Does stress management really work?
It can, if we dig deeper and pay attention to our inner wisdom.
Sandy is really feeling “off” today. She’s exhausted, stressed out, and the glance in the mirror confirmed in her mind that she’s aged almost overnight. She’s aware that her state of mind can affect the state of her physical body, and does her best to create a “positive attitude” about life.
In addition to eating less sugar and cutting back on the wine, she realizes that it doesn’t always work, and she’s struggling to figure out why.
Despite all the self-help books she’s read (and many are very good,) she feels flat, but not really depressed in the clinical sense. She knows that if she told her doctor, she would probably get a pill. If she went to a therapist, she might get a standard diagnosis.
It seems to her as if there is something she needs to address within herself, but also something bigger than herself. She has a feeling that there’s something besides just brain chemistry and hormones that are affecting her.
On a deeper level, was it her state of mind affecting her hormones, or was it the other way around?
Consciousness-Chaos, Order and Awareness.
Many in the healing professions claim that if you have understanding over your current state of mind, you can understand the state of your physical body.
This understanding is all about creating a sense of order from the chaos and adversity of everyday life. Chaos is stressful!
Our natural tendency is to give these things we experience a name (understanding or a diagnosis). From there, we can apply reason and logic in order to “fix” the problem. This strategy CAN work, but it’s also inside the most likely place where most people stop perceiving accurately. As in “just ask your doctor if this pill is right for you.”
My entire practice is based on creating shifts and transformations from an even more advanced level of awareness. I can apply logic and the application of this data into solving a problem (diagnosis), but the issue is that it’s not just about the data we can perceive with our senses, but the precise meaning that YOU assign to this data.
Let me walk you through the steps that lead from chaos to order (which is where most people stop) and beyond, where the real healing begins.
Imagine a child coming out of it’s mother’s womb. What does this child understand at that moment? Nothing. They just perceive a bright light and a strange feeling of comfort from the mother and father. Other than that, they really know anything at all. They don’t know what light is, nor do they know what this feeling of comfort is. It’s chaotic and disordered because it doesn’t have a name. A name is the beginning of understanding. Energy is the first system of perception.
Assigning ORDER to life
As they develop into toddlers, they start asking questions. “What is this and what is that?” You answer these questions and they automatically believe you. This is called a chair. This is called a table. This is called hot. This is called cold. This is good. This is bad. I want you to understand that every single thing you know, that your complete knowledge, is based on the second foundational perception called faith.
Think about it. Everything you know comes from and is it built upon by your faith. How do you know what a cat is? You don’t! Someone told you that this particular thing is called a cat and you believed them. You used the perception of faith to accomplish this. Energy and faith are the two primary systems of perception.
Faith is also an important part of healing. How do you know for sure that the aspirin or ibuprofen you take will help resolve your headache? Actually, you don’t. You take it on faith that those pills in that plastic bottle will take away the pain. It works partially because of the active ingredients in the pills, but ALSO partially due to what is called the Placebo effect, which can also be powerful.
LEARNING: The next phase
As the baby develops into a child, the questions get a little more complex. They learn to understand how things work. They see that one plus one equals two.
They understand that the triangular puzzle piece doesn’t fit into the circular puzzle. They gain the ability to gather more than one concept or idea and mix them together to create more complex ideas.
This is called learning and it demands a third system of perception called rationalization. Rationalization is the conclusion and combination of the perceptions of energy and faith.
Rationalization, in this context, is about putting thoughts, ideas and concepts together to create a more meaningful understanding to our environment. Things need to make sense. This is called order. Order makes sense to us. Stress, on the other hand, is disorder. It doesn’t make sense.
It seems logical and natural to strive to make sense of the things that don’t make sense. This is how much of our modern medicine works.
We learn that certain medications or techniques can be applied to certain conditions in order to heal, or at least mitigate symptoms.
We learn that we can exercise or take care of our skin so that it looks more youthful and vibrant, or take a pill to temporarily ease our anxiety.
This strategy, of course, can work. Until it doesn’t. What happens when these things we were taught to believe in, or what worked in the past, no longer works for us? What then?
Beyond Learning: Personal Experience and Wisdom
As the child grows older, they become more influenced by the fourth system of perception called empiricism. Empiricism is the knowledge we learn from OUR experiences. It’s the things we learn from what we see, hear, smell, taste and feel. It’s gets even more fascinating than this.
It’s also coupled with the energy you feel,the faith you choose, and your specific rational knowledge.
Empiricism creates and strictly enforces OPINIONS. It’s the most complicated system of perception in my humble opinion. The reason it’s so complicated is that if and when you combine all 4 of these systems of perception into one single and well behaved perception, you realize that you’re a fucking mess.
Energy, what you believe, what you know and what you’ve experienced doesn’t add up. They’re not at all on the same page. This is called stress.
A good example of this in the diet and fitness industry. Everyone has an opinion about what we should eat, and there is more information out there, both rational, irrational and based on personal experience. It’s almost impossible to process it all. In the end, we may come to the conclusion that either the industry is a mess, we are, or both.
So what do we do now?
We need to go beyond our own limited perceptions and embrace an unseen or misunderstood level of consciousness. Maybe even re-define consciousness for ourselves. This is the 5th system of perception! It’s called MEANING.
Meaning is your most important system of perception. It’s your conclusions, your opinions and your final answers. Meaning is the cause and/or cure to your stress and disease.
Here’s what I would like you to understand about this:
We all live inside this physical world. This is obvious to anyone with senses, but we also live inside a quantum world. This quantum world is just as real as the physical world, but it’s kind of invisible-ish. This is also a world of energy. THIS IS A WORLD OF MEANING!
This quantum world doesn’t subscribe to your physical senses like you do. It always obeys the meaning you placed inside your physical senses.
Meaning is meeting place between thought, emotion and instinct coupled with your specific perception of energy, faith, rationalization and empiricism. This MEANING is the key to understanding your stress.
What I want you to do today
In my clinic, I use a technique called the Heart Technique. During this process, I encourage my patients NOT to avoid past traumas and current pain by ignoring or running away from what it is or what happened. We acknowledge the pain, we acknowledge the trauma. This is the first step towards healing.
Right now…I want you to think about what stresses you out. I want you to VISUALIZE IT, acknowledge it, look at it and give it a name, CHOOSE TO FEEL IT AND HOLD IT INSIDE YOUR HEART. STAND UP TO IT COURAGEOUSLY AND WATCH IT MELT AWAY.
I want you to understand that you are NOT an average person and you’re not simply a member of the herd of biology called humanity.
You are someone extremely special. You are absolutely unique.
There has never been a person like you before and there will never be. I’m not saying you are good or bad. I’m just saying you ARE. Recognizing this is the starting point of really and truly “managing” your stress.
As you can see, I’m not the kind of Chiropractor that “cracks your back” or “yanks on your neck.” I’m not running a patient mill, because I can’t. The reason I can’t is because it doesn’t mean anything to me. I can’t help you in this way and I know it. I need to take the time to get to know YOU, your current condition, and the meaning you assign to it. I know you will be better.