How the mind shapes our lives
Our mind is a powerful part of us. It enables us to think, feel, and desire. How we think determines how we feel and desire. Thinking enables us to be aware of what is happening— it creates ideas and makes sense of situations. It allows us to judge, analyze, perceive, or determine the world. Feeling, on the other hand, is closely related to emotion which helps us perceive events through senses beyond those five basic sensory receptions. It tells us if we are happy, sad, stressed, calm, worried, or how simply we are doing. Lastly, wanting keeps us with what we define as our desires. It drives us to act or do something such as our goals, motives, and purposes.
Mindset, however, refers to the way of thinking of an individual or attitude that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations. According to Carol Dweck, a researcher, mindset is the set of beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about you— your talents, strengths, intelligence, and personality. Do you think you were born with this traits? Or is that something you developed overtime?
Our mindset plays an important role in how we cope with life's situations and challenges. The world-leading researcher further explained and divided mindset into two categories: fixed mindset and growth mindset. Those who have fixed mindset believe that their basic qualities such as talent and intelligence are fixed trait. People with a fixed mindset consider that these traits are inborn and unchangeable. It’s the “you have it or you don’t” mindset. On the other hand, individuals with growth mindset believe that their qualities can be improved and developed through commitment, effort, and hard work. These are the people who constantly learning, and view failures as opportunity to improve.
Why is this big deal? Mindset doesn’t only refer to our self and our basic qualities. Our mindset shapes our perception and tendencies on events and situations. Mindset sets a framework on how we see challenges and what we should do to overcome one. It suggests actions and reactions. It can define how we feel, how we behave, what we are, and what we could be.
Mindset and stress
What we think about a situation determines how we feel. What we feel then determines how we act towards a situation. Therefore, what we think governs how we act. Our thoughts create feelings and emotions that allows us to interpret a situation. Now if these thoughts are unbalanced, it can create emotional stress. Every day, we deal with a number of situations that cause the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine in our body. Some of the examples of these are challenging events, major life changes, and environment stressors.
If that so, what kind of mindset helps? According to psychologists, when you have a growth mindset, you don’t worry so much about problems. Instead of wondering how you can overcome a problem, a challenging event, or a negative situation, you can ask yourself a more constructive question to balance your thoughts: what can I learn from this situation to better develop my skills? What are the benefits of this negative perceived event or condition in my life?
So what can we do to achieve that kind of mindset? Awareness of situation, balance perception, self-reflection by asking quality question. Learning and understanding the foundations and principles of the universe greatly affect one’s way of thinking. Practice seeing that there are always two sides to everything and that by balancing the yin (-) and yang (+) forces within ourselves, we can take charge of our thoughts, as to how we feel, and how we respond to daily life’s stress.
THE FOUNDATION OF SELF-LOVE IN UNIVERSAL LAWS AND PRINCIPLES
While it’s important to know the foundation of self-love in the general context, it’s also crucial to understand the underlying principles and universal laws into the practice of loving thyself. These four (of twelve) universal laws are considered to be the guidelines that govern all life and non-life.
The Law of Gender
This universal law suggests that gender is manifested in everything and it is impossible for creation to take place without this universal law in action. According to the law of gender, all things have both masculine yang (+) and feminine (-) attributes which is the basis for all creation. Each of us has both masculine and feminine energies regardless of our gender. It is important to understand this law so that we can learn and practice how to maintain balance with the two sides of everything that is complementary to both. By balancing the yin and yang forces within ourselves, we are capable of taking charge and responsibility for our positive or negative thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, reactions and achieve physical and mental balance. Only then we can consciously restore connection to our higher authentic best selves. We see both of the masculine and feminine energies operating within ourselves and in our everyday lives. Some of the examples are male and female; day and night; young and old; strong and weak; left brain and right brain; back and front; rough and gentle; summer and winter; sun and moon; tough love and caring love; and others.
