Melanie Smith - Energy Medicine for Stress Relief
We all experience life challenges. Whether it is a divorce, supporting aging parents, loss due to death, changing jobs, illness or relocating, it is inevitable that we will all experience significant changes as we move through life. Sometimes we struggle with our day-to-day life experiences such as supporting a family, managing finances or handling the constant barrage of information from various media sources.
The important questions are: What is our perspective of these difficult life events and circumstances? How well do we manage challenges that come our way? Are we able to stay healthy during life’s challenges and continue to work with our clients effectively?
What is your perspective of life’s events and stressors?
According to the American Institute of Stress, as many as 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians result from stress-related disorders.4, 5 In our modern world, the body’s stress response encompasses more than fourteen hundred known physical and chemical reactions and over thirty different hormones and neurotransmitters.6, 7 The two key physiological systems that coordinate the body’s response to stress are the autonomic nervous system, which reacts almost immediately, and the hormonal system, from which reactions occur and persist over a longer time. But many of the other organs also pour out hormones to accomplish the body’s vast response to stress.6
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When we experience stress, our bodies quickly react by releasing the hormone adrenaline into the bloodstream. Adrenaline elevates our heart rate and blood pressure, tenses up our muscles and speeds our breathing, preparing us to confront the threat or run for our lives.
People respond very differently to stress. Some view life’s difficult events and circumstances as opportunities to grow and expand. These individuals understand that all things in life are impermanent and will change. With this perspective, they do not hold on to fixed ideas about how things should be or how they were in the past. It does not mean that they do not experience emotions about the event, but it does mean that they do not get stuck in the emotion. Instead, they feel the emotion and release it as it arises. They reach out for support and treatment and remain open to healing. They try to stay present with the current circumstance and focus on what needs to be done in the present moment, rather than worrying and catastrophizing what might happen in the future.
Another common perspective is viewing these life challenges as a personal burden in one’s life. Individuals with this viewpoint see challenges as impositions rather than natural occurrences in life. They can be angry and frustrated that the stressor is happening to them and may have little insight into the larger picture. They can be very absorbed in the stressor and allow it to become all-consuming, which ultimately causes additional stress in other areas of their lives. They can be reluctant to let go of the stressor as it has become “their story,” which often masks other emotional issues that need to be addressed. While it is important to have support with stress, if it is chronically reviewed and repeated, it can create a negative feedback loop that makes it more difficult for the individual to see the situation clearly.
“If you believe that life is a series of stressful events to be endured, then that is what life will offer you.”
My experience has been that most people hold some combination of both perspectives described above.
It is important as energy practitioners to understand what our own perspective is for handling life’s challenges. Is it a healthy perspective that serves you well? Or do you feel drained by life’s challenges and have less resilience as you age to cope with stress? If you believe that life is a series of stressful events to be endured, then that is what life will offer you. If you believe that life is full of opportunities to grow and expand, that is what life will offer you. As practitioners, we sometimes consciously and unconsciously pass on our personal perspective while working on our client’s via energy, so we must energetically be clear about what that perspective is to keep healthy energetic boundaries. Once we are clear about our own perspective toward difficult life events, it is helpful to take an inventory of our current life stressors. Sometimes we are moving through life so fast we do not even realize the degree to which we are stressed. And, it is helpful to look at what you are doing to take care of your stress.
Personally, I have found it easier to handle life stressors when I am committed to a daily energy practice of self-care. As healers, we can easily spend too much time taking care of others and not enough time taking care of ourselves. But we have to remember that because everything is energy, our work is most effective when we are healthy and balanced.
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Below are some of my favorite Energy Medicine self-care practices:
Spending Time in Nature – take time to get outside and find your happy place. Find a place in nature that resonates with you. For me, I immediately feel better when I am at the beach enjoying the calm of the waves and feeling energetically recharged by the sun. How much time are you spending connecting with nature? And what type of nature experience do you most resonate with?
Grounding – expanding on #1, try walking barefoot in the grass and bury your feet in the dirt or sand as you invite Mother Nature to absorb your stressors. Grounding is about nourishing our Yin energy and connecting to a vortex that comes up from the earth through the bottom of our feet. It feels even more calming and relaxing when you can put your entire body flat on the grass or the sand. This is what I call “earthing” the old-fashioned way . . . no grounding sheets or copper rods required. I also enjoy leaning my back against a tree. The Urinary Bladder meridian governs your nervous system and runs up and over your brain and along your entire backside. It is beneficial to periodically clear this electromagnetic static charge naturally from our energy field to calm our nervous system.
Daily Energy Routine Practice – In 1998 Donna Eden released her first book Energy Medicine sharing with the world what she calls the Daily Energy Routine designed to keep your energies humming for optimal health and wellness.1 This includes a series of basic energy exercises that can easily be used for daily self-care.
The Daily Energy Routine can be the foundation of a committed self-care practice. Many of you may be familiar with some or all of these exercises. If not, the 4 Thumps is a great place to start by tapping K27 (the last point on the Kidney Meridian) below the collar bone, in the middle of the upper breastbone directly over the thymus gland, between the breasts at The Sea of Qi and below the breasts for Spleen Neurolymphatic Points.1, 2, 3
There are many resources for the Daily Energy Routine and other tips at the end of this article in both video and written format.1, 2, 3 If you have not already, I encourage you to make a commitment to doing the Daily Energy Routine. Begin with a few of the exercises and increase slowly to avoid overwhelm. Soon you will begin to feel comfortable modifying your routine by adding additional exercises based on your own unique health concerns.