WHAT TO DO ABOUT STRESS
There are nearly as many approaches to dealing with stress as there are stresses. The first thing is to deal with the chemical and dietary stresses. These are usually identifiable and relatively easy to control. They would include
Chemical and Dietary Stress
Coffee, tea, alcohol and sugar are the priorities. These are all stimulants and will aggravate emotional states enormously. Improve and remove any major food intolerances like dairy, grain or yeast products. If possible, identify environment pollutants like, moulds, fungi, perfumes, dust mite and food additives.
Remember, coffee, tea, alcohol and sugar (cakes, biscuits, honey, chocolate) are the number one priorities.
Don't over exert yourself. It is common to find people who are desperate to be well and they will do the only thing that they know to try and help themselves. This is usually gruelling long distance daily runs or excessive aerobics or workouts in the gym. These people adopt this compulsive behaviour believing that they are doing good things for themselves. What they are doing is depleting an already depleted body. They become even more run down. Run down bodies need rest, not marathons. The opposite situation of no exercise results in a sluggish body and a sluggish mind. Gentle exercise is best, like walking, light jogging, swimming, Yoga, but build it up slowly.
Sensible exercise like walking, jogging and swimming, according to ones capacity, is marvellous for the mind as well as the body and is a must for stressed people. I recommend it as high priority.
Emotional and Mental Stress
It is important that we learn to identify stresses and learn more appropriate behavioural responses to them. As people are becoming more aware of themselves and their environment, so are the opportunities becoming available to participate in personal growth and discovery groups. Avail yourself of information regarding courses being offered and those who offer them.
Psychotherapy will be necessary for those who have more deep seated problems. Visiting a psychotherapist does not mean that you have a mental problem. This is archaic thinking but still persists today. It is an opportunity to share your problems with somebody who will be objective and who is trained in helping people find new ways to approach and handle their more difficult life circumstances. Choose therapists who have orthodox training and an alternative leaning.
Meditation is extremely valuable for everyone. It requires dedication and commitment, but you will be repaid tenfold for the efforts that you make. In meditation, one quiets and focuses the mind. This may be achieved through the repetition of a word (mantra) or through concentration on ones breathing. In stilling the conscious mind we access deeper levels of awareness. We become more in tune with our real desires rather than the transient pleasure seeking desires of the ego that lead ultimately to the unhappiness and disharmony of mankind. Past trauma and inappropriate belief patterns are gently released. Regular meditators have been scientifically shown to have greatly improved resistance to disease and infection. There are many ways to meditate and many meditation teachers. Seek out good meditation teachers and ongoing and stable training groups.
I favour the Transcendental Meditation training (T.M.) because it is a well organised international training body which can be relied on for ongoing support. This is very important. They are not aligned with any particular religious doctrine and offer more advanced courses and retreats for keen participants. The T.M. technique is easy to apply and is very effective.
Yoga and Tai Chi are methods for relaxation and harmonising of mind and body. Both utilise gentle stretching and breathing techniques and produce very favourable results.
Regression Therapy can help to unlock negative childhood patterns. The trained therapist can guide a person back to early traumatic events which will be subconsciously affecting their 'now'. By gently re‑experiencing these incidents one can be free of them.
Rebirthing is an old yogic breathing technique rediscovered about twenty years ago by a Californian named Leonard Orr. It is a simple process involving long, connected breaths. Ease of breathing and continued breathing is very much related to our ease of movement through our life. During any shock or traumatic experience we tend to stop breathing: it's a bit like 'stop the world, I want to get off'. In so doing these experiences become imprinted, only to resurface later and affect our present moments. Through conscious connected breathing (rebirthing) we can re‑access those experiences and gently breath through them, releasing them forever. This technique is most useful for events occurring from conception to about four years of age and may include a graphic revival of an individual's birth experience.
Past Life Regression Therapy seeks to access those experiences of previous incarnations which have karmic overtones on this lifetime. Whether these events are actually of 'past lives' or just the mind's metaphorical representation of current life lessons is debatable, however these experiences can be profoundly releasing I find it along with rebirthing to be the most powerful emotional releasing/awareness heightening techniques around, but different things will work for different people.
