It comes as no surprise that life can be stressful. Stress however, is not always about “bad” things, it can also be due to “good” things.
Too Much of a Good Thing
In the early 1970’s a simple garage mechanic did a favor for some guy passing through town. This was no ordinary town, it was a little isolated town somewhere in New Mexico.
The guy driving through had an engine malfunction of some sort. The mechanic checked it out and found that it was no big deal, so he did the job and despite the fact that the car was an expensive car and it seemed that the guy could easily have afforded a big price tag, the mechanic demonstrated integrity and just charged the guy a few bucks and sent him on his way.
The guy was grateful and never forgot the mechanic’s integrity. When the guy passed away a few years later, he remembered the mechanic in his will. The guy was Howard Hughes, and he left the mechanic $20 million dollars. That was in 1976.
The mechanic, a simple honest working man who enjoyed his job and had a lifestyle to which he had become accustomed, died of a heart attack because of the stress of having that kind of fortune cast upon him. As the old saying goes, “Too much of a good thing.”
Stress in the Body
Stress of any sort occurs when we are challenged with either a change or more of something than we can handle.
Stress Changes the Body and Breathing
When we become stressed, somatic (physical) changes occur and these changes can adversely affect our bodies. The first change that usually occurs is that we alter our breathing, either we breath too rapidly and hyperventilate or we breath so shallowly that our breath is almost imperceptible. When our breathing is altered so is our mind, it either races or it slows down. This alteration of our mind leads to irrational thinking, poor decision making or mental paralysis (can’t make any decision at all).
Stress Affects the Muscles
Another area affected adversely by stress is our muscles. Muscles spasm causing pain can be felt in the neck, jaws, shoulders, low back and upper back. The pain that occurs as a result of stress is unique in that it just won’t go away. No matter what you do or how you move, the pain doesn’t let up.
A common scenario is that people will get treated for their pain only to find that it returns within a few days. To make matters worse, the pain may disturb your sleep leaving you more tired. When you’re tired, everything hurts more which makes it harder to sleep. And so the vicious cycle continues.
Getting Relief from Stress
The best way to get relief is to get your body “unwound”. I have found throughout almost 30 years of working on thousands of people, that nothing works better to alleviate the pain due to stress than soft tissue techniques such as myofascial release, cranio-sacral and Myophlage. These are all very gentle yet powerful techniques that relieve pain, help the body cope with stress, normalize breathing patterns and improve sleep.