human being.
Can you think of a time when you were so stressed out over some situation, deadline, or event, you were not able to perform to the best of your ability? What about a time where extra stress caused you to perform better than anticipated?
Some people work well under pressure, others don’t. For most of us, the way we deal with the stressors of our lives, depends primarily, on how our body is used to coping with these things in the first place.
When we listen to other people who refer to stress as a killer, the truth behind its value, is understanding how stress impacts our body and its ability to love, nurture, protect and care for oneself through awareness of all that is physical in the body.
There are immediate, physical reactions, also known as the body's autonomic response to stressful events, or other sorts of external stimuli. Perhaps, autonomic responses are more closely described as a natural, innate behavior, in the realm Behavioral Psychology and do not fit well under the category of Learned Behaviors.
There are many behaviors we choose to reinforce, because we have learned them before, and also know if they worked well for us. Alternatively, immediate responses do not always feel like something we have chosen, but rather, as if the response has chosen us instead.
Consider the physical effects of anxiety, such as sweating, or the inability to catch a full breathe, despite trying very hard to do so and feeling fatigued the next day. This is because autonomic responses are often tied to some previous, emotional experience of a situation or event.
If we feel these effects because of an enclosed space, or some other situation, causing us to feel nervous, or fearful, our body’s physical response will cause us to re-live the emotional experience, previously attached to the event, in form of a physical response.
This is how we end up re-living previously experienced trauma, through patterns of emotional experience. The inability to recognize our body's warning signs of anxiety, such as shallow breathing reinforces the emotional value previously assigned to an event or situation, and physical ailments worsen over time. Stress, indeed is a killer!
Who is there to say, however, the opposite of this, cannot be true? If we can make our past experiences of emotional stress, or trauma, work so easily, against us, should we also believe the opposite cannot be true? Can we actually use stress to work in our favor? This idea is known, as 'nominal stress'.
If we choose to evaluate our body's emotional response to life-stressors, and pay specific attention to the emotional value being assigned to the event, it is perhaps true that we can also learn to evaluate situations differently and learn to heal. Anything that has been previously learned, cannot be unlearned, but we can decide, if we believe something once learned, is now false.
If we decide a situation is no longer dangerous, or that some feeling no longer serves our body in a healthy way, the body will begin to question all its previous reasons for becoming sick.
If our body's warning signals are desperately being ignored, however, in trying to get the brain's attention, we will grow to be more and more sickly.
If physical symptoms of things like anxiety, and suffering worsen over time, you may consider if it is time to get real with your emotions.
The idea behind nominal stress is that we choose, not to live our lives, in the experience of a past event. Rather, we know, the body is God's gift to us, and can be used to send us warning signals about a situation or event, especially when the mind is unclear. When we choose, in living, to use all we know, for the sake of being present, and also to be our best selves in each moment that occurs, we learn to let go of things that no longer matter.
This post is being written and targeted toward students at my campus, while we have recently battled a bed bug infestation, and hope the issue has been exterminated, while in all likelihood this cannot be known for sure. If you are concerned about attending your classes, at the chance of being bit, or carrying a bed bug home for it to nest in your living space, here are some helpful strategies to avoid having that happen, or taking action against it.
1. Essential Oils: While it is unclear whether certain essential oils have the ability to eliminate pests, and kill them, there are a few oils which the smell is unattractive to bed bugs, as well as other pests. Wearing a drop or two of lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, or tea tree oil to your classes should work well at being an unfavorable target for those hungry blood sucking bugs! You can spray your home with these diluted scents if you fear you may have carried something home! These smells are all repelling against their kind!
Remember, it is more likely for a bed bug to latch onto your clothes and garments and carry themselves home with you to nest than it is to be bitten at school. They usually feed at night, and can see you better while you are asleep because you omit more co2 when sleeping!
Mindfulness is essentially the practice of becoming more aware of oneself, and also one's surroundings.