Emotions and that Term called Stress

by Armand Crolli

stressEveryone is talking about stress.  People often use various phrases like: 

  • I am stressed out.
  • I have too much stress.
  • I am stressed all the time.

What do these statements really mean?  Stress is a general term that is used to describe many states of being that have not been fully examined.  It is similar to saying “I am tired.”  That can have many interpretations, depending on the situation.  

Stress is basically unmanaged emotions or emotional reactions such as: anxiety, fear, frustration, anger, lack of control, etc. that have not been allowed to be fully expressed or acknowledged.  

This is important to realize because emotions are the primary drivers for many of the physiological processes in our bodies, such as the reactions of the nervous system or our hormonal responses.  For example, many people have a blood pressure increase in response to seeing a doctor.  They have a feeling of dread that something bad will be found and this creates the stress response.  

What many people don’t realize is that sustained responses from stress hormones connect to binge eating, insulin resistance, coronary artery disease and to the many so called modern day maladies.  The mind and body are connected.  Many of us participate in an endless game of looking for this nutrient, that spiritual practice technique, this treatment, or that magic herb to keep us in balance.  The search itself is not wrong; however,  if it is functioning as a substitution for work on the belief/mental/emotional realm, the search is of no use.

If someone can learn to self-regulate their emotional response patterns, their state of being translates into a more coherent, focused state of being rather than a chaotic state of being.  This is what people refer to as being centered, balanced, having a sense of well-being, etc.  People having the tools to manage these reactions can directly effect the outcomes of many health challenges that the general population succumbs to.  How many times have you experienced or witnessed someone that has gone through a large amount of stress and then shortly after the stress subsides they come down with a cold?

Being able to see the emotional and stress correlation leads to greater health and vitality.  How will you choose to navigate this road?

 

Beliefs, Rationalizations, and the Effectiveness of Treatment

by Armand Crolli

Did you ever have a therapy or modality have to be constantly repeated because the results didn’t hold for long periods of time?  Did you ever wonder why that was, when it was clearly working for others?beliefPart of the reason for this is derived from belief.  A belief, as we define it here, is anything that defines the ego or is part of the primal programming we all share.  Our beliefs are made from an amalgamation of our culture, social status, religious, epigenetics, family values, and primal concerns.    

This is a pretty vague idea.  It is easiest to find it in our everyday speech:

  • “It’s the right thing to do.”
  • “I can’t – “
  • “I am suppose to do -“
  • “I’m afraid to -“
  • “I fear that it won’t work.”
  • “Those kinds of people always do that.”
  • “Why can’t he/she see that about themselves?”

These are all examples of belief patterns that we can hold.  When you have doubt about whether a modality will work or not, that is a limiting belief.  But what actually happens in treatment?  Let’s use an infomercial as an example.

After hearing the sales pitch, you believe in the item; you then convince yourself through some rationalization that you need the product and that the price they are asking is worth your belief in the item.  You then purchase the product, which is followed by an emotional sense of pleasure via a dopamine reward reaction.  

So what has actually happened?

The sales pitch harkened to our beliefs.  Our mental mind then kicked in to rationalize and justify why we should pay attention to this pitch; it found the stated case to line up and support our belief system.  The mental mind is very interested in the status quo and avoiding unresolved conflicts with our beliefs.  An emotional pattern was then the down-stream occurrence from the intellectualizations and rationalizations.  It is guaranteed that an emotional response will occur in proportion to the strength of the belief system.  And this emotional response evokes a physical response, the release of dopamine, in the body.

What is interesting is that we don’t even need to know what these core beliefs are; the ego will actually deflect attempts in uncovering these, even to the point of pain. One doesn’t need to tear down all the elements that make us who we are; but we need to expand our strict definitions if we want to accept new ideas.  

What are the implications for treatment?  If you are trying a new modality, such as acupuncture or bioenergetic testing, you need to be able to accept the new ideas being presented and the new ways of looking at your body.  If you are not able to believe in the core premise that the body operates as a whole, the treatments will not work for you.  If you are not able to buy into the belief that the energetics of the body matter, these modalities will fail to make for you the life altering changes that someone who does believe will experience.  

This kind of emotional blocking does not just happen with a treatment modality; it can happen in any area of our life.  What areas of your life are being held back by limiting beliefs?  Can you liberate them to create the life you want?

Four Letter Word

Fear. It has dominated most parts of my life. There have been many things I have done that I did not want to but was afraid to say no; there have been many things I have not done because I was afraid of doing them. In both directions, my life has been ruled by fear.

This applies to my wellness, too. I have done and not done things simply due to fear. ‘I need to have this test done because of scary stories about people who did not; I need to not eat that food because it will clog my arteries.’ Fear, fear, fear.Fear

Sometimes tests do need to be run; sometimes food really does clog my arteries. However, these decisions need to be based on something other than fear. When I act out of fear all I get is more fear; suddenly I am in a spiral that cannot be checked. Suddenly my health is no longer there because it has disappeared in a giant puff of fear.

Fear is such an ingrained response for me, I don’t even see it coming. I often think that I am operating on other principles; it is easy for me to fool myself. It is easy because our culture is bred on fear. We learn that fear is the natural response and what we should be feeling. “You are not afraid? What is wrong with you?”

Fear stops so much momentum in my life. It stops my very breath; when I am afraid I am not breathing. Life is based on breath and when I am holding my breath my life goes on hold: all motion stops. The funny thing is, motion helps me combat fear. When I am proactively taking steps on an issue there is always less fear than when I am cowering in a corner. Even if the steps are small, they are motion. 

Acupuncture works well with my fear. Each week that I come there is motion: the energetic motion created by the insertion of the needles and the physical motion of me showing up for an appointment. There is also the motion of me committing to a course of treatment and seeing it through.

The treatment itself works with my fear. Each time needles are inserted I learn another lesson about my body’s physical responses. I learn that responses I thought were negative and fearful are not necessarily. I learn how my body interacts in the world, a language I am very disconnected from.

Acupuncture asks me to be present in the moment and open to what is going on, another antidote for the fear nibbling at the sides of my brain. Any time I am severely caught in a fear reaction I am usually not present.  When I am caught in this reaction I am not engaging in life.  I am closing my door to all experiences, not just the scary ones.  

Acupuncture helps me to loosen the grip on the negativity that eats my brain. Fear and negativity are buddies. Acupuncture slowly replaces that negativity with positive truth; this is not the same as a sugar coated reality. Acupuncture does not allow me to circumnavigate my situation but it shows me how positivity exists even in hard places.

Acupuncture teaches me to be grateful for what is, the greatest remedy to fear. It teaches me to appreciate the journey; it allows me to move past that four letter word.