Wikipedia reports that the term "stress" is derived from stringere, Latin meaning to constrict. Walter Cannon used it in 1926 as a reference to a disruption to homeostasis. Which simply is equilibrium, and in my view of the stress I'm attempting to eliminate from my life, it is the disruption to the equilibrium of a peaceful mental state. It seems that as we age our equilibrium changes as does our peaceful mental state. In my case, I've noticed I am not at good at handling stress as I once was. However my space for peaceful mental space has expanded significantly from where it was when I was young. When I was young I had paralyzing stage fright, public speaking was not my friend. Now I enjoy it, I like speaking to people and sharing my ideas and opinions on subjects. On the one hand I am stronger than I was young, but I've noticed that when my equilibrium is disrupted now that I feel the harmful affect sooner.
As I said in an earlier blog, I think it's important to understand where you hold your stress. I believe that we all constrict or draw-in certain parts of our body when we are under stress. If you saw the Caine Mutiny with Humphrey Bogart you noticed when he started to stress, he would hold and continually manipulate steel balls in his hand. And he would even start exhibiting destructive patterns of thought descending into paranoia and delusions. Strawberry's on that I say!! What can we learn from our destructive Captain? I think that there are signs when you start to lose your equilibrium. I've noticed I tense my throat which constricts my breathing, the tensing of the muscles move down my throat ending as knots in the bottom of my lungs.
When I stress it affects my breathing, and when I was young I was diagnosed with childhood asthma. I don't understand the connection but there may be. I don't understand whether it is important or not, just becoming self-aware enough to realize it feels a bit liberating. I've started to catch it, and now rather than diving deeper into whatever is stressing me I focus instead on the physiological changes I'm experiencing. If I work at it I can release the muscles in my throat and feel my breathing ease.
Feeling all the muscles tighten in my body when something disrupts my equilibrium, helps me to realize that stress is a damaging reaction to me. Stress is helpful when you are in a life-threatening situation or can give you an edge when you are physically competing. However, when dealing with office politics or worrying about who is controlling the remote it is unnecessary. I hope to continue to learn more as this year goes on, hopefully it will be helpful to others. Self-discovery is a powerful tool, I hope to have gained this by the time it is over....