This article aims to give you a different perspective on how to reduce stress permanently, by offering a new a paradigm: stress resolution, which has been shown to be more effective than the stress management paradigm.
Most people think they understand the concepts of stress management, and when asked they generally rattle off ways to release tension or relax more.
However, there are deeper issues involved that I want to expose to you, so you can make a more informed decision about which strategy you might use to reduce your stress permanently.
This work on stress reduction and resolution is for you if:
- You are exhausted most of the time and
- You are not getting restful and restorative sleep
This work on stress reduction and resolution is for you if:
- You find that you are taking longer and longer to complete tasks, are staying back at work putting in longer, and longer hours
- You feel you are out of control in any aspect of your work-life balance
This work on stress reduction and resolution is for you if:
- You are nowhere near operating at peak performance level, and
- You find you are whinging and complaining more
And finally, this work on stress reduction and resolution is for you if:
- You are not your happy self and some of your favorite hobbies and social outings have gone by the wayside, or
- You are drinking or eating more or taking other substances just to get you through: more coffee, more sugar, increasing quantities of sweets and cakes, more alcohol, more tobacco, more recreational drugs and so on…
So, to understand clearly the difference between these paradigms, the question you might ask yourself is this: what traditional stress management techniques will help you overcome some of the issues above?
What is the difference between stress resolution and stress management? Does stress resolution outstrip stress management as a paradigm?
Let’s delve into this topic more fully and define these paradigms.
The Definition of Stress Management
Stress Management has been defined as: having the tools, strategies, or techniques that reduce stress. These tools and strategies also help reduce the negative impacts stress has on: your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
So, after defining that technique what generally happens next, is people then go on to describe what specific strategies most people resort to in order to be able to manage that stress. Stress Management proponents generally do not question how or why stress arises, or what impacts stress may have on your health and wellbeing, if not attended to.
When people talk about stress and how to deal with it, they generally talk about traditional stress management techniques/ways which include:
- Eating right
- Drinking more water
- Taking supplements
- Breathing correctly
- Being assertive
- Setting realistic goals and expectations
- Living by your values
- Being grateful
- Having forgiveness … and so on.
It is asserted that this approach gives people the skills needed to manage stress. This means that people have accepted that stress is part of their lives, and that there is nothing much they can do about it to eliminate it. So, the best they can hope for is to implement various coping strategies, which may alleviate some of the tension or help people feel more relaxed.
The Stress Management proponents do not, at any stage, discuss the impact stress has on your life or that there may be other deeper more challenging aspects to stress, that, if not dealt with, could lead to disease. And. In many instances that is understandable, because when a modality has been around for a very long time, people tend to accept it and not question the viability of the models.
The Definition of Stress Resolution
The concept: Stress Resolution is based on my initial model of wellness titled: From Stress to Success Model of Wellness. This model recognises that if you have taken 30, 40 or 50 years to arrive at this stage of life and are still suffering from the effects of stress, then you are living life wrongly. You need to begin to heal your body/mind, one step at a time, repairing it first. And. You can rid yourself of stress when you understand the mechanism underlying how stress works and why.
So, My Hypothesis for Stress Resolution is this:
Stress can be resolved permanently when you repair your physiology first, by changing how you respond to stress. When this happens other body systems will also heal. This automatic stress response mechanism sets off a whole chain reaction of automatic events in the body/mind.
The overall objective is in this first step of my model of wellness, is repairing your physiology. What that means is that you will be able to increase your baseline resilience to stress, when you correct and retrain the mechanics of how you respond to stress. You will then have more energy to be able to direct it to where it is needed. You then gain control over your emotional and mental life!
How does this work?
Further background evidence that backs up my hypothesis and my definition of stress resolution is The mBIT model of wellness – the 3 Brain Model: head, heart and gut. This means: multiple brain integration techniques. It has been researched and proven that there are three distinct brains – this means these areas all have the same elements that make up a brain. It has also been shown that the heart brain overrides the head brain and therefore has the primary function in any stress interaction.
The head brain has the thought, the heart feels the emotion and the hurt, and the gut helps you process, assimilate and digest what is happening. The heart attaches various emotions to thoughts, and together they signal parts of the body/mind to produce various chemical reactions that attach to these emotions during a stress response.
So, combining these concepts, it is asserted that: you can resolve permanently when you can:
– repair your physiology first, and
– then change how you respond to stress
– and this will change your emotional and chemical response, and
– help mend your heart
So, how do you do this?
How you do go about repairing your physiology so that the stress mechanism can be turned off and bring you back to balance and health?
