Part of improving chronic stress is to start to sense and feel it.
Close your eyes and start to sense and feel.
You’ll start to notice often there is a pattern of where you feel your stress.
This is a beautiful practice because as soon as you can get in touch with FEELING your stress, you can start to catch it earlier and earlier. And once you start catching it earlier, you can start attending to it sooner.
Where do you feel stress in your body? Every body is different.
I’ll never forget the day. It is completely bright in my mind like it happened a minute ago.
I woke up. It was spring. A perfect, melty March day. You could hear the snow dripping off of the building. The sun was shining in through the windows of my small apartment. There were little dusty floaties in the air of the sunbeams.
I took a deep breath and felt something I hadn’t felt in months and months and months…I felt good. I felt a sense that all was right with my world. I felt hope. I felt optimism.
I felt my SELF.
In that moment, I realized that I had been depressed. I didn’t know because I’d never been depressed before.
I got dressed and took myself to a local art store. After purchasing a pad of drawing paper and some charcoals, I drew and wrote poems and CREATED in my kitchen with a cup of tea.
And I knew that it was over. That I had come out from under. That I’d thrown the blanket off of my life and could breathe again.
Please don’t get me wrong – my life wasn’t perfect. I still had a crappy boyfriend, a stressful job and no real friends yet in my new city. But I WAS HOME in myself. From that moment on, I was solid in the footings of myself.
And also, from that day on – the memory of my depression lived on in the back of my brain. I knew without a doubt that I didn’t want to go back there ever again. It’s not that I lived in fear per se, but I knew I didn’t want to go back there ever again if I could help it.
Since then I have had postpartum depression twice.
I had no idea because it didn’t FEEL the same. It was ragey. The first time I coped with my usual – cigarettes and alcohol. The second time – I went on medication.
And every fall, when I experience the natural slowing and dip of my energy…I get scared. I start counting days. After a couple of weeks, I ask my partner, “How long have I felt like this? How long has this been going on?” Nervous that it’s gone on too long and that I need to get help again.
And invariably, just when I ask that question….I turn back up.
But I’m always watching.
If you or someone you love is living with depression, please reach out. There is help. Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or text ‘NAMI’ to 741741 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we are stressed or anxious or depressed, we often turn to ‘fun-buttons’. Everybody’s fun buttons are different – sugar, overeating, junk food, salty food, baked goods, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.
The irony is that the things we turn to as fun buttons often disrupt the balance in our gut or damage our gut.
Why is this important?
Well…because your gut affects your seratonin levels. I’m going to share this excerpt from Kris Carr’s book “Crazy, Sexy Diet.” It about blew my damn mind:
S^*&T for Brains Excerpted from “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr
Ever heard of the brain-gut connection? Dr. Michael Gershon, a researcher at Columbia University, calls the gut the “second brain.” The gut has its very own nervous system—the small intestine alone has as many neurons as your spinal cord. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals that that transmit signals from one part of your brain to another. Guess what? They’re also found in your intestines. In fact, a whopping 95 percent of all serotonin, one of the most important neurotransmitters, is made by nerve cells in your gut. And get this – the gut has at least seven different kinds of serotonin receptors. An imbalance in serotonin levels can be an underlying, cause of depression. If one brain is out of balance, it stands to reason that the other one (the one you’re using to read this) might be out of balance, too.
Much peace, Sarah
And practice. You’ll find the more you do it, the more familiar you get with your process – and it may come quicker and quicker. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FB LIVE ON THIS TOPIC.
Let me know how it goes.
Happy Holidays. May they be peaceful.
Your soma – body, mind and spirit – reacts beautifully to stress. The problem is, it doesn’t hold up well when we don’t come down from the stressor. It adapts for a time, but wasn’t designed to handle it long-term.