The feminine energy is concerned in making thoughts, concepts, ideas, imagination, and is intuitive and receptive while the masculine energy carries logic, confidence, protection, courage, and discipline. The law suggests that there must be a balance between these two forces. Without the feminine energy, the masculine is most likely to act without contraction, order, or reason that can result to chaos. On the other hand, without the masculine energy, one will constantly reflect and fail to actually do anything that can result to stagnation.
The Law of Polarity
The law of polarity states that everything can be separated into two wholly opposite parts and that each of those parts still contains the potentiality of the other. In other words, the universe contains many opposites that complement each other and are part of the whole. There are always two sides to everything since all things are relative, and these opposites are simply different manifestations of the same thing. Some examples are happy and sad, hot and cold, east and west, birth, and death, inflow and outflow, creation and destruction, failure and success, good and bad, and much more. The main idea of the law of polarity is that that the difference between things that seems to be on both sides, opposed to each other, is merely a matter of degree. It suggests that every opposite are identical in nature but different in degree. The degree of temperature is an example which shows how hot and cold are identical in nature with just different manifestations. In a thermometer, there are many degrees of hot and cold. Of any two degrees, the higher degree is always hot compared with the lower degree, which is colder. Where does heat leaves and the cold starts? There is not any one specific place on the thermometer at which heat absolutely comes to an end and cold begins. This makes everything not absolute- all truth is half-truth and all truth is half-false.
By applying this law on the practice of self-love, it’s important to recognize both poles and learn how to maintain balance between these two forces. An example: you can direct your negative thoughts and emotions into positive experience you wish to experience. Every perceived bad situation has a seed of light in it and everything perceived good has a seed of darkness in it.
The Law of Divine Oneness
The universal law of divine oneness states that everything is connected to everything else. Since everything is energy and vibrating on a certain level of frequency, everything seen and unseen are connected to each other and are inseparable from each other to a field of divine oneness. This means that everything we do, say, think, and believe affects others and the universe around us. Everyone transmits and translates vibrations which everything— life and non-life, is picking up. The “divine oneness” is the source which we can call God or simply, the life force. Since we all originated from one source, every part of you is part of others and every part of others is also a part of you. Once we start to understand the law of divine oneness we can start to see the good in others and the more kindness we show to others, the closer we become to our energy and life source.
How is the law of divine oneness important? By knowing that everything is interconnected, we can become aware of our effect with each other and the universe. The way we treat others is the way we treat ourselves. So how exactly can we apply this law in the concept of self-love? Daily practice of loving kindness, appreciation and gratitude toward self and others help us all raise universal vibrational frequency. As we consciously raise our understanding of all sentient beings inter-connectedness, the more we will be able to identify and see others as mirror of ourselves. When we choose to raise, expand our level of self-awareness and self-connection, we peel the ego protection, and allow one’s authentic best self to express it’s unique magical gift to the world
The Law of Attraction
According to Eugene Fersen, the law of attraction is the basic law of the universe. The premise of this law suggests everything in this world, life and non-life, is pure energy that vibrates at different frequencies. The main concept of the law of attraction is like attracts like. In simpler terms, the concept proposes that you attract person, things, or events with the same vibrational frequency as you whether we do it consciously or unconsciously. Your frequency is determined by your thoughts, emotions, and feelings which are all vibrational energies. Say you want to attract more positive people in your life. One must learn to change his or her vibrational frequency that is in harmony of what wants to attract. This includes thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and actions.
We, human beings, are composed of physical (bodies) and non-physical (soul/spirit) components. We are a vibration and everyone is vibrating on a certain frequency. The higher the frequency, the closer we are to our extension of the source energy which we can call God, higher-being, higher-self, the universe, or whatever you want to call it. Whenever we use our senses— seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting, touching, we are interpreting and translating the vibrations of the world and everything around us. Whether we do it consciously or unconsciously, we are expanding our frequencies to the universe. It is important that whenever we translate thoughts, emotions, or feelings, we are transmitting a certain level of frequency. The law of attraction suggests that the source energy is responding about how we think, believe, and feel so it is crucial to tune in and pay attention to our thoughts. It is important to close the gap between our physical and non-physical bodies so we can achieve an alignment to the source energy and achieve what we wish to have in our lives.
