Let's start with the definition. Stress occurs when anything asks us to change. That can mean changing lanes on the freeway. Or it can mean changing jobs. Or being presented with a deadline - which is a change in our usual time schedule. Or for some people it can even mean getting out of bed in the morning - changing from a nice, comfortable lying down position to standing up. Anything that asks us to change is stressful.
So what does that do to your body, and how does it affect your brain? And - most importantly - what can we do about it? There has been much research into this subject, but here are the "Cliff Notes" on it:
When we are stressed, our bodies secrete stress hormones. This is fine when you find yourself faced with a tiger who wants to eat you, because it sends blood and oxygen rushing to your muscles so that you can run away. Under those circumstances, stress hormones are secreted for a relatively short period of time, and once you reach safety your body goes back to normal.
The problem with modern day stress is that it goes on and on. For most of us, there are no life threatening situations, but there are many ego-threatening situations. And we face them day after day, and year after year. What this does is continually bathe our bodies in the chemicals of stress. This chronic "stress bath", over time, makes our nervous system more vulnerable to damage. And there is new research showing that the part of our brain associated with memory and learning is particularly vulnerable to the degenerating effects of an excess exposure to stress chemicals. This is how chronic stress makes our brains more vulnerable to things like dementia.
So what can we do about it? There are two things I can recommend. Number one is meditation. If you think you don't have time to meditate, please read my blog post about that subject. It's not really complicated, and you can learn to do it one breath at a time. That's a very manageable time frame! Also, I am working on putting together a series of meditation tracks for download, and they should help you to fit it into your daily routine.
The second thing I recommend is sound healing. The meditation tracks will be sound healing tracks, but there are other avenues for sound healing as well. If you live in the San Diego area, I conduct monthly group sound healing sessions. Additionally, I am offering an individual introductory 15 minute sound healing session for $15. For the overwhelming majority of people, 15 minutes is enough time to make a shift. Sometimes even a big shift. If you live outside of the San Diego area, look for someone close by to you who does sound healing. You might be surprised to find that there are several sound healers nearby. Check them out and go to the one you resonate with. At the very least it will be a pleasant experience. At best, it could bring on some major shifts in your life.