Stress Can Be A Killer
According to Hans Selye in his ground-breaking book, Stress and Distress, first published in the fifties, when we experience stress, we immediately go into “flight or fight”. In other words, when we experience stress, we label that as a threat, and our “knee jerk” response is to jump to either escape from or destroy the perceived stressor. The implication here is that stress profoundly entangles us, negatively affecting our bodes, minds and spirits.
It has even been said that stress can be a killer. To think about the cost of being engulfed in a full-blown stress response even more increases the stress experienced!
Can We Transform A Stress Response?
It compromises thinking, insight, energy, and inner space. It wrecks havoc with all body systems and fuels anxiety, fear and depression. It finally “keeps us down”, even frozen; and sets us up to react rather than choose, which turns us into victims rather than empowered and free human beings.
Can we free ourselves from stress? Stress is part and parcel of life, but we have the wherewithal to de-press the “flight or fight” response so that we can much better survive the whatever the real stressors are.
This Is How We Heal and Transform Ourselves
Knowing what this is can easily get “lost in the shuffle” of “fight or flight”. How can we accomplish this fundamental self-healing and transformation challenge, and bring ease rather than dis-ease into our lives?
I want to offer you a guided meditation excerpt from The Centering Tools Journaling and Guided Meditation Workbook to Heal Yourself, Empower Your Life and Create Your Best Future. It is from the very first chapter, titled Freedom from Stress.
I invite you to settle back and experience this deep relaxation and visualization exercise. When you’ve finished, record your experience and whatever insights occur.
Freedom from Stress Guided Meditation Exercise
As you sit or lie comfortably, eyes closed, hands and legs uncrossed beside you, begin to take deep breaths. Feel your rib cage expand, pushing up and out as you inhale deeply; and as you exhale all the air out of your body feel your rib cage contract back down toward your stomach. Continue to take very slow, deep breaths throughout the relaxation and visualization exercise.
And now, as you continue to take very slow, deep breaths, mentally travel through all parts of your body, feeling how deeply relaxed they all are. Feel your feet, your legs, your hips and buttocks, your stomach and solar plexus area, your chest, and lungs and back, your hands, arms, shoulders, neck, muscles of the face, forehead and head; all deeply relaxed. Your body feels weightless – as if it melted into the chair on which you sit, the bed on which you lie, at ease, balanced. Your mind feels very clear, very clam and quiet like the waters of a deep lake.
Body and mind balanced with themselves, with each other, deeper and deeper relaxed, more and more letting go. It’s as if you ahd picked up a very clean, damp sponge in this deeply relaxed, clear state in which you now find yourself, and wiped the slat of your mind completely clean and free from worry, stress hurt, grief, anger, fear, resentment, from any sense that any person, place or thing outside of you has controlled you, has pushed your buttons. step back now as far as you need to go to see this clean, damp, shining slate of your mind before you.
And so you begin to feel, now, a current flowing through you along with the breath that you continue to take in and out, in and out. It seems that you can see and feel this current as light – white, brilliant light which begins in the pit of your stomach, your solar plexus area, and then grows and spreads and flows throughout your body and your mind wi9th every breath that you take. You seem to feel every cell, pore, vein, artery, bone, muscle, all the connecting pathways of your brain being flooded with brilliant, white, energizing, healing light. Light which brings you clarity, balance, and vision. Light which protects you from any outside influence which causes you to release and let go of stress, to go deeper and deeper within to find your own center, your center of light, your center of peace and healing.
Feel yourself now as an oasis of peace, calm, clear, serene, released. You can create this picture, this light, this ease and release from stress, this protection from stress, whenever you wish. Feel the power that exists inside you, the ability that you have at the deepest level of your being to obtain clarity, strength, protection and vision to heal and take charge of yourself. As you realize this, you understand what is is to let go.
Know that these feelings of strength, clarity, wellness, healing, release, and vision will stay with you throughout the day; will change the way you respond to stress; will allow you to let go of stress and bring in clarity, peace, and well-being. Remembering this, remembering the flow of your breath, the release of tension and stress, the endless light which always exists inside of your, slowly, very slowly now, come back into this room, this place, and open your eyes.