As stated above, scientific evidence indicates that the Heart is now the major brain centre of our physiology. The heart emits up to 60 times more electrical and electromagnetic signals than does the head brain. Because it has been found that the heart is now the true brain centre, in order to heal, we must heal the heart as part of the process.
Extrapolating, if we can control our emotions and our emotional responses, we can control our stress response mechanism. Our head brain will then respond differently, and we then get an opportunity to change our patterns of behaviour. So, stress resolution is a process. A process of retraining your body/mind so you can heal on many levels. And. The key to being able to do all of this is through correct breathing.
What does the definition of Stress Resolution teel us about Stress as a Process?
Ok. So that is an introduction to the two different paradigms. I now want to take it back a little and define stress from two angles: my definition and my observations from that definition of exactly what stress is, and what it means.
If you are feeling: overwhelmed, lacking in focus, straddling somewhere in between depression or anxiousness, some aspect of your life will be hurting because you will be experiencing tension, whether it is muscular or mental or emotional turmoil.
People call these symptoms stress. Because this topic encompasses so many different symptoms, and so many different feelings and emotions that are all tied up with this term, this short-hand terminology seems to cover it all. Even when being cryptic, people seem to understand what the person is suffering, when they say: “I am stressed.” However, in no way could they truly understand the inner torment that creates these symptoms, or where they stem from.
From my observations and experience I then uncovered a definition of stress.
The Stress Resolution Definition/My Definition of Stress is:
You are stressed if:
- If you are struggling to achieve anything
- If you are straining against something
- You are coming from a position of lack
- If you are in a rut
- If you are in pain or have tension anywhere in your body/mind
– In effect, as soon as you go out of a positive emotion and into a negative emotion or feeling, then you are going into a stress state.
This definition shows that this thing called stress, is the result of some action, some thought or some event. It is a process.
If you are struggling to achieve… means you are beating your head against some unknown forces, or your own expectations. It means you are lacking in skills or resources and therefore have come up against some resistance to your desired outcome.
If you are straining you are all pushing hard against some obstacle. This also means that you are lacking in some element, whether it is a lack of help, the right people or the right skills necessary to halt that strain.
If you are coming from a position of lack… means that you are behind the eight ball and are feeling inadequate in some way. Lack implies inadequacy. It could make you feel incompetent. It could make you feel not good enough. In all cases these situations arise when you compare yourself to others.
If you are stuck in a rut… means you keep repeating the same thing over and over yet, in most cases, you are expecting a different result. It’s like Groundhog Day. Nothing ever changes, no matter what you do. And. In fact you do not seem to know what else to do. It implies you do not have the necessary skills to be able to change your outcomes.
And. If you have tension or pain anywhere in your body/mind you also have a barrier to achieve an end result. The tension blocks off intuition and creativity and this can construct a wall to you achieving what you desire. This tension or pain also means that normal blood flow is cut off and if that is the case, then nourishing oxygen is not getting to the brain to allow full access to your capabilities.
So, the totality of this definition of stress revolves around you going out of positivity and into negativity, out of consciousness and into unconsciousness, out of your power and into disempowerment, out of awareness and into lack of awareness. It means you have slipped into negative thinking or feelings. You then slip into feeling inadequate or not good enough. (See this article for an expansion on this aspect of your chakras, the solar plexus, which relates to feelings of adequacy and competency- How to Heal the Body With Energy Healing.)
So, when you look at the traditional model of stress management people generally do not look deeper into possible emotional issues or mental issues that are actually driving those stressful feelings, or stressful states.
Stress as a Process
Stress is not an emotion. It is not a negative thought. It is not a specific behaviour. Stress is a process that involves all of these different aspects: mind, body, emotions, behaviours and habits, attitudes and beliefs… in effect, the way we do life. My model of wellness indicates that stress does not somehow creep up on us and becomes part of our lives. Stress stays there and builds up, until we do something about it. It revolves around deeply held negative emotions that have remained unexpressed, and which have been lodged somewhere in the body/mind. It is cumulative and builds up over time when we do not get to express our feelings when a stressful event occurs.
The general symptoms evident immediately after a stressful event occurs could include:
- Sweaty palms
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of being scared or fearful
- An increase in chemical reactions throughout the body – the flood of cortisol and the activation of the adrenal glands
- Feelings of anxiousness or dread … and so on…
When people ask where does stress come from, the triggers are so many and varied that this is impossible to answer. However, as a general concept, these arise in your early childhood years when we develop our beliefs and attitudes from our primary care givers. These beliefs help shape our perceptions and thus influence how we feel and experience evets. (For more detailed discussion on how stress evolves – please see this article: Let Go of What is Holding You Back). Thus, stress is a process.
