How many times a day do you hear this word? How many times a day to you SAY this word? Do you ever stop to think about what this word really means?
Whether stress manifests in your life as racing thoughts, worry, palpitations, nausea, high blood pressure, overeating, or any of the other common maladies, the fact of the matter is that it is really FEAR.
Fear in itself is not always a bad thing. "Stress" activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is designed to help us flee from danger, or fight, depending on the situation of the moment. It was designed to help us run from bears and tigers. So when it is activated, its sole purpose is to prepare us for battle or rapid physical movement.
The problem is, much of what we are "stressed" about today is NOT ACTUALLY A PHYSICAL THREAT. Instead of actually being present to the situation at hand, we activate the SNS, which sends us into a spiral where we can't be fully present and rational.
This, of course, takes a toll on the body. Because when we are in "fight or flight" mode, all the blood is pumped into our muscles and away from our "non-essential" organs (this is a funny term..."non-essential" just means you don't immediately need them when a lion is trying to eat you). These include diverting energy from our reproductive organs, pancreas, and digestive system. Long-term habitual activation of the SNS wreaks havoc in these areas.
Yeah, we don't really need those organs, right?!?
This is where the brilliance of the idea of "yes" comes in. It's about releasing the resistance that can cause us more damage to our health than is necessary. What if (since we are not usually being chased by a lion) we said "yes" to everything that happens in a day? Yes to our feeling overwhelmed. Yes to the fact that there is mayo on your sandwich when you asked for no mayo. Yes to your boss being in a bad mood. Yes to the fact that someone dinged your car door in the parking lot and you are mad. Notice that the "yes" is not ignoring the reality of what is going on. It doesn't mean we don't have feelings that arise. It just means we accept what does arise as quickly as possible. Can you feel how this can change your entire life experience?
Saying "yes" to everything does not mean that you are disempowered. Quite the contrary. Once we accept what IS, we free up our energy to then recognize and create what we actually do want. If we can do this skillfully without activating the "fight or flight" that keeps us sick, we will create long lasting health in our bodies. It's not about people-pleasing or denial. It's about accepting what is, and moving forward standing in our own power.
Today I am challenging myself to see how this shifts my own perception of stress. Will you join me? Please say yes!