It’s that time of the day or week, and you’ve got an important meeting, deadline, or other commitment coming up. Something doesn’t go as planned. Your heart starts to race, your breath fastens, your muscles ready to respond – you may also feel blank, unable to act, even. These fight-flight-freeze responses are caused by your stress hormones, such as cortisol. They’re totally natural, too.
Over the course of our lives, to some degree, we experience numerous such incidents. But we also experience more traumatic ones, like loss, separation, unexpected change, or abuse, and carry them as emotional baggage with us.
When such experiences aren’t processed or resolved on their own, and our stress levels are continuously elevated, they may linger far past the actual event, and can take a serious toll on our health.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
In fact, such emotions may become ‘stuck’ in the body, and leave traces on the entire organism; your ability to focus, stay in emotional control, self-regulate, remember, form trusting relationships, and feel at home in your body, among others.
This can also affect the immune system and the functioning of the organs, making you more prone to conditions like insomnia, depression, and obesity. Your body is constantly alert, and you may feel out of touch with yourself, your present life, and your surroundings.
Stress can manifest itself in physical symptoms because the brain associates certain areas with a particular memory – often on a subconscious level. This also means that it’s hard for your energy to flow naturally. Listen to your feelings as cues to unpack the layers of how and where your emotions are stuck and release what’s weighing you down.
Organs, Meet The Chinese Body Clock
Picture this: During the 24 hours of each day, Qi (energy) moves through the body in two-hour intervals. Say when you sleep, before 3AM, Qi inwardly restores your body (when your liver cleanses your blood, for instance).
It then moves outward to direct organs connected to daily activity and digestion, like your lungs, intestines, heart, and stomach – before moving back inward in the late afternoon to support organs connected to rest and maintenance, like your kidney.
Here’s the emotional aspect: If you get sleepy at around 6PM – your ‘kidney time’ – you may have fears holding you back. Wide awake while your liver is in cleansing mode? You may feel rage or anger. Your lungs, to name another example, are associated with feelings of grief and sadness.
Natural Ways To Overcome Stress
01 Yoga: A time-honoured form of exercise, yoga helps you gain ownership of your body and feel safe. Slow or fast pace, there are various forms to go with and help you to identify pain or emotions in familiar and unfamiliar body parts.
02 Meditation: Meditation reduces the body’s stress hormones, like cortisol, by calming the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight or flight responses. Keen to learn about moving meditation? This way.
03 Qigong: This ancient practice and holistic treatment involves slow movements and breathing exercises. It can help boost your energy and fight anxiety as it can reduce muscular pain, and improve emotion, memory, and physical function.
04 Breathing: Breathwork can bring you into a different state of consciousness. There are myriad techniques to employ – our guide will run you through them.
Further explore the topic of stress with our audio and video content pieces. They offer holistic solutions and expert advice, and will empower you to take an active and preventative role in your health.