Let’s Examine the Stress Process:
- The precursor to a stressor trigger is: a thought, a feeling, an event or someone saying something to you that activates an automatic stress reaction
- This trigger instigates feelings of threat, either imagined or real. Stress is about feeling your body/mind is under threat of some kind. When this happens the body/mind goes into an automatic subconscious process where various aspects are activated – which we will now discuss. The stress response is one of the body’s primary inbuilt automatic responses that was designed to keep you safe. If you feel threatened in any way, your subconscious, the limbic system is alerted, and then various electrical and chemical reactions take place.
- At the same time your body/mind is trying to assess whether the threat is good or bad. Should I be concerned? Should I not?
- If the perceived threat is assessed as not worth worrying about, then the body/mind dismisses this feeling and the body settles back down to pre-event levels.
- If the threat is perceived as bad, what happens is that the brain, as the processing unit, initially sends a message to the heart and the heart attaches an initial emotion to that event. Then the brain sifts and sorts and goes through the filing cabinet of all events and experiences that the person has had in their life time, and tries to find an event with a similar emotion attached, so it knows what to do.
- What happens next is this, if the brain decides that the event is similar to a previous event, it knows exactly what emotion and behaviour you have attached to that previous event, and therefore the brain will respond automatically with that same or similar response to this new event.
So, what that means is this: similar events or stressful situations are stored as pictures in the body/mind. These pictures have emotions attached. If the picture has a negative emotion attached, this will have heat in the memory. (We will discuss the relationship of stress and disease a little later.)
In that basket of files if the brain recognises something similar, it then says: ‘OK, I know how to respond to this because I have responded this way before.’ This then sets up the body/mind to react to that perceived stressful event and exhibit similar patterns of behaviour, and similar symptoms. So, like it stored as like, and generally in the same places.
- From there the person will display certain behaviours, feelings and thoughts that are similar to, a previously stored memory. The behaviours all depend on your beliefs, attitudes and habits, and how you responded previously.
Essentially why you are storing memories or pictures of past negative stressful events is this: at the time of experiencing the stressful event, if you were not able to express how you felt at the time, then this unexpressed emotion is what is stored. And. This is what drives your feelings of stress.
So, essentially, stress, and the stress response, is about not having expressed how you felt at the time. If you had expressed how you felt at the time the emotion/s would have been dissipated. Because they are not dissipated, then they get stored in your body/mind, generally in a place where you have a propensity to weakness. (We will discuss this later.)
So, you can now see how, what a person calls stress, is the result of your automatic stress response mechanism. It is a process. Remember, the key to commence the stress reaction, is you feeling under threat. The threat can be either imaginary or real.
In general, most people are not aware of the underlying steps involved in the process of getting to a stressed state. So, hopefully this short explanation gives the reader a better idea of what happens in the body/mind, prior to their statement: ‘I am stressed.’
So, the question that now needs to be asked is this:
Can traditional Stress Management Techniques help in Reducing the Effects of the Stress Process?
The stress management paradigm states that you need to instigate some of these stress reduction modalities so that you can reduce stress and tension, so you will be able to cope more easily. In effect they are saying: I cannot get rid of my stress, my stressful states or how I respond to stressor triggers, so I accept that stress will always be there. What I will do to reduce the stress or tension is I will instigate some of the traditional self-care strategies mentioned above.
Remember, the techniques above that people use when dealing with stress in the traditional way. Can you say that these methods get to the deeply held underlying emotional issues that are the real cause and drive of your stress?
Look. I am not saying do not do any of those things. By all means everyone enjoys a massage or a hot bath or some kind of self-care strategies. All I am saying is this: in my personal experience and observation, these are superficial methods to relax and relieve some tension only. You will feel better for a short period of time, however, the tension, pain or the effects of stress will return until you deal with the underlying emotional issues which are the real cause of your on-going stress.
So, there is only one answer. You need, somehow, to be able to access these emotional issues that drive your stress. How do you do that?
If you come for a stress resolution paradigm your first thought will be this: I feel threatened in this situation. What I need to do is to be able to assess which value or belief that is running that response so I can dissipate that emotion. In effect you are finding the underlying negative belief and statement you have made about that previous threatening situation, and you are going to bring that negative emotion to consciousness, so it can be dissolved.
The next question you may ask might be: how do you do that?
(We will discuss that a little later on.)
Let’s now look at why both modalities or approaches to stress reduction are necessary.
Why is Stress Management essential?
