Our body produces different chemicals when we are happy verses when we are sad. When we are in a state of happiness, dopamine and serotonin flow activating the para sympathetic nervous system. This part of the nervous system lowers the heart rate, the breathing is calm and full, lowers the blood pressure, digestion flows and you feel good.
When we are stressed, in fear or sad, adrenalin flows, epinephrin and nor-epinephrin ramp up in an attempt to help us fight or flee the situation. Neither of these responses are appropriate in modern day society in most situations. Yet we perceive that we are threaten in some way and feel we have no recourse. Our sympathetic nervous system get activated. Our heart rate increases, breathing becomes faster and shallow, blood is directed away from digestion and to the brain and muscles, blood pressure goes up and we are in a perpetual state of hyper-alertness.
The thing is, running our bodies on “high” all the time really wears out the cells, organs and systems of the body.
If you are stressed, fearful or sad much of the time, you are depleting the body. You are setting yourself up for serious illness.
Think about this thought. If we could be objective, many of the events that make us upset are really “neutral”. It is how we see the event that results in the body response.
Lets take the situation of a baby crying on an airplane. It is frustrating for all concerned. The baby is frustrated, Mom is frustrated and so are neighboring passengers. My husband hates this situation. He did when the kids where little and now as a witness. If a child is going to carry on, they will inevitably be seated within a row of his seat. He gets very irritated. I am not sure what story is going on in his mind, but I can see his blood pressure go up, his heart rate goes up and he has short, rapid breaths.
I, on the other hand, could care less. I like kids. Their crying generally doesn’t bother me. I may not even hear them (and I hear just fine). I may become aware that there is a child crying, I send grace to parent and child and go back to what I am doing. My blood pressure doesn’t change, and my heart rate is regular and I am calm.
This example is two different people. Now lets bring it down to one person, you or me if the shoe fits. If you are in the first part of this example and getting all upset, how could you move yourself to the second experience?
Here is a side note. Did you know that in our brains, we have a reticular activating system. This system is meant to alert us of danger. But this system is magic. Once it figures out that the “noise” is not dangerous or threatening, it will tune it out. We won’t hear it. It will be just background noise. That is how people can live near airports, trains and highways. After awhile, they just don’t hear the noise.
If you attach some story or significance to a situation, the reticular activating system will allow the noise or event to be forefront in the awareness.
Change how you see or interpret events, particularly events that are dragging you down.
Did you lose your job? Are you devastated, beating yourself up and thinking it is never going to change (stress)? Or has one chapter in your life ended and another started (calm)?
One thought is moving you towards dis-ease and the other keeping you in health. There is going to be a particular amount of time between jobs, whether or not you stress. If you stress, you will be unhappy, depressed, irritable, and miserable to yourself and others who live with you.
Or you can look at the job loss as an invitation that you are changing course. In sailing, you have to tact. That is a zig zag approach to reach your goal. The wind or the current may not be quite right. You can’t make a straight line to your goal, so you tact. When you are ready to come about while sailing, there is a pause where the sails just flap. The momentum of the boat and the turn of the tiller will move the bow (front) of the boat through that pause where the wind isn’t helping. Then there is the wind again, your sails are full and off you go in a new direction.
Life is like that. We are given pauses. We should use them wisely.
If you catch yourself careening down a stress path, STOP! Stop the story you are creating in your mind. Do not take it personally. Consider changing your mind. If you change your mind, you will change your experience. Choose wisely and your life will be richer, fuller and happier.
Change your mind… Change your life. You are so worth it.