Yale Medicine describes chronic stress as “a consistent sense of feeling pressured and overwhelmed over a long period.”
But you don’t need Yale Medicine or me to tell you that.
You’re living it.
You wake up in the morning with your heart racing, thoughts scrambling through your brain, chest tight, and stomach clenched.
It feels like there is no off switch for your stress level. In the car ride of life, you’re moving full-throttle with the gas pedal jammed to the floor.
You’d like to find the brake, but you’re unsure if your car comes with one.
For a while, living like this was okay.
You can keep it all together. You’re successful. You like a challenge. Besides… some stress is healthy, right? It motivates you to stay on your toes.
But lately, you see how it isn’t working anymore.
You’re always tired.
You’re irritable almost all the time.
Your digestion is suffering.
It’s not entirely clear when feeling strained and stressed became your “normal,” but it is.
You’re tired of missing out on life…
… because you feel like you’ve lost the ability to “take things in.”
When you’re numb inside and always distanced from yourself, it’s easy to forget that you even have a body!
Sure, you do workouts and enjoy an occasional walk in the park, but none of it absorbs INTO YOU.
Instead, life is scorching by on high alert, and you’re tired of it.
But knowing how to make a change isn’t easy.
Stress is a normal physiological response. When we are in situations that call for high energy, activation, and response – our bodies know what to do. This is biologically normal. An example is quickly swerving out of the way when some jerk pulls out in front of you unexpectedly… or, more dramatically, running from a large dog chasing you.
Stress is necessary and helpful for our survival. The body naturally produces the hormones needed to help us respond to a stimulus. It then re-stabilizes itself and uptakes those hormones when the trigger is no longer present. We activate, take appropriate action, and then settle back into homeostasis.
But this natural system doesn’t settle with chronic, ongoing stress. Stress hormones like cortisol are continuously active in your bloodstream. You have difficulty resting and can’t ever seem to calm down.
You know it isn’t good for you to live this way.
Fortunately, there’s a solution.
Since stress is a physiological issue, it makes sense to change things with a body-based approach. I use Somatic Experiencing techniques to engage your nervous system and facilitate change.
We’ll heal you through three avenues…
When did you learn to operate on high alert?
What did you tell yourself about this belief pattern?
Have you ever felt relaxed or at peace in your body?
Together, we’ll examine how past experiences or beliefs may contribute to your high-stress lifestyle. If past trauma reinforces your body’s need to be on high alert, we can work on it together. For more information, I invite you to read my page on Healing Trauma.
You’ll learn to notice what’s happening in your body right now. We’ll uncover your particular patterns of activation. This empowers you to start seeing when a high-stress pattern grabs hold of you in daily life situations. It allows you to recognize what’s happening and be present with your body instead of being taken for the ride.
Chronic stress patterns can feel like everything happens at once: the thoughts, the chest tightening, the sweating, and the emotions. It can feel like this is “just how it is,” and the swirl of overwhelm scoops you up, leaving you to hold on for dear life.
For many of us who live under chronic stress, there may be an underlying physiological sense that it’s not safe to slow down and relax. This isn’t a matter of simply going to a yoga class or telling yourself to calm down. Yes, those things can help, but we must teach your particular system that it is okay to slow down.
We will try something new together and work with one piece of the swirl at a time. As you become familiar with your patterns of activation that kick you up into high alert, you can start to slow them down before they carry you up, up, and away.
We will also identify the calming, peaceful things in your life – even if only slightly so. You will learn to take in, feel, and absorb these experiences. That will give your body a physiological imprint of what it feels like to be less stressed. Teaching your body how to stay with and expand these more pleasant moments teaches your brain and nervous system to access more of them.
How would a calmer, more relaxed life look and feel for you?
I love this question, and I encourage you to pause and “feel into it” for a moment. How would it feel to wake up more relaxed… to move through your busy day at ease? We’ll take time to explore this question together.
You are encouraged to discover what you want your life to look and feel like. As your system shifts, this may change over time, and you experience more of yourself in a less stressed state.
Living in constant stress becomes debilitating over time. It’s linked to high blood pressure, poor digestion, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, and lowered immune function. I commend you for wanting to make a change!
As someone who lived with high stress for decades, I am passionate about sharing what helped me change my life and my relationship with stress.
It takes time, but it works.
Let me tell you more about this body-based approach to lasting healing. Call today for your free 20-minute consultation: (619) 432-2991.