You will have:
- Fewer headaches. stress headaches or tension headaches which cause
dull, aching pain, or a feeling of pressure in your forehead. …
- Less joint pain. …
- Better sleep. …
- Less indigestion.
- It helps reduce heart disease, digestive issues and blood pressure
- Plays a part in reducing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
- It can help the body adapt and gain more resilience to negative events
- It can help you become more productive, healthier and happier
- It can help change your mood
- It may help in relationship with others
- It may help with performance at work
Why is Stress Resolution essential?
Stress resolution is essential for:
- Accessing your inner strength, your potential.
- Increased energy and vitality
- Increasing your ability to think more clearly
- Increased ability to focus and concentrate
- Improvements in peak performance and decision making
- Reducing anxiety and depression
- Improved communication
- Increased productivity
- Increased intuition and creativity
In Summary: you may notice that the end result of stress management is that generally physical symptoms are reduced. Whereas then end result of stress resolution is a combination of: physical, mental and emotional improvement.
**Before we close off let’s discuss those elements not discussed form above, which relate to: the impacts of stress on disease, and how emotions become stored in areas of weakness in your body.
The Impacts of Stress on Disease
Dr Bruce Lipton, a biologist, in his seminal work: The Biology of Belief, ha stated that up to 95% of all dis-ease and disease is stress based, or stress based.
What this means is this, these responses you have to stress are emotionally based, and ae the result of the emotions attached to negative beliefs, which when unexpressed, get stored as pictures or memories in various organs, tissues and muscles within the body. These emotions are generally negative. Memories have degrees of acuity. They have heat. The heat helps create inflammation which wears down the surrounding tissues.
Inflammation also implies that there is tension which blocks off blood flow to those areas. Disease lives in places where there is no oxygen. Essentially, if you are not getting enough oxygen through correct breathing, you are setting yourself up for inflammation to develop.
The other issue with these memories is this, when we want to project ourself to the outer world, we put on our best facade. We tend to hold down aspects of our personality that we do not want people to know about us. This holding down of memories, emotions and negative beliefs, takes enormous effort. Eventually, truth will out and these issues come to the surface. So, part of the problem is that we purposefully hold down and do not express the worst parts of ourselves, thus inviting issues later in life. Tis holding down also depletes our energy and that can be the reason that so many people are exhausted so often.
Why are Reactions to Stress Stored in Areas of Weakness?
Various researchers have looked at this topic, and one of the early pioneers was Louis Hay. In here book titled: You Can Heal Your Life, Louise looked at this very topic and researched the functions of the various organs e.g. the liver, the stomach, the skin and so on.
Louise Hay found that if someone had a liver problem, looking at the function of the liver – what it is supposed to do in the body– the liver is supposed to break down all of the blood which flows through it. The liver then breaks this blood down into nutrients and sends it out to be used in a more effective way.
Louise Hay found that the liver is the seat of anger and primitive emotions. If you are constantly complaining or you tend to justify fault-finding, you are deceiving yourself. This means that underlying all of this, the person experiencing liver or anger issues around love and peace. They either have not experienced much love or peace in their lives, or they do not have that value within their conscious psyche.
So, in essence, how you find specific emotions and negative beliefs within specific organs, tissues and muscles, is through observing the symptoms first, and then working back to understand the function of that organ, and then uncovering the value that has been lacking in that person throughout their life.
In my book titled: Boost Success in All Areas of Your Life – there are tables that set out various diseases and symptoms that lead back to what main negative belief is driving that disease, or what specific underlying negative emotion the person is feeling, or, a value they have lacked throughout their life.
Necessarily, this means that if you want to alleviate or eliminate that dis-ease or disease, you need to be able to release that negative belief that is underlying cause of your disease, and diffuse the negative emotion, and take the heat out of the memory.
Having looked at the difference between the Stress Management paradigm and the Stress Resolution paradigm, you can see how one is more surface level than the other. In some instances, you may be able to uncover and dislodge a negative emotion or belief utilising self-care strategies. However, I think it may be self evident that Stress Resolution does get to the heart of stress, and explains, why and how it arises, and how you can resolve stress permanently, by being able to express those hidden negative emotions and release the negative emotion driving that belief, and, which has been trapped within the body/mind.
My recommendations to release these blockages include: seeking professional help such as a kinesiologist. Or use one of the self-care techniques such as E.F.T. Or, seek the services of an energy healer. Whichever you choose, at the basis of all stress reduction and resolution is correct breathing. If you do not get sufficient oxygen throughout your body, you open yourself up to increased inflammation and disease.
So, knowing all of this now, what will you do to improve, alleviate or eradicate stress in your life?
We wish you well on your self-improvement journey.