Massage is one of the most powerful tools available. In a crisis it is relaxing and soothing. In fact all forms of 'hands on' work are very healing. Massage is easy to learn and should be considered a priority for treating stress.
Finally, you should never underestimate the value of talking about problems. An opportunity to share problems with an impartial listener can be such a relief. This will be enough in many cases to shift a mountain of worry and provide openings for new beginnings. To be a good listener does not require great skill. It does require patience. It is important not to become entangled in other people's problems. One must demonstrate empathy but not become personally involved. There is no value in allowing someone to heap their problems upon you in an effort to have you side with them. One must always be seeking ways to keep the conversation moving forward so that constructive progress is made.
By talking the problem through you will be in the best position to assess whether a simple 'chat' may be enough or whether you need to look more deeply into a situation with a therapist who specialises in that area. Many problems are just a short term crisis. A combination of talking and massage or reflexology can help a person relax, see things from a new and fresh perspective.
The greatest of all stresses is that conflict which exists between our personality (the negative ego) and our higher self (soul or God self). This conflict or spiritual disease ultimately manifests as disease of our physical bodies, in all its myriad forms. In fact, all the diseases of mankind can be viewed as the physical confirmation of this spiritual conflict and a constant reminder of how out of tune we are with the infinite. These stresses guide us towards the resolution of this conflict and our ultimate attainment of peace. This peace will only be achieved through the complete understanding of the 'self'.
Many Eastern schools of spirituality believe that our soul continues to re‑embody until this ultimate conflict between our earth bound 'personality' and our 'higher or God Self', is actually resolved. They suggest that the whole purpose of our time spent in the physical body is to learn the futility of our investment in negative emotions. These negatives include hate, anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, fear and self pity, and are all aspects of our personality (negative ego).
Indeed, spiritual aspects aside, few would argue that these negative emotions don't have a depressing influence on our health. I believe they are the root cause of all our ill health and that there can be no complete cure until we have eliminated them. This has been the teachings of all the great Saints, especially Christ. He taught that there is nothing in the universe that matters or has substance, other than forgiveness and love, and that forgiveness and love have the power to heal all disease. It may seem that to advance from our current 'very negative' ways of thinking, to a space of only forgiveness and love, is too big a step to be possible. That may indeed be true, but remember that ultimately it is ourselves who are totally in charge of our thoughts and that to choose forgiveness and love is just that ‑ a choice. It is a choice that you can, and indeed need to be making every second of the day.
The Course in Miracles says that all disease is mental disease. Freedom from negative emotions, and the choice in favour of unconditional love, must be our ultimate goal if we are to be well.
Further on Physical Therapies for Stress
As the greatest suppressor of immune function we can see that all nutrients supportive of the immune system are required during stressful times.
Particular emphasis can be given to the following processes:
Remove all stimulants and replace with wholesome foods and more clean water.
B Complex ‑ the 'stress' vitamins. Particularly B5 for the adrenals.
Vitamin C ‑ bodily requirements increase greatly during stress.
Glutamine ‑ an Amino Acid which crosses the blood/brain and exerts a calming effect on the mind. Used in doses of up to two grams per day it is safe, non addictive and helpful.
Camomile and Valarian Teas both act as gentle sedatives.
Strategies for Dietary Intervention
The fundamental teaching of moderation is one of the 'cornerstones' of this course and this principle is equally important when considering dietary advice to counter stress.
Remember that we don't automatically eat and drink large amounts of sugar and stimulating beverages just for the sake of it. Certainly this can become a habit, but such behaviour is triggered and maintained in response to physical and emotional needs. When we feel physically and emotionally drained our mind will automatically seek anything that will meet its own needs and the needs of the body at that moment. If we refuse to acknowledge the bodies genuine need for rest and relaxation at this time then it will seek stimulants, irrespective of the future consequences.
Under such circumstances it is easy to see that these foods are in fact acting as a support system, albeit an inappropriate one.