Have you ever heard the saying “you can’t love other people fully if you don’t love yourself first?” You probably have been the receiving end of that statement from a friend. The concept means that in order to have a loving nourishing relationship with other people around you, one must first learn how to love oneself. That means, the key to having a good balance relationship with other people and the world around you is to create and maintain inner peace and harmonious relationship with oneself and inner body-mind ecology.
The meaning of self-love is different for each person’s perspective based from one’s unique belief system. That belief system or mindset programming is inherited from parents, ancestral lineage and the cultural tribe that nurture, care and protected us the best way they knew how.
Self-love, as I discovered in my personal life experiences, scientific research studies, bioregulatory medicine, neuroscience, and philosophical teachings from East among others, is about being consciously connected to one’s spirituality or higher self (body, mind, heart, and soul’s alignment to divine source). Source is what we refer to as the Universal or Divine consciousness, God, Great Spirit, Allah, Yahweh, Elohim, or whatever you believe as your life source.
We are all spiritual beings having a physical experience of what life is about. Therefore, understanding that self-love is about knowing wholeness of oneself from perspective of physical self (visible matter) and the soul/spirit self (invisible energy).
Additionally, self-love is the result of knowing, understanding, and being conscious of your physical and spiritual self-care need and desires such as eating high nutritious foods that can best supply vital clean energy source to our physical and energy bodies. Awareness of oneself, balancing the body-mind system, and conscious connection as to the best use of one’s will power to make appropriate action when feeling frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed and stressed out are just some of the basic acts of self-love.
Psychologists suggest that self-love, along with compassion, is the key for mental health and well-being for it helps lower the possibilities of anxiety and depression. Some personality traits such as being perfectionism are more prone to mental illnesses. Constant self-criticism and comparison to other people generates negative thoughts which can lead to stress, and eventually to illnesses.
When one is fully connected on his or her whole-being and one’s authentic self, it is easy to put one’s needs and desires into action. Balancing negative thoughts, emotions, and feelings of not being good enough or not being loved while accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses is an easy task when you practice daily act of self-love.
Where it began
Have you ever wondered where did you learn the concept of love? Even before you were born, your parents took the decision to care for their health the best way they know how to make sure you develop to be a healthy baby. That alone is love in itself. Those who took care of us (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.) passed on to us the belief system and the concept of love they learned from their childhood and present environment. Parent’s discipline, which one can consider as the tough side of love, is love. On the other hand, spoiling children is an example where a child can grow up with less responsibility. It’s important to bring into one’s awareness that balancing the two sides to love is our ultimate goal to achieve harmony.
Basically, the belief system of what love is from the people around you while growing up contributes largely on the foundation of love and self-love that you know and practice today. As we awaken to our innate inner truth, we consciously choose the kind of love that nourishes our self, others and the world around us.
It has been mentioned above that self-love is being consciously connected to one’s innate intelligent self that is also known as higher self. Conscious Connection refers to one’s awareness of its spiritual energy and soul’s essence residing within its unique physical body. It is important for us, as human beings to be mindful about our relationship to soul’s essence because it holds the power connection to the source within and the universal consciousness that we are ONE. One easy and simple yet powerful way of connecting of to our soul energy is through conscious breathing. In times of feeling stressed and overwhelmed, become mindful of your breathing. Human’s outbreath (exhale) is connected to the parasympathetic nervous system which is in-charge of slowing heart rate and relaxing muscles. Breathing allows us to connect not only to our soul energy, but it also helps us clear our minds and stay present in the moment. The power of oneself lies on our conscious connection, as we continue to evolve and understand the untapped power that lies within us as divine creation.
