Stress is the foundation of most disease and sickness.
Your thoughts and feelings change your internal chemical environment that changes your muscle and organ tissue. Your body wasn’t designed to perceive stress constantly. You can learn to be in the middle of a stressful situation and still choose not to take it into your body.
Stress makes your body respond in a protective manner. You may already know how this works — your body stops digesting so extra blood can be made available for your muscles and brain; your pupils dilate so your eyes see more of your surroundings. These are some of the natural responses all of us were born with that have allowed us to survive.
It used to be that our stressors came from living in and being enmeshed in nature. We ran from or fought off animals or competing tribe members. Our stress responses were called up relatively infrequently compared to today. We now experience sympathetic responses while driving in traffic or listening to the evening news. Aside from the frequency of our stress responses, another major difference today is that we never get to act upon and release all of the energy that a stress response builds up for us in our bodies and our minds.
Over time, the cumulative effects of stress take space in our central nervous system. You may feel this happening in your body if you are aware the feeling of being hypervigilant and having difficulty relaxing and turning off. Eventually this accumulated stress can overwhelm our bodies and we may get sick or feel pain, or it overwhelms our bodies’ mental capacity and we experience quick anger or depression and other forms of mental burnout.
There is much you can do to help get rid of stress accumulation — you know what soothes, calms and restores you, right?
Massage is one useful tool you can use if you have been ignoring the signals your body sends you about its stress load.
Think about massage as a guided tour of yourself where you are shown where stress is accumulating, where you move and don’t move, how you breathe and whether or not you know how to quiet and relax your body.
Regular massage is effective at keeping your body in tune and your mind calm even when your life is challenging.
Your massage sessions may begin to help you change how you evaluate stress. For instance, when your body and mind are trained to be relaxed, you may hesitate before launching into all-out fight-or-flight mode, and this gives you a moment of awareness that you can use to think about the situation and evaluate it more clearly. There is an element of control; it becomes a moment of decision.
This is a formidable yet worthwhile task. I can help and support you with this.