THE HEALING CRISIS
When one adopts a better quality diet, many changes take place. We have considered the multitude of additives, pesticides, preservatives, toxic metals and stimulants that we ingest daily from our food and our environment. Many of these never leave our bodies. They are stored in our organs and tissues and remain there as a constant burden to health. In the long term they cause the early failure of our systems. We probably only ingest these pollutants in small amounts each day, but this goes on 365 days of the year and over 20, 30 or 50 years it adds up to an awful lot of excess poisons. Some health writers estimate that adults actually carry around kilos of heavy metals, toxins and other wastes buried throughout their organs, tissues and bones.
The energy produced from metabolising our food is used for the various bodily functions, beginning with digestion, absorption and circulation; also manufacturing nutrients, keeping us warm, thinking, exercise, playing and finally for cleansing and eliminating. In other words, all the processes of running body and mind.
You can see that there will only be so much of this energy available for each process. If you are busy trying to metabolise stoggy and nutritionally valueless food, then not only will there be an energy 'shortfall', but you will be accumulating toxins, pesticides, ureas and other rubbish that your body does not have enough energy available to eliminate.
The way to create more energy is to create more efficiency. With every dietary improvement we are providing more nutrients with less energy having to be expended on digestion and the elimination of wastes.
With each improvement there is a corresponding assault on the back log of debris and stored toxins. This rubbish is blocking our arteries, clogging our bowels, residing in adipose tissue and inhibiting kidney and liver function; indeed affecting every tissue and organ. The price we pay for indulging in the nutritionless western diet is too great a price because illness results from this overburden of poison that we cannot eliminate.
In order to cleanse our body we must provide it with cleansing fuel. Fruits, vegetables, juices and water are ideal for this process because they require minimal digestion and therefore more energy is made available for elimination. Remember that we are powerful self regenerating organisms and the first stage of this regenerating process is to clean out the stored toxins and sludge. Good quality food is the catalyst for this cleansing.
Quality diets or cleansing programmes by their very nature are low in calories and thus excess fat is quickly burnt off. As this excess adipose tissue comes away, so do the toxins stored in it.
The resulting reactions are known as detoxifying and the feeling of temporary unwellness that can result in what is often called a healing crisis.
Some detoxifying will take place with every dietary improvement that you make. It is not possible to predict the extent of reactions but they will be directly proportional to the person's degree of illness and to what extent the diet is changed. As toxins are liberated from organs and tissues they find their way into the bloodstream. Here they circulate until reaching the liver and kidneys where they are neutralised and eliminated. Detoxifying reactions occur when the quantity of toxins exceeds our bodies capacity to remove them. They remain circulating in our systems and this can leave us feeling quite unwell until they are eliminated. For this reason it is better to introduce this process gently so to be in the individual's ability to cope.
Fundamental to clearing the channels of elimination and for assistance of cleansing processes is sufficient clean water, gentle sustained exercise and fresh air.
Lots of clean water, taken in small doses regularly throughout the day will keep the kidneys clean. Our entire volume of blood passes through these organs every 4‑5 minutes. It is vital that they be flushed continually so as to remove poisons and wastes from the blood.
Gentle sustained exercise keeps our cardiovascular system in trim and most importantly stimulates lymph flow. The lymphatics are prominent as a sewage system and will be heavily burdened during detoxifying. They are entirely dependent on muscular movement to stimulate this flow of lymph within.
Finally the lungs are the sight for transfer of toxic gasses out of our body. They receive the clean air and vital oxygen that we need to sustain the metabolic reactions within every cell. A build up of carbon dioxide resulting from shallow breathing, will lead to acidosis of the blood and ill health.
When a person adopts a whole food diet and removes sugar, stimulants and refined foods they start to feel better immediately, however they usually experience some unwellness within a few days of beginning their new lifestyle. Depending upon the strictness of their programme this will usually occur on the second or third day. It is almost as though nature says, 'OK, this is how good you can feel now we must get on with the process of cleaning up after your past discretions'. Most reactions only last for one day.
From that first experience of 'vibrant health', to suddenly feeling quite 'unwell', comes as a bit of a shock. Most won't understand what is happening to them. Here they are making this incredible effort to cut out foods they used to enjoy and suddenly they feel headachy and lethargic and maybe even have a touch of diarrhoea. Immediately they blame the new diet. There must be something wrong with it ‑ or, all that stuff they read about good food and health was a 'con'.
It's very difficult to stay motivated about giving up your sweets and coffee when you feel 'off' and uncertain about what you are.
Detoxifying reactions rarely last more than two days. Sometimes they recur every few months for a day or two as the body gets stronger and moves into deeper areas of healing within itself.
The most common feeling is just 'unwellness'. Often there is tiredness and fatigue which may be accompanied by headache. Headaches are especially common when coffee is eliminated. All of these feelings contribute to a slightly depressed state of mind and it is difficult for people to be positive and committed when they feel this way.
Later, we will look in detail at the process of fasting. A fast is one of the most extreme changes that you can make, and invites an immediate cleaning out and detoxifying. All of the above symptoms are experienced during the first few days of a fast, including exudation from all of the bodily orifices. Waxy ears, furry tongue and excess mucous are all common reactions during the first 24 hours of fasting. These symptoms seldom last longer than a day; then one begins to feel light and cleansed and experiences little hunger.
As we have seen, many factors determine how much of a cleansing reaction will be experienced. Minor dietary changes generally result in no perceivable reaction, although there may be the odd 'off day' for no apparent reason. There will be a very definite reaction with arthritis sufferers for instance. For a week or two after adopting a raw food cleansing programme,
their bodies will eliminate much accumulated uric acid and toxicity, and they will feel marvellous after it, often experiencing a dramatic reduction of pain.
Massage can initiate feelings of unwellness the day following treatment. This is because wastes are mobilised in the tissues and lymph and must follow the same routes of elimination via the bloodstream.
Even the use of high dose vitamin supplements can bring on quite a cleansing reaction. When our organs (especially the liver) are provided with an abundance of the right nutrients they immediately begin to detoxify.
Cancer patients, and others with serious illness, are in greatest need of cleansing. A major contributor to their illness is this excess of accumulated toxins. Their disease has left vital organs depleted and damaged and barely able to keep them alive, let alone keep their bodies clean and efficient. The extent of the trauma resulting from the detoxifying process must be carefully considered when dealing with the seriously ill.
All these reactions are fundamental to understanding healing. They bring us to realise that the burden of emotional and physical toxins present in all of us are the causes of sickness. Only when these poisons are cleared can we be well.
Vitamin C and Distilled Water
We have considered Vitamin C as the 'conductor of all other vitamins'. It is a powerful, antioxidant, free radical scavenger and chelator. It is an especially valuable addition where dietary change is likely to cause reactions. Vitamin C will aid as a detoxifier and help to stimulate organs and assist in removing poisons.
One or two teaspoons of sodium ascorbate (3‑6 grams), taken with a little water after meals is a suitable dose and completely safe to use.
Distilled Water should be used during any detoxifying programme. We have examined the cleansing properties of distilled water and its value in drawing inappropriate minerals, salts and other rubbish out of the tissues. It is almost an essential requirement and if taken in suitable quantities (6‑8 small glasses/day) will reduce detoxifying symptoms by about half.
Filtered Water is very effective and should be used if distilled is not available. Remember that distilled water is only for short term therapeutic application and that filtered or clean tank water, should be the only water drunk for the rest of that person's life.
Finally, if there is nothing else available, drink mineral water. It's not the best, but its much better than too little water or tap water.
Remember, don't take any of these fluids with meals.
A Valuable Analogy
You can explain to people that embarking on a new healthy diet is a bit like somebody beginning the renovation of an old house. Lots of effort is required before they reach that restored, new state. There will be some sweeping to do and they're bound to get dust up their nose.
Points to Emphasise
Good food provides the energy for our bodies to have a 'Spring cleaning'.
Detoxifying symptoms are a positive sign demonstrating that what you are doing is working. That symptoms will only last a day or two.
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