The basis of stress / anxiety Part 1

Success  in any area of life demands that the tools and vehicle that has to be used must be in good shape. Tired, worn out parts will not be conducive to the maintenance of on going success and the kind of lifestyle you would like to live.

You need to understand how your body can cause limitations and ill health so that you can get it into top working order. For thousands of years man has been dedicated to investigating how the body functions. What makes it survive in a seemingly aggressive environment? How do the organs work and what stops them working? How does each cell maintain itself and why do they die? At the same time the investigation of the mind and thought has been on- going.

But the two groups of investigators have, for the most part, kept their investigations separate, believing that the mind had little or no role in the health of the body except in extreme circumstances. The medical model has at last begun to recognise that whatever affects the body affects the mind, and more importantly, whatever is created in the mind will eventually show itself outwardly in the physical body.

Masses of evidence and research over the past twenty years are finally being recognised as important in the understanding of how the mind- body interaction takes place. The mechanism and result of emotional and physical stress is beginning to be understood in a highly refined way. We know that the original event that sustains the abnormal levels of stress often occurs before the age of 5 years. Such “original sensitising events” are often suppressed from conscious memory.

As a result, we may find that we are experiencing anxieties and emotions that appear to have no bearing on our current experience. Memories are bound together by their emotional content, creating large groups of memories, all with the same kind of information or emotional experience. When sufficient memories of a similar nature are bound together in a belief, value or attitude toward a specific life circumstance, a similar event of a significant nature may well trigger serious emotional and physiological outcomes. We become aware of these outcomes as symptoms of stress, anxiety and emotional dis-ease. The dis-ease may then be converted to disease in the physical body.

Just being in a certain environment that has negative connections to past memory is often sufficient to create quite serious reactions at a conscious level. This is often the case with the work environment when you do not enjoy your work or when someone at work is giving you a “hard time”. Over a period of time just the sight of the building in which you work becomes a trigger for the symptoms of anxiety, the tightening of stomach muscles, sweaty palms, rapid breathing.

Some interesting work in the United States on the incidence of heart attack came to some startling conclusions which demonstrate the effectiveness of these ‘mental connections”. More heart attacks occur in our society on one particular day of the week. What day do you think that might be? If you said Monday you’re right! And at what time do you think more heart attacks occurred on that day? That’s right, 9.00am. The emotional thought/feeling reaction of showing up at work when the existing experience of the work place was negative was enough to create the physical changes necessary to create a heart attack!

Now you might think that by doing this the mind is trying to do you harm, but if fact it thinks it is helping you and protecting you. It is doing what you actually want it to do – stop you from having to work and suffer from the anxieties and dramas of that particular part of your life. It may not be what you want at a conscious level but your beliefs at a deeper unconscious level allow for this kind of activity even if it does seem to be destructive.

It is in fact conforming to the prime directive of the unconscious part of the mind, protection of the ego. Emile Coue’, in his classic “Self Mastery through Autosuggestion” explains this phenomenon well. “When the will (consciousness) comes into conflict with imagination (unconscious) then the imagination will always win”.

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