A girlfriend is very distressed by the problems caused by getting her mother in to a nursing home and now as her mother is deteriorating, our friend is choosing to sleep each night close to her Mother. This is immediate stress, palpable and public but also needs to be addressed for her immediate and long term health.
My cousin has suffered from Arthymic heart problems for many years ( possibly starting when he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam war.) Long term stress, that was not delt with at the time. He needed to get a job on his return home and his wife was quickly pregnant.
Last week a friend confided to us, that he also had the problem, like s trapped butterfly beating against his chest, I was trying to think how could I help. I understand that each of these situations carries the results of long-term stress we are often unaware it is building within. Until the body throws disease at us. So I thought about stress, how it enters the body/mind? How to control it, and how we can take back that control?
In yoga we do a posture to align the pituitary,thyroid and thymus glands. Meditation is a tool to control stress, but as my friend does neither of these I wanted to think of a different approach. So below are my musings and possibly a solution that would help others.
Each Yoga class contains a Prana section, Focussing on correct breathing techniques. We understand the importance of breath and how it does calm the body releasing the emotional detrius that we hold in the body in the form of tension.
The master glands are thought of as the hypothalamus and the pituitary, from the pituitary gland hormones are secreted into the bloodstream. These are the hormones to calm your body now often called the “feel good hormones.” Your body is well able to deal with passing stress, . Normally when we face stress, the body reacts by reacting in ” fight and flight or freeze mode”. Then finding time to rest and relax and recover. If it becomes long term, deep trauma or a chronic situation your adrenal glands become overburdened and exhausted.
It’s as if the body has got stuck, the memory returns, after all it is held in your cellular memory. And if you take no steps to address these memories, or to find time to de-stress, your body will warn you with a minor illness, in bed for a day with a cold or a migraine headache.If you still you have not addressed the cause of stress or trauma, your body will try to protect you by creating a much more serious illness.
Doctor Ben Johnston and Alexander Loyd have described this in their book ‘The Healing Codes.’ “The hypothalamus serves as a central processing unit for the whole brain. It has connections to all of the limbic System – the emotional centers of the brain. In fact, it has nerve connections to virtually every part of the brain and connects to the rest of your body through the hormones that it manufactures and releases through the pituitary. Here is a short list of some functions the hypothalamus controls:
- Arterial blood pressure
- Body temperature
- Regulation of body water by thirst and kidney function
- Uterine contractility
- Breast milk
- Emotional drives
- Growth hormone
- Adrenal glands
- Thyroid hormone
- Sex organ function
Physiologically, the effects of stress result in change in all of the above organs, especially in the adrenal, cortisol, glucose, insulin, and growth hormone release.”wwwthehealingcodes.com
Here is simple way to break the pattern of stress . You can do this daily.
Sit comfortably in a chair your feet flat on the ground (maybe a pillow under your feet if you cannot touch the ground) push your tailbone into the back of the chair.
Feel the floor beneath you, straighten your spine, allow your shoulders to drop into a comfortable position, your head just floating on your neck.Close your eyes and imagine that your chin is parallel to the floor. begin to deepen your breathing,mentally saying “This breath is slower, this next breath a lot slower and deeper.”
Now move your mind to your feet and the sensation with your feet resting on the floor, sink into the feeling, no analysing no judging, just move your mind from your left foot to your right foot, perhaps you can notice there is a difference between the two.
Just hold your mind at the bottom of your feet be aware of how you touch the floor. bring your mind to the sensation of bottom on chair. Just feel the weight of your body on the chair. Settle your mind until it becomes calmer, quieter.
Now travel your mind up your spine feeling the sensation of your back resting against the chair. Now go to your chest_ the sensation of your chest rising and f alling with breath. Again you are not judging or analysing, just being with the sensation.
Bring your attention to your arms, to the space where they rest on your lap or on your thighs. Rest your mind at this place.
Now mind moves to your face. Notice the sensations of the muscles in your face. Are they relaxed or is there tension there? Without judging or wanting to change anything just be aware of the muscles in your face.
Now hold all of this in your mind the sensation of your feet on the floor, your spine comfortably erect, hands resting on thighs. How is your spine, the muscles in your face?
not judging or trying to change anything simply being aware of how you feel.
Once more go back to your breath So that this breath is slower. From behind your closed eyes, just move around your body mentally. Resting. Now move in your mind to the space around your body, flowing to an awareness of the room around you. Be still let your breath come slowly.
When you are ready, slowly open your eyes, coming back into the room around you. Take a few deep breaths. And I’m sure you will feel so much better and more centred. You may wish to practice this before sitting in meditation.