May 06th 2005 - Well, well, well. There you are, again. Hunched over your computer staring at the screen. Begin to relax your shoulders. Is that better? Just think about your back. Think about your hands as they are poised over the keyboard or clutching the mouse. Lean back. Now, take a few gentle, deep breaths and begin to feel all the tension melting from your shoulders, back muscles and hands. That’s right, that’s perfect.
Why do we get into such tense states, and how amazing is it that a few simple words can change awareness, allowing freedom from unconscious stress? Many of us are joined at the hips, or at least our finger tips, to computers. There are times we look like Neanderthals, not Homo Sapiens. Some of us are road warriors, constantly racing out the door to catch the next plane/train/bus to the next appointment/meeting/deadline. Perhaps we’re trapped in the office, staring at walls, yearning for fresh air and sunlight. Our spirits, minds and bodies may be jumbled up, stuck at multiple levels of discomfort. When we hoard discomfort for any length of time it can translate, on a deep cellular level, into disease.
For years my back was aching, and the diagnosis was that I had 3 bulging disks, one lumbar, one thoracic, and one cervical. The pain was unrelenting. I began looking for ways to relieve this pain, holistic ways that would support not only my back, but my desire to avoid the usual inventory of pain medications around which allopathic medicine gravitates. My saving “grace” in this instance turned out to be a quite grace-full Tai Chi and QiGong Master Teacher named Lily Cohen. The saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.” And I was ready. I was going to the chiropractor 3 times a week to stay even with the pain that was now traveling down the sciatic nerve into my right hip and leg. Discomfort was becoming disabling and I was determined to stop the cascading effect that could turn into disease.
I ran across a video of Cohen’s exercises and within a week I knew something had changed. The pain had become a dull ache. Three weeks later my chiropractor remarked that the muscle in my back was strengthening. Truly, I hadn’t expected such results in so little time. All I had done, five days a week in really short segments, was to put Lily’s tape into my VCR, stand in one place and follow her instructions, sort of. You see, Lily is from Israel and she was speaking Hebrew! However, I wasn’t daunted by the language barrier focusing all my attention on her movements. They were simple, supple, elegant, relaxing, and quite different from the usual rah-rah, sis-boom-bah, energetic exercises that I’d tried before. And, this was no teenie-bopper in a leotard, which, I must say, was a relief all in itself. She was a woman “of a certain age” just like me. Ok, she was much more fit than I, in a strong yet feminine way, and that information made its way into my unconscious mind and gave me hope for success in my personal journey to fitness, awareness and wellness.
Since that epiphany six years ago I have been virtually pain free. If something in my body begins to nag, I have the tools to stop it in its tracks. I even have a recent body scan that supports my new flexibility showing that the bulging disks have retreated into normal alignment. Healed! I have found something that can relieve my physical, mental and spiritual body from unnecessary stress and perhaps save me from years of ongoing disease. You see, it wasn’t just my back that was affected. Since we are multi-dimensional, holographic bodies, anything that stresses one part affects the whole – the body, mind and the spirit.
I’m sharing my personal journey with you for a purpose, and lest you think that I’m writing about a singular event in one solitary life please allow me to present a few media reports about stress:
According to a CNN report: “Stress can send the immune system into a tizzy, triggering the pituitary gland to release a hormone called ACTH (adreno-cortoci-trophic hormone). ACTH then stimulates the adrenal gland to release another hormone called cortisol, which attaches itself to the immune system's disease-fighting cells. With a load of cortisol on its back, an immune cell has a harder time doing its job.”
So, one can imagine that if we don’t have solutions to our stressors we could be carrying around a lot more than we know.
The report goes on to say: “Longer-term stresses like a divorce or a remembered traumatic event can do a number on the body's ability to fight off infection. Keeping it alive in your mind allows stress to do battle with a person's immune system.”
Many clinical studies that support the reality that even things we have stored in our memory, if not released, can cause a decline in our general health. We know it as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Or, if we have chronic pain, as I did, the effect is continuous stress at all levels.
A report from WebMD: “Think your job may be killing you? You may be right. New research from Finland shows that work stress can double your risk of dying of heart disease.”
And this from CNN’s Kathy Slobogin: “The headline is that nearly half of U.S. workers feel overworked or overwhelmed.”
You knew that, didn’t you?
So, where are the stress solutions for small spaces? The short answer is in your mind. And in my case in making up my mind…to de-stress, dis-solve and de-compress my slipped disks. As a psychotherapist, I have found that solutions for stress are of my own making, as are my perceptions of the stressors and how quickly I release and clear them. It was a blessing for me to find the “secrets” of Tai Chi and QiGong integrated in Lily Cohen’s exercises. As they healed me I was touched on a spiritual, mental and physical level. The solutions are out there/in there. Go ahead; find easy, effortless solutions that allow the tall oaks deep inside to become willows in the winds of change.
©2005 Lynda Wells
All Rights Reserved
Lynda Wells is a Trainer/Master Practitioner of NLP, Time Line Therapy™, Clinical Hypnotherapy and is Co-founder of The Way To Wellness™.
Lynda Wells, Ph.D(c)
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New York City, NY 10021