Merigian Studios


The Pearl

The Pearl

Stress: The final frontier in health care. How does stress affect us? Do we need stress to feel alive? What is the difference between good stress and bad stress? On and on and on.

Nature is both beauty and stress at the same time. Life on life is the continuum as the predator stalks the prey. What is missing in our lives is a range of vision that allows us to see the real drama of life on life unfold in the wild. It happens in our backyards as well as on our farms and in our urban neighborhoods. Predatory stress is a force of nature that none of us can escape. Even in our neighborhoods and communities, man preys on man in so many ways. You can take man out of Nature, but you cannot take Nature out of man.

Psychosocial stress is a form of predatory stress in an abstract way. Psychosocial stress is probably much worse on us than just being chased by a grizzly bear. It typically waxes and wanes, but is ever-present, unrelenting and chronic. A boss who is a micromanager can turn a great job into a disaster zone. A husband or wife who is emotionally and/or physically abusive can turn a romantic relationship into unlimited fear. Chronic unrelenting episodic stress (CUES): The detrimental effects of the emotional rollercoaster on the body are profound.

There are three major hormones that get us through tough times. The hypothalamus region in the brain secretes Corticotropin Hormone (CRH) which activates the brain. CRH causes the brain to become very sensitive to environmental stimuli. Anxiety and anorexia are both common untoward effects of CRH on the mind. The adrenal glands secrete Adrenaline as their call-to-action hormone and then Cortisol as their stand-down hormone. The immune system becomes hyperactive under the influence of Adrenaline. It down regulates under the influence of Cortisol. Up and down it goes. Where it stops? Nobody knows.

Too much of any one of these hormones will devastate one's health. Too much of all of them will create an very disturbed human milieu, the result of which can be seen in the spectrum of autoimmune diseases and cancers of every variety. The idea that disease is arbitrary or just happens without provocation is absurd. The idea that genes are the key factor in disease manifestation is absurd. The idea that genes are responsible for disease does one thing: It relieves us all of our responsibilities to maintain our health, but at the same time promotes disease. One cannot escape disease unless one figures out how to escape stress or at least the body's response to stress.

There are no magical answers to stress management. One of the most profound but simple stress management tools is understanding our lives and knowing what we control and what we do not control. Yep. You guessed it. We hardly control anything, and I mean anything. Anyone trapped in the illusion that you control your life will end up with profound stress. People who believe that everyone thinks like them or should think like them in all circumstances are destined for absolute chaos. Anyone who projects their own thoughts into others as a way to understand behavior is fooling themselves about someone else's behaviors, especially if that person's behavior is detrimental to another person's emotional or physical health. We do not control other people, but we might live in the illusion that we have control over them.

Gravity has a great effect on a leaf falling to the ground. As I watch leaves fall from trees, I realize that the wind and rain can alter the path of each individual leaf differently. Sometimes the wind can be overpowering, mighty gusts blow the leaves all over the place. Intense showers of rain might knock hundreds of leaves off their branches a bit prematurely, and their descent to the ground may be direct and absolute. Trees cannot control the wind nor the rain. They bend and sway as best they can. I have seen mighty oaks fall to the ground under the influence of extreme winds or copious ice accumulations. These are metaphors for us. We all can succumb to extreme pressures in our lives. Automobile accidents end lives on a daily basis.

The trick of healthy living is to extract as much of the drama and stress out of our lives that we can. If people you associate with create a special kind of hell for you, remove yourself from the circle of fire. That's my advice. Find a way out as quickly as possible. No one can heal and recover from the ravaging effects of stress if they remain in the hell hole. Prisoners of war have no choice but to endure the torture. Most of us are not prisoners in relationships, even though we buy into the illusion that other people have that great power over us. Cut the chains and get distance from those stress filled negative influences that keep your health in the gutter. No one can plant flowers in the throes of a hurricane. Ever.

My other advice is to know yourself; are you and extrovert or an introvert. Extroverts rejuvenate in the presence of a social setting or gathering of friends and family. Introverts rejuvenate alone. Introverts need alone time to heal and lick their wounds. The more extreme your personality is, the more connected or disconnected you should be. Know Thyself. The rest will follow.

The New Year is just around the corner. I suggest if you're serious about healing and reducing the stress in your life, make the difficult decisions and separate yourself from the disturbances brought on by familial and local humanity. Create a community of psychosocial support that is supportive and not degrading. Eat clean, stay sober and walk when you can.

The world will be your oyster. Look for the pearl!


Posted by Amanda Sanders at 11:39 AM
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