“It is dishonourable for a reasonable soul to live in so divinely built mansion as the body she/he resides in altogether unacquainted with the exquisite magnificent structure of it.”
~ Robert Boyle (1627-1691) ~
Father of Modern Chemistry
Health is said to depend on the balance flow of energies in the body. In the principle of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), if the flow of qi (also called chi or ki), the body’s energy that flows along several channels of the body, on the meridians is blocked or unbalanced, it can cause pain or illnesses. The practice is also generally based on the principle that the body is a representation of yin and yang and that the body system act as one integrated so when a part or organ is in pain, it is important to consider the whole system.
More and more people are seeking options to treat their pain naturally. One of the most common natural ways to correct the balance of energy in the body is Acupuncture. Acupuncture was first used traditionally in China over 2,500 years ago to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as to improve overall wellness. The process of acupuncture involves stimulating specific points on the body by inserting very thin needles through the skin. TCM explains that the imbalance flow of energy in the body will be corrected by inserting needles into specific points along these meridians where energy is blocked. Acupuncture is known to relieve other chronic pain associated with diseases such as: headache, stress, low back pain, anxiety, and neck pain. Acupuncture treatment has been used in conjunction to western in Europe, North America, Japan, other Asian countries.
Another natural therapy that is effective in releasing chronic pain is the Japanese Shiatsu. The process is a bodywork therapy which means “finger pressure” in Japanese but the principle of Shiatsu is also based in TCM. Shiatsu bodywork uses fingers, elbows, palms, or knees to apply pressure to the part of the body where the energy is believed to be blocked. It is believed that the right amount of pressure and meridian stretches helps the flow to return to normal and balance excess or blocked energy. Unlike other form of bodywork, Shiatsu does not use oil but rather loose comfortable clothes can be worn throughout the whole session that can last from 30 to 90 minutes. Shiatsu can also be used to relieve muscle chronic pain disorders such as the Myofascial Pain Syndrome where a person experiences pain in the muscle when pressure is put on sensitive points in the body.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is also one of the natural procedures used by doctors and massage therapists. The process of CST is used to enhance the body’s natural way of healing itself. Like with Acupuncture and Shiatsu, CST relieves deep pain and tension and improves the overall wellness of the body. A light pressure is believed to improve the cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid around the brain and spinal cord, and helps calm the whole body system and release emotional stress from past traumas and painful experiences.
Like CST, Chiropractic is a form of an alternative medicine and therapy that mainly involves adjustments or manipulations to the spine and other parts of the body that is connected to the nervous system. One of the goals of this practice is to improve the body’s ability to heal itself. When the spine is properly aligned, it allows the nerves travelling through the spine to flow and transmit information to our body. If a nerve is being compressed due to misalignment in the spine, that nerve will not be able to deliver the information from our brain to the body. Chiropractic is a great therapy for those who experience chronic stress or pain as it targets the nervous system which contains the brain and the spinal cord. This natural therapy calms the fight or flight of the parasympathetic system which helps manage stress and improve overall health.
Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, a trained Iranian medical doctor at St. Mary's Hospital Medical School of London University also claimed the medicinal value of water in treating pain. While on prison, Dr. Batmanghelidj discovered the water cure therapy by treating inmates with peptic ulcer pain with water when medication wasn’t available. In this principle, Dr. Batmanghelidj believed that dehydration is the root cause of most pain and many ailments. He also mentioned that a dry mouth is not a reliable indicator of dehydration. Instead, the body signals its water shortage by producing pain. Dehydration actually produces pain and many degenerative diseases, including asthma, arthritis, hypertension, angina, adult-onset diabetes, lupus and multiple sclerosis.
