By Amy Rose: The holiday season can be a time of great joy, but it can also be a time where our stress levels are amplified. For instance, stress may be triggered by shopping for gifts, preparing for the festivities, spending extra time in travel, meeting with family, or perhaps experiencing the anticipation of spending this holiday season alone. Stress is a very destructive energy that negatively affects us on many levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Additionally, it adversely affects the people around us as well as the reality we experience within those moments. We’ll take a look at these effects, explain how we biologically create stress within our own bodies, and what we can do to consciously rise above it.
Physically: Stress creates tension in our muscles, increases our blood pressure, and elevates our heart rate. These symptoms are the result of our body activating the sympathetic nervous system where hormones – such as adrenaline and norepinephrine – are released from the adrenal glands. Stress originates from entering what Walter Cannon first described as the Fight-or-Flight response. These physiological responses to stress are inbuilt in all humans and their purpose is to physically prepare the body to either fight or flee a perceived dangerous threat in order to survive. Entering this state is meant to be temporary, as the optimized functioning of all systems within the body is placed on hold as your energy is reprioritised to escape external danger. In modern society, however, we trigger the stress response (or fight-or-flight) far more frequently and for longer periods than it is intended, which begins to create disharmony within the body. This leads to physical pain, disorders, and even disease.
Mentally: When we are in the stress response, it further increases our breathing rate and pulse, and also clouds our thinking. When we remain in the stress response for long or frequent periods, our increased pulse along with our rapid and shallow breaths can lead to anxiety. The anxiety further perpetuates the rapid pulse and breathing, and we get caught in a vicious cycle – negatively impacting ourselves, our reality, and everyone we come into contact with. When we enter the stress response, our energy also moves from the frontal lobes where clear, logical thinking occurs, and enters the survival brain where we operate purely on instinct. This is why we are unable to think clearly when we are stressed.
Emotionally: When we are stressed, we lose our centre and our energy can scatter in all directions depriving us of the enjoyment of the present moment. We get unconsciously thrown around like a washing machine, rapidly shifting our awareness back and forth between the past and the future, aligning us with unpleasant emotions – such as the panic of ‘what if’s’ in the future and regrets of the past. We can get deeply entrenched in the ever changing waves of our emotions and unconsciously lose ourselves in the realm of duality – where we experience the dramatic dynamics of highs and lows. When we are not present we are unable to experience peace and true connection with the people around us within those precious moments.
Spiritually: When we are stressed, our vibration lowers and we enter denser realms of reality. Because of this density, we lack the ability to clearly connect with others or receive the Divine transmission of communication from our angels, higher selves, Source/God, etc. This can leave us feeling disconnected and alone, and may lead to entering states of depression or fear. We need to be able to step out of the stress response (fight-or-flight) and return our bodies to their normal, optimised functioning state – known as the Relaxation Response – in order to increase our vibration, come into presence, and start feeling connected again.
So how do we do this? Below is a list of ways to step out of the stress response, enter the relaxation response, and align with the power of the present moment – where you experience harmony, peace, joy, love, connectedness, and of course no stress!
Focus on your breath. Simply spend some time observing it or consciously taking slower, deeper breaths
Come into the Now. Bring your awareness to your external environment – listen to the birds, focus your vision on a beautiful object, or literally take this moment to smell a rose! You could even tune into your hands and notice what sensations you feel there.
Focus on the bigger picture. Remember why you are doing the things you are doing. For instance, if you find yourself getting stressed whilst shopping for gifts, try and take a moment to remember the heartfelt reason you are giving these gifts in the first place.
Ask for Angelic or Higher help. If you are feeling the negative effects of stress and cannot overturn it yourself, simply ask for help and watch what happens next. “Ask and you shall receive”! Anytime, anywhere!
Amy Rose x