Moving from survival mode to deep peace
When we’re experiencing stress, how do we find the calm in the storm? When do we drop sail? Alter course? Go deep? Unfortunately, many times, once in the storm, we’re just in a survival mode —riding an emotional/physiological roller coaster and waiting for things to pass. When these states are frequent, without recuperative periods of deep relaxation and rest, our overall wellness and ability to cope are further undermined.
The impact of stress
It's clear from many years of research, that regardless of whether related to work, home, personal or relationship issues, when we have difficulty handling stress, it takes a great toll on our physical and mental well-being. Elevated stress levels can be linked to high blood pressure, fatigue, chronic illnesses, a weakened immune system, restricted breathing, physical tension, pain levels, weight loss or gain, irritability, inability to concentrate, decreases in working memory, and depression.
Finding peace: where to start
How can we initiate a healthy shift once caught up in the storm? First, we need to recognize that we’re in a stressful situation, and experience a conscious awareness of the situation on some physical, emotional or mental level.
This allows us to move from unconscious reaction, to conscious action —a supportive response. It also allows a momentary pause to recalibrate, reset our emotional and physical landscape, and reframe the situation.
This initial supportive response is a critical referencing moment —whether initiated by deliberately relaxing our breath, pausing to close our eyes, or taking a quiet moment to lock in on a reassuring phrase such as “all shall be well.” This referencing pause can open the door to a healthier response. It allows space for a change in perception, where we can begin to feel a sense of control and hope in our ability to take care of ourselves.
Beyond the moment: building the foundation
The ease and power of creating a “referencing moment” in the midst of a stressful situation is heavily dependent on the strength of our “foundation” — our prior training and our physical and emotional base.
Through prior practice, is our pause for a relaxed breath associated with a deep state of relaxation? Is the phrase “all shall be well” linked with a state of calm reassurance? Is our overall position on the emotional and physical wellness continuum during non-stressful times healthy? Are meaningful, connective and fun experiences a regular part of our life?
Fortunately, there are numerous approaches to nurture and experience deep relaxation, including breathing activities, guided relaxation, biofeedback techniques, Reiki, meditation, and calming/centering movement such as yoga and qigong.
These activities provide concrete opportunities to become aware of how and where we hold tension, how to release stress, and how to experience new depths of relaxation and well-being that can be replicated at home, work or in any situation.
I offer personalized relaxation and stress management training experiences, and , overall wellness and growth.