Another interesting water practice is the Japanese Water Therapy. Most illness and diseases stems from an unhealthy gut. The Japanese Water Therapy helps in cleaning the stomach and boosting the gut health. In addition, the Traditional Japanese Medicine believes that early mornings are the “golden hour” on which it is highly recommended to drink water on an empty stomach right after waking up early in the morning. This natural therapy recommends following these steps to treat minor pains and improve overall health condition:
Sometimes, the health care industry doesn’t really understand all the things that cause pain. Even with a lot of testing, the cause of pain remains unsolved but that doesn't mean that there isn't a cause. Proper diagnosis and treatment should take into account a person’s lifestyle, nutrition, work and leisure activities, current and past stressors, and relevant previous injuries. This means that proper treatment of acute pains address the root causes of each person’s pain and its manifestations. Treatment may include the use various combinations of dietary recommendations and nutritional supplements with various modalities natural therapies to help reduce the pain it causes and treat the source of the illness.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE PAIN?
Pain can take in many forms, whether a simple head ache, minor burn, or mild to severe long lasting prick or tingle of your back. Pain happens when nerves that are called nociceptors detect tissue damage. These nerves then send signals along the spinal cord to the brain to pass on information about the actual or potential tissue damage. The moment this information is transmitted into the brain, the brain then decides what to do about the pain. Pain also acts as body’s defense mechanism by warning us to take action to prevent further tissue damage.
There are three types of pain: acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is often caused by a disease, injury, or inflammation. It can be diagnosed and treated and is usually only lasts for a short time. Acute pain is often a signal that your body has been injured. On the other hand, pain that lasts for 3 months or longer is called chronic pain. Chronic pain occurs for a long time which can be mild or severe and it can be continuous or intermittent. Chronic pain is considered a health condition in itself and sometimes can also occur without any indication of an injury or illness. In some situations, acute pain becomes chronic pain that can last for months or even years. On the other hand, psychosomatic pain originates from emotional stress or anxiety and progresses with physical symptoms when a person’s immune system is compromised due to stress. In simpler terms, psychosomatic pain refers to real physical symptoms that are caused by the mind. Often psychosomatic pain is caused by underlying emotions such as grief, stress, and anxiety that can all present themselves in physical ways.
Connecting to the Earth.
When was the last time you walked barefoot on the grass? At the beach or at the park? Can you remember how good it felt by simply connecting to the Earth? Whether we are aware or not, humans, along with the other energy fields in the planet, are taking part in a constant process of finding balance and connection with the Earth. This happens in our daily lives: when we are cooking, playing with our pet, or doing chores. Everything involves interacting with energy fields all around us.
The human body was naturally made to work with the Earth in the sense that there's a constant flow of energy between the body and the planet we live in. This process is called Earthing (or Grounding) which refers to the tapping and connecting of the human body to the electrical energy of the Earth. The most powerful way to reconnect with the Earth is through our five senses: smell, listen, feel, and connect.
Earth’s Free Electrons Neutralise Free Radicals.
We are living in the modern technology and lifestyle on which we are exposed to growing electromagnetic fields (EMF) which increases the production of free radicals in our body. Free radicals are group of atoms that has an unpaired electron that is unstable and highly reactive. Although free radicals are naturally produced in our body, environment and lifestyle such as exposure to pollution, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and unbalanced diet help accelerate free radical production. These free radicals damage healthy cells that lead to inflammations which are believed to be the root cause of illnesses and diseases.
In Physics, everything has energy that is positively, negatively, or neutrally charged. The earth’s surface has an endless supply of negative electrons that serve an abundant supply of free electrons and antioxidants. When a physical contact with the ground happens, Earth takes up free electrons into our bodies and nullifies its charge. These free electrons act as antioxidants that help neutralise free radicals.
The miracle work of Earthing is simple: Inflammation happens when these three things happen in your body:
1) the blood thickens;
2) there are a lot of free radicals in the body;
3) there are a lot of positively charged electrons.
Earthing helps in thinning the blood and supplies your body with free electrons that effectively neutralise free radicals. The effect of Earthing is enough to maintain your body’s balance as the negatively charged electrical potential of the Earth.
