Original Air Date: December 24, 2019
Blog Talk Radio Link: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/livingadream/2019/12/25/stress-reduction
Complete text of episode 28 of the Living a Dream podcast series:
Episode 28 Stress Reduction
Welcome to the twenty-eighth episode of the Living a Dream: A Transformational Journey podcast. My name is Jo Calk. I am a Life Awareness Coach, Reiki Master, author, and speaker. Today’s episode is “Stress Reduction.”
First, I want to share my Life Purpose Statement:
“The purpose of my life is to be present, joyful, and compassionate, and to share my joy, make a difference, and be a role model to others that, by changing some of our internal beliefs and judgments, we can make a difference in the world.”
My Ultimate Goal is the global enlightenment and peace on our Earth, our physical reality, through our awakening, awareness, and action in transforming our beliefs about each other and the Earth.
I am not alone in having this Goal of “Peace on Earth,” but my approach is a bit different: I am enlightening the Earth from within.
During this podcast series, please be open to the possibility that your life can change and improve in ways unimaginable now.
In this podcast, I will:
- introduce the effects of constant stress on the body-suit
- explain the benefits of stress reduction on the body-suit
- describe some methods to reduce stress
- provide tools and activities to incorporate this information into your life
In the previous two podcast episodes, we learned there are three brains in the human body-suit: the cranial-brain, the heart-brain, and the gut-brain. We are continuing our exploration of the body-suit in this episode by focusing on the effects of constant stress and how the three-brains and some ancient practices can be used to reduce the stress and allow the body-suit’s normal healing to take place.
It’s the day before Christmas, near the end of a busy, hectic month, and also near the end of a year that has passed by way-too-quickly. It’s like I held the reins of a galloping team of horses that were in a hurry to get home. They would not stop or slow down, no matter my relentless tugging on the reins or shouting till I became hoarse (yes, pun intended). As the days of the year flew by, like pages blowing from a book, I tried to maintain some semblance of order, of calm, of peace in my life.
Although I still may have many of the same items on my “To Do” list from the start of the year, I made a sincere attempt each day to reduce the stress I was placing on myself, my body-suit. I accomplished what needed to be done, and lowered the priority on many “To Do” items that really can wait – or maybe don’t need to be done at all. I actually feel the difference between my body-suit last year at this time and my body-suit today. Last year, I didn’t feel I had the energy left to finish out the last week of the year. So much left to do, and my reserves were gone.
This year, I am relaxed, happy, and comfortable where I am. I have plenty of energy to enjoy the holidays and to start 2020 – which is going to be an amazing year – filled with joy and peace within.
I thought today may be a good time to bring up an important topic related to our body-suits: the impact of constant stress on our body-suits and our Selves, and what we can do to alleviate the stress.
As an escape mechanism to fight or flee from an identified predator or dangerous situation, the amygdala in our cranial-brain immediately triggers the creation of adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones that ensure that all available energy is diverted from internal maintenance to the legs and arms to run or fight.
After the danger has passed, the amygdala calls off the alarm and the adrenaline and cortisol production is reduced or stopped.
The “flight-fight-or-freeze” stress response is intended for short bursts of adrenaline and cortisol to direct all the body-suit’s energy to the extremities to run or fight or hide from an external predator. The stress response was never intended to be a constant state of being.
However, in many humans, it appears that the amygdala senses danger everywhere, at all times, and constantly presses the alarm, demanding a consistent flow of adrenaline and cortisol – occasionally to the point of wearing out the adrenal glands. The body is constantly on guard, fearing attacks from any and all directions; often even preventing rest or sleep.
Science has shown that the constant production of adrenaline and cortisol has a detrimental effect on the integrity of the body-suit:
- The digestive process is stopped because, when you are running from lions, tigers, and bears, oh my, processing your last meal is not a priority
- The immune system is shut down because it is more important to evade an external large predator and live, than to deal with an internal small predator while becoming the external predator’s next meal
- The body-suit’s natural ability to heal and repair itself is halted because there will be no body-suit to heal and repair if you are the external predator’s next meal
Do you live in constant, or near-constant, stress? Take a moment to do a status check of your body-suit. As you sit, are you clenching your abdominal muscles? Are you clenching your cheeks (the lower ones)? Is your breathing shallow, only through the top part of your chest? Are you fidgeting, can’t sit still, or just want to be somewhere else? Do you feel light, or heavy? Is your mind relaxed, or is your brain scattered into many thoughts, worries, or memories?
