Having Too Many Balls in The Air!
I love my OSHO Zen Tarot cards, as they invite us to look at health issues in our life through different eyes. The stress card has the following message:
“How many people do you know who, just when they were completely overloaded, with too many projects, too many balls in the air, have suddenly come down with the flu, or taken a fall and ended up on crutches? That’s just the sort of bad timing the little monkey with the pin in his hand is about to impose on the one-man-band pictured here. The quality of stress represented by this card visits all of us at times, but perfectionists are particularly vulnerable to it. We create it ourselves, with the idea that without us nothing will happen–especially in the way we want it to! Well, what makes you think you’re so special? Do you think the sun won’t rise in the morning unless you personally set the alarm? Go for a walk, buy some flowers, and fix yourself a spaghetti dinner–anything unimportant will do. Just put yourself out of that monkey’s reach!”
Can you recognise some of this?
Stress is often thought of as a 20thcentury phenomenon, but it is in fact as old as the human race itself. It is the result of the normal functioning of our body’s nervous system, or more particularly, our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These are otherwise known as our “fight or flight” systems and were once an essential part of helping us to survive in the wild against sabre-toothed tigers or the hostile tribe in the next valley. The most widely used definition of stress states that it is a condition occurring when a person perceives that “demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize” (R. S. Lazarus). In 2009/10, an estimated 9.8 million working days were lost through work-related stress in Great Britain and, according to the Health and Safety Execute, 435,000 working people on this island suffered from stress. New statistics are not yet available, but I dread to think about the huge probable increase we will see in 2015/16!
Stress is a complex, multifactorial condition that affects a person on several levels. You will be aware that stress may cause various symptoms, from the gut, immune system, headaches, mood changes and tension in the body; these are all generally well known. Much more overlooked is the fact that long term stress may also produce pain in movement, most often in the shoulders, neck or lower back. Many stressed people waste a lot of time and money on therapy, examinations and even operations for muscular-skeletal symptoms with no or only temporary relief.
Their pains are real. However, the real cause involves reactions to prolonged exposure to stress, inflammation and pain. High levels of the stress hormone adrenalin and noradrenalin in the blood stream affect the muscles, as they have a tendency to tense up and cause pain.
I have been working as a reflexologist for nearly 25 years. Stressed clients are always given a stress level test when they come for a treatment, which looks at both physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms. This test indicates clearly which level of stress a client is at and thereby which treatment is relevant. Severe stress counteracts the effects of general reflexology, which is why I have undertaken courses to learn specific techniques for working on the autonomic nervous system on the spinal reflexes. These techniques help to reduce stress levels and break the vicious cycle associated with stress. Reflexology is such a fantastic tool for stress because working on the feet brings about the most unique sensation of grounding! It is of paramount importance for those suffering stress to be taught to use a whole host of stress-coping strategies. These include getting to know your symptoms, self-help, physical and shaking exercises as well as massage and meditation.
The Holistic Life Coach
Holistic & Natural Solutions for Health and Wellbeing