Is this information backed up by research? Extensive studies show that physical and direct contact to Earth helps reduce pain, inflammation, and improve sleep to mention some. Clint Ober, the person who rediscovered the idea of Earthing, performed numerous studies which show positive effects of sleeping while grounded on the physical health. The result revealed that those who were grounded reported to have reduced pain and better sleep. It was not until 2004 when the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published one of Ober’s studies. The study said that “Earthing during sleep resynchronizes cortisol secretion more in alignment with its natural, normal rhythm.”
In 2006, a study published in European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics Journal revealed that Earthing reduces overall stress and tension. Majority of 58 subjects showed a positive change result in EEG, EMG, and pulse rates after Earthing. Additionally, 50% of the subjects showed rapid improvement in these readings as soon as they were grounded. Further studies also reveal that Earthing activates the parasympathetic nervous system to enhance relaxation.
Additionally, Tracy Latz, M.D., a psychiatrist, shared how she practices Earthing as an approach to healing. She mentioned: “For those with anxiety (post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, etc.), reconnecting with the Earth can assist with an improved sense of safety. By improving sleep, Earthing can help normalize serotonin levels in the brain as it decreases cortisol (an anxiety-inducing hormone). When cortisol levels are high, there is a tendency to go into fight-or-flight/panic responses to stressful situations and become more easily angered or irritable. As cortisol levels decrease and stabilize, we become more centred, peaceful and calm. In short, we get more easily into our heart and have more compassion for our self as well as for others. Some patients, I have found, stop Earthing after their anxiety gets better, and I have to remind them about what helped them get better.”
“Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine”
~ Hippocrates ~
What we eat is central to our health. The nutrients of the foods we eat are the foundation of good nutrition, prevention of various illnesses, and restoration of good health condition. Along with exercise and healthy lifestyle, food helps our bodies maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of diseases, and promote the overall health. Being said, if we don’t get proper nutrition from the foods we take, the brain and body cannot function appropriately.
According to a report in 2017 by The Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians consume over 3kg of food on average every 24 hours which is higher than the global average. Moreover, while 75% of Australians consume vegetables every day, only 7% meets the daily vegetable intake requirement. Additionally, 54% or a little more half gets the recommended daily intake of fruit.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Traditional Chinese Medicine or TMC is an ancient form of Eastern Healing developed in China more than 2500 years ago. Practices of TMC such as (but not limited to) acupuncture, herbal therapy, tai chi, and qi gong are generally used to prevent, diagnose, and cure health problems. While the TCM is one of the oldest systems of healing and has been practiced for thousands of years, it remains effective because the practice is rooted from the unchanging natural laws of the universe.
TMC is based on the belief that qi, the body’s energy, flows along several channels of the body or what is called meridians. This energy keeps a person’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health in balance. In this belief, if the flow of qi on the meridians is blocked or unbalanced, it can cause illnesses. The practice is also generally based on the principle that the body is a smaller version of the larger, surrounding universe and that people are born with natural-self healing abilities.
Another concept that is fundamental to Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin and yang. The concept of yin and yang is defined as opposing but complementary energies that make up the existence of all things, including the human body. The yin and yang is used to represent all of earth’s opposing forces such as light and darkness, hot and cold, good and bad, water, and fire. The term Yin means “shady side” and Yang “sunny side.” Neither yin nor yang is absolute because nothing is completely yin or completely yang. Everything of yin contains some elements of yang, and everything of yang contains some elements of yin. Yin and yang, along with the qi, are the two root principles of the Traditional Chinese Medicine.
So what is the relationship between Qi and Yin and Yang in the Traditional Chinese Medicine? Health is said to depend on the balance flow of energies in the body. The basic principle of qi and yin and yang is that the yin and yang of qi needs to exist in balance. If these forces are balanced, there is harmony, good health, and wellbeing. But when yin and yang are unbalanced or in disharmony, there is illness. Practices of the Traditional Chinese Medicine intend to facilitate the balance and harmony of these life forces in able to sustain health and wellbeing.
