Our headaches are just the tip of the iceberg!
- We complain of headaches and tension frequently.
- There are other stress-induced damages happening in the rest of our body.
- Stress inhibits the ability to learn and to make optimal decisions, a double whammy.
We feel the headache, the orofacial pain, and the stress. These are the tip of the iceberg and the tip of the iceberg is real. What we don’t feel are the changes caused by stress going on in other parts of our body. They are real also, but we are just not aware of them.
Stress affects our immune system, our heart, GI tract, skin and appearance, musculoskeletal system, libido, menstrual cycles, and energy levels amongst others. We are probably not aware of these negative effects on these critical parts of our body caused by stress as they are beneath our conscious threshold, partly because we are focused on dealing with our debilitating headaches and the stress which comprise the tip of the iceberg.
The Why: However, stress affects multiple body systems negatively. While these may not be discernable individually, their collective effect will cause us to feel poorly in the short term and may cause chronic conditions and diseases if left unchecked in the long term. By improving our basic habit system in four realms, we can diminish the negative effects
We all have Continual Stressors that are impractical to completely change in the short term. These may include a job that is not satisfying, a relationship (boss/other) that is toxic, a health issue, issues at home with spouse/children, money issues, and the like. These are not fully in our control. They need to be approached and addressed in a measured fashion after we change our mindset towards these.
The “Little Daily Stressors” are those “First World Problems” or irritating inconveniences that seem just to pop up when we are not expecting them. This may include the Keurig not working, a flat tire, a spill onto our shirt, our kid forgetting a school assignment until the last minute, yadda, yadda, yadda. They always seem to be there, appearing unexpectedly to add to the stack of other Little Daily Stressors.
We can address both of these by creating a more resilient self through better 1) sleep, 2) movement, 3) nutrition, and 4) attitude. Poor habits in these domains actually cause stress to our body and mind that create much of the iceberg under the surface. These poor habits create a foundation of stress on which the Little Daily Stressors and the Continual Stressors attach to and grow the underwater component so that the tip of the iceberg protrudes well above the surface àwe experience headaches and/or noticeable stress.
Adopting good habits in these four domains will create a robust resilience platform which essentially improves and lessens the baseline stress load of the body and shrinks the underwater iceberg preventing the Continual Stressors and Little Daily Stressors from providing enough mass or bulk so that the tip of the iceberg (perceived stress and headaches) recedes and disappears. The tip of the iceberg (the perceived effect of stress and the headaches) goes away.
Voila! Let’s get started on two of the Relaxation Toolkits. Sleep and attitude are good ones to begin, so let’s jump right in on those two. Sleep is the single most important activity we can do to feel better and diminish stress. Only a couple of nights of good sleep will diminish stress enough so that we can make other good decisions about controlling our stress going forward. You will absolutely feel better too. A positive attitude towards the process will bolster the effects of sleep and flip the switch enough so that we are able to be receptive to the other Toolkit items and strategies.
Here is the problem: Firstly, stress inhibits the ability to learn. We are in survival mode when stressed, not in a learning mode. Hence, we are not able to process information (skills to overcome stress) and store it so that we can readily access it, use it, and feel better. We don’t even want to access it. We are surviving.
The second reason is that stress causes poor decisions, procrastination, and prevents good decisions. Hence, even if we were able to learn the skills (doubt), they may not be implemented properly because of a flawed decision process caused by the stress.
So, we need to use MyRelaxer to relieve and lessen the stress and headaches while embracing the first two Toolkit items and reduce our stress levels. We will feel better AND be motivated to continue on the path of being better than our former self.
Joy’s Pearl: Namaste! The spirit within me salutes the spirit in you.