You can consciously identify when your body-suit is in stress mode with no apparent danger, and calm your body-suit to stop the production of adrenaline and cortisol.
A newly-identified hormone produced by the heart-brain, called the “balance hormone,” helps regulate the blood vessels, kidneys, adrenal glands, and many regulatory centers in the cranial-brain, and it inhibits the release of the two major stress hormones, which allows the immune system to restart. This provides hope that the heart-brain can be used to reduce the constant “flight-or-fight” response of the fearful cranial-brain.
As we learned, when the cranial-brain encounters a frightening situation, it releases stress hormones that prepare the body-suit to fight or flee. The gut-brain contains sensory nerves that are stimulated by this chemical surge. When faced with fear or danger, the cranial-brain tells the gut-brain to shut down, which shuts down the entire digestive system. Fear also causes the vagus nerve to “turn up the volume” on serotonin circuits in the gut-brain. Thus overstimulated, the gut-brain goes into higher gear and diarrhea results.
Stress was never meant to be a way of life, yet most people live their lives in constant stress – some of it caused by pressures of daily life, but much of it caused by worry, fear, and anticipation of the worst-case scenario for the future.
You Alone Can Help Your Body-Suit Heal: Healing and curing are not the same thing. A “cure” occurs when one has successfully controlled or abated the physical progression of an illness. Curing a physical illness, however, does not necessarily mean that the emotional and psychological stresses that were a part of the illness were also alleviated. In this case it is highly possible, and often probable, that the illness will recur. The process of curing is passive; that is, the patient is inclined to give his or her authority over to the physician and prescribed treatment instead of actively challenging the illness and reclaiming health.
Healing, on the other hand, is an active and internal process that includes investigating one’s attitudes, memories, and beliefs, with the desire to release all negative patterns that cause stress and prevent our full physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery.
Resilience, Stress and Emotions
As far back as the middle of the last century, it was recognized that the heart, overtaxed by constant emotional influences or excessive physical effort and thus deprived of its appropriate rest, suffers disorders of function and becomes vulnerable to disease.
Unspecified negative emotional arousal, often described as stress, distress, or upset, has been associated with a variety of pathological conditions, including hypertension, silent myocardial ischemia, sudden cardiac death, coronary disease, cardiac arrhythmia, sleep disorders, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, fatigue, and many other disorders. Stress and negative emotions have been shown to increase disease severity and worsen prognosis for individuals suffering from a number of different conditions.
On the other hand, positive emotions and effective emotion self-regulation skills have been shown to prolong health and significantly reduce premature death. From a psychophysiological perspective, emotions are central to the experience of stress. It is the feelings of anxiety, irritation, frustration, lack of control, and hopelessness that are actually what we experience when we describe ourselves as stressed. Whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a major life change, situations are experienced as stressful to the extent that they trigger emotions such as annoyance, irritation, anxiety, and overwhelm.
In essence, stress is emotional unease. Stressful emotions can arise in response to external challenges or events, and also from ongoing internal dialogs and attitudes. Recurring feelings of worry, anxiety, anger, judgment, resentment, impatience, overwhelm, and self-doubt often consume a large part of our energy.
Did you know that 60% to 80% of primary care doctor visits are related to stress, yet only 3% of patients receive stress management help?
Three 10-year studies concluded that emotional stress was more predictive of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease than from smoking; people who were unable to effectively manage their stress had a 40% higher death rate than non-stressed individuals.
Some Methods to Reduce Stress
One method to release or eliminate the negative effect of constant stress in the body-suit, is to acknowledge – remember – that we ARE Source in a body-suit, here on Playgroound Earth to experience contrasts, choose the best options for our Selves, and be of service to others. There’s nothing to fear here. There is no real enemy to fight. There are no real monsters to flee from. They are all of our own creation and they can all be neutralized with thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that are congruent, aligned with the Reality of our existence, of Self in a body-suit creating our reality. It sounds easy, but it is definitely not easy to challenge beliefs, ingrained in us soon after birth, that this is a violent world, others are our enemy, we need to protect ourselves at all cost, and, most significantly, that everything we experience through our physical senses is real. We forget we ARE Source, and think of ourselves as only our body-suit separate and at the mercy of external forces beyond our control. We see our lives as a prison sentence, a tough school to learn how to be a better person, or just plain Hell on Earth. We lose our sense of being an Eternal Being of Light, of Source, and become heavier and heavier, with the weight of the physical reality pulling us down, trapping us, crushing us under the weight of the world imposed on our body-suit, which has become our body, ourselves, the totality of who we are. It may seem as if our Self or Spirit or Soul has been obliterated by the weight, by the out-of-phase vibration, of our thoughts and beliefs. However, our Source and our Soul are totally unaffected by the material expression of this physical reality. We are actually safe, but become so involved in the virtual reality game we have created that we forget that we are safe. We are eternal, we are pure energy having a physical experience. Just as it is sometimes difficult to wake up from a graphic, realistic, 3D-appearing nighttime dream, to recognize the dream as a dream and not reality, it is difficult to remember we are light, we are energy, we ARE Source. In fact, the sheer weight of a physical reality we have become entangled within makes the awakening even more difficult, because we actually believe we are already awake. We have become integrated with our creation, our game.
“The greatest weapon against stress is relaxed breathing.” ― Amit Ray, Beautify your Breath – Beautify your Life
Another method for stress reduction is through deep breathing. If you play a wind instrument, sing, or have taken a yoga class, you have probably been introduced to the concept of deep breathing or “breathing through your belly/stomach.” Although air doesn’t actually enter your stomach or belly, your breath causes your diaphragm to expand with each inhale and contract with each exhale.
To feel this, place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your belly, just below the rib cage. Now, consciously, slowly, breathe deeply so the hand over your belly raises while the hand over your upper chest does not. Slowly inhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for 2 seconds at full inhale, then slowly exhale for a count of 5; wait for 2 seconds, and then repeat. Three deep breaths like that should be enough to settle your mind and body enough that much, if not most, of the stress will be relieved.
We often don’t realize, or remember, that there are two ways of breathing: (1) through the upper chest, commonly called “shallow breathing” and (2) through the diaphragm or “belly”, called “deep breathing.”
Apparently, humans are not the only ones with two styles of breathing; all mammals (of which humans are considered a member) breathe deeply when they are relaxed and there is no danger around. The shallow breathing is used when the “flight-or-fight” response kicks in.
Consider the cheetah, for example. I believe the cheetah holds its breath while pursuing its next meal, thus allowing it to become the fastest land animal on Earth – for a short period of time. Once it has captured and killed its prey, it must take a long series of rapid, panting breaths to recover from its run. Only after it has regained normal breathing, can the cheetah finally eat its hard-won meal – providing a lion or hyena hasn’t taken the meal from it first.
Although mammals can balance the two types of breathing, resulting in more restorative relaxation, humans (pretty much alone in this category) are often in a constant state of “flight-or-fight,” anticipating danger everywhere (especially in the future) and the need to be on guard every minute of every day, thus relying solely on shallow breathing during the day – often intruding on the sleep as well, when sleep is disturbed by accumulating fears.
In addition to reducing stress, deep breathing is recommended for people with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and to reduce high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety.
Another stress-reduction method involves coordinating the functioning of the cranial-brain, the heart-brain, and the gut-brain through “mindfulness,” which involves focusing our thoughts only on the present moment – being fully present in this moment, not thinking about the past or the future. “Mindfulness” activities focus on our breathing, our thoughts, our feelings, and our body-suit’s “talk.” All three brains are included when focusing on the present and becoming fully aware of, and absorbed in, the details and nuances of life that are often missed when the brains are focused on tasks, processes, the past, and/or the future. Take a few minutes to actually see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and touch the present moment, unfragmented by worries and regrets of the past or fears and stresses of the future. Just be aware of “now,” which is a gift to be savored before returning to the tasks and “doingness” of daily life.
Meditation is another form of conscious stress reduction. The frantic, fearful cranial-brain is calmed by noticing that we are safe now. The calm cranial-brain stops the “red alert,” and the body-suit calms down and returns to normal functioning. All systems of the body-suit are connected, calm, and perform harmoniously. Balance is restored and health is improved by the release of immune cells in the body-suit.
Yoga and meditation breathing exercises can stimulate the vagus nerve and this could have a very beneficial effect on all three brains. Similarly, the chanting of mantras or deep throat singing as practiced by Buddhist Lamas also stimulates the vagus nerve. It has been shown that this stimulation helps in reducing blood pressure and improves the rhythmic patterns of the heart. The neural information from both these activities facilitates the cortical function and the effect is heightened mental clarity, improved decision making, and increased creativity.
Massage and Reiki (or another energy relaxation modality) are additional methods of relaxation that may reduce the body’s stress sufficiently for the production of adrenaline and cortisol to be significantly reduced, allowing the digestive and immune systems to become active and helping the body provide its own healing.
Let’s look at this week’s tools, activities, and summary:
- Be open to the possibility that your life can change and improve in ways unimaginable now.
- You always have options. When no option is readily apparent, sit quietly, breathe deeply, and think of other ways of dealing with the situation.
- The three brains are: cranial-brain, heart-brain, and gut-brain. You can consciously encourage all three brains to work together to reduce stress and balance the body-suit
- Practice deep breathing to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, calm the body, allow greater focus, clear the lungs, and help people with COPD breathe more easily.
- We Are All ONE as Source – we are all Pure Energy wearing a body-suit for our adventure in physicality on Playground Earth.
- Replace fear with love, knowing that we are all safe AS Source. Act and react with love, not fear.
- By changing within, we become the change in the world.
- We are all part of The Global Shift in Consciousness that is occurring now.
- Notice when your three brains are out of synch: for example, your gut-brain decides to take one course of action, but the heart-brain is swayed by a different action, and the cranial-brain is fearful of both approaches. The cranial-brain releases more adrenaline and cortisol, which speeds up the heartrate and shuts down the digestive system – effectively cutting off the two other brains.
- Practice one or more of the methods for stress reduction that resonate with you: Remember that we ARE Source in a body-suit experiencing physicality on Playground Earth; Practice deep breathing; Coordinate the three brains through Mindfulness; Practice Meditation; Practice Yoga; Get a Massage; and/or Get a Reiki or other energy relaxation session.
- Envision the Earth as a giant Playground in which we all play as Pure Energy Beings having a physical experience. Imagine working together with others for the well-being of all – including the Earth.
- Imagine no longer living in fear. Imagine seeing everyone AS US. Imagine being calm, knowing we are Source Energy in a body-suit of our own creation, in a Playground Earth of our own creation, within the multiple Universes of Source’s creation.
- Think about what changes a love-based world provides. What do you love doing, that brings you joy and is of service to others? How does the world appear now that everything and everyone is viewed from love, instead of fear?
- Notice the myriad of options you face each day. Become aware of when you “choose by default” by allowing someone else to choose for you, notice when you believe you only have two choices, and notice when you create a third choice.
- We are awakening from the dream that we are victims of this world. We created this world from love and joy; we are returning this world to love and joy now that we remember we are all ONE as Source.
- Many of us live our lives in constant stress.
- Constant stress shuts down the digestive process, inhibits the immune function, and stops the body-suit’s normal healing and maintenance.
- Encourage the three brains to work together for the benefit of your body-suit and your Self.
- Some of the methods for stress reduction include: Remembering that we ARE Source in a body-suit experiencing physicality on Playground Earth; Practicing deep breathing; Coordinating the three brains through Mindfulness; Practicing Meditation; Practicing Yoga; Getting a Massage; and/or Getting a Reiki or other energy relaxation session.
- To change the world, we change our beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, actions, and reactions from within ourselves, as Pure Source Energy surrounding a body-suit.
- We replace fear with love in every situation.
- The Global Shift to Peace on Earth is occurring; we have chosen to take part in the Transformation.
You are welcome to visit my website at www.Jo-Calk.com. Under the “Podcaster” menu item click on the “Living a Dream: A Transformational Journey” link. I have added a bibliography of books that have inspired me and that resonate with my beliefs; I have also added new pages containing the text of the previous podcasts and will add the text of this podcast for you to review as you wish. In addition, Blog Talk Radio has recorded, saved, and makes available all the episodes of this Living a Dream: A Transformational Journey podcast series, so you can replay an episode whenever you choose. Please visit, https://www.blogtalkradio.com/livingadream/ to see the list of episodes and listen to those that have been recorded or listen to a new podcast as it is being broadcast.
If you have a question or comment, please contact me at: Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
The next podcast is “A New Age Begins.” You will be introduced to the concurrent new 2000-year cycle and 5000-year cycle dawning next year, 2020.
I hope you will join me here next Tuesday, at 4:00 p.m. (Pacific US Time) / 7:00 p.m. (Eastern US Time).
This is Jo Calk signing off:
Blessings to all of us Dreamers on our Transformational Journey.
ALL TEXT COPYRIGHT (c) 2019 by Jo Calk