Ayurvedic Medicine, also called Ayurveda, was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India and is one of the oldest medical systems in the world today. The term comes from the words ayur which means life, and veda which means knowledge. When put together, the term signifies “life build on knowledge” or “science of life.” Similar with the Traditional Chinese Medicine, the main principle of Ayurvedic Medicine is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. But unlike other medical systems, Ayurvedic Medicine promotes good health and wellbeing, rather than treatment of diseases with the use of herbal compounds and other unique health practices.
Key principles of the Ayurvedic Medicine include the belief on these three life forces or bodily energies called doshas:
The principle of three life forces believes that everyone has a unique mix of the three doshas but one is usually stronger than the others. Each dosha control a different body function and it is said the unbalance of your dosha or life force is linked the health problems you develop. Additionally, factors such as stress, age, food, environment, and weather all contribute to the balance or unbalance of a dosha.
One of the most important aspects of keeping the balance of life force is tuning in to the natural rhythms of the body and bringing your lifestyle including activity, food choices, and sleep into sync with nature and patterns. This also includes some unique practices such as meditation and massage.
Have you ever worried about something too much that you ended up with a terrible headache? Or have you gotten home feeling sick after dealing with a very bad day at the workplace? We’ve all been there. Every day, we deal with a number of stressors that cause the release of stress hormones in our body. Some of the examples of these stressors are challenging events, major life changes, and environment stressors. While stress is a natural response of the human body, we sometimes fail to realise that unbalanced stress can eventually lead to chronic and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, high-blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, and serious mental conditions.
What is Stress?
Stress is the body’s natural reaction to perceived or actual threat. Selye (1956) defined stress as the effect of anything that seriously threatens homeostasis or the state of maintaining our environment in a stable state. Stress is an essential part of human survival where the fight-or-flight mechanism in the brain was programmed to tell the body when and how to respond to a danger.
There are two types of stress– the Good Stress or what the psychologists refer to as Eustress, and the Bad Stress. Eustress motivates and helps an individual to move forward and achieve more goals. This is also the type of stress that makes people feel excited or when you get “butterflies” in your stomach and the palms of your hands get sweaty. On the other hand, Bad Stress hinders progress and could cause serious mental and physical health issues. A stressful workplace, bad environment, failed relationships, or an unhappy home can bring chronic bad stress. In result, the body would respond to the Bad Stress in the form of low energy, inability to complete tasks, body aches, headaches, irritability, changes in appetite, having troubles falling asleep, and more.
Statistic on Stress
Stress has become a “world wide epidemic” that the World Health Organization (WHO) has dubbed Stress as The Health Epidemic of the 21st Century” in 2016. Numerous studies show that job-related stress is the top major source of stress in the United States of America. Meanwhile, a recent global survey of 1,000 corporations across 15 countries done by The Regus Group revealed that the levels of workplace stress have risen over the last two years.
In 2015, the result of The Australian Psychological Society (APS) revealed that younger people aged 18-25 reported low levels of well-being than older Australians. Other key findings show that 35% of Australians report having a significant level of distress in their lives while financial issues are rated as the top cause of stress over the five years. Additionally, 72% or majority of the Australians feel that stress is having at least some impact on their physical health while 64% believe that stress is having an impact on their mental health. These results are consistent on the past studies which indicate that stress has a harmful effect on both physical and mental health.
How stress affects all Organ Systems?
Stress affects all organ systems in the body specifically the endocrine system, immune system, musculoskeletal system, and gut health. When the body is under stress, stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine are released by the body in situations that are interpreted by the hypothalamus, a certain part of the brain, as being potentially dangerous. Elevated Cortisol, the stress hormone, interferes with learning, memory, immune function, and more. Stress and elevated Cortisol also increase the risk for mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression. These stress hormones also act by mobilising energy from storage to muscles, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity.
However, thanks to our brain, there are also hormones that help elevate happiness. These are called the Happy Hormones: