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How Your Body Responds To ‘Busy-ness’
By Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

 Are you a laid back, easygoing kind of person? Or do you make every minute count and keep yourself on a fast paced, tight schedule? Maybe you fall somewhere in between the two. Think about it right now, on a scale of 1 to 10, where would you place yourself, if 1 is the laid back and 10 is frantic schedule?

 Be honest about the number you come up with; take your time, because it is important for what follows. Our bodies have evolved over time, but our unconscious minds still store the ‘caveman’ behaviors our ancestors used. Our bodies respond from this latent ‘fight or flight’ behavior.

 Examples of the numbers on the scale would be roughly as follows. If you are retired and play golf, fish, hike, and the like you are in the 1 – 3 range. If you work at job you like with likable people, and have no children, you are in the 4 – 6 range, if you work at job you don’t like, run a business, have a family, you are in the 7- 8 range; if you run a big business, have a large family, and are never home, you are in the 9 – 10 range.

 The above are only possible circumstances; the descriptions are endless. But it gives you something to compare your life with. Another factor of course is your personality. The easy going person would live any of the above with less stress than a type ‘A’ person, for example.

 Our ancient ancestors had to be constantly vigilant, because there were hungry beasts out there ready to have them for the next meal. Today, the hungry beasts are inside of us, but our body’s response is the same. When the ‘fight or flight’ mode hits us, our bodies respond as if a wild beast were chasing us.

 You immediately get an adrenaline rush, which produces the hormones adrenaline and cortisol., which are stress hormones that are released at times of acute stress. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, which enhances your brain's use of glucose

 All of the above is great if you are being chased by a wild beast. It may keep you alive. But today, there are rarely any ‘wild beasts’ to run from. What happens is that the wild beasts within us keep our stress at the same heightened levels throughout the day.

 Cortisol alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.

 The above actions within your body when kept at a constant, or near constant, level can lead to health disruptions such as: heart disease, obesity, digestive problems, sleep problems, and so on. Normally, our body can accommodate some stress, and returns our systems to ‘normal’ after the stress leaves.

 But unless you chose somewhere around 1 to 3 on the scale given at the beginning of this article, you are experiencing some of the problems cited above or others like them. When I am writing, meditation, listening to music, and doing other activities that seem peaceful, I am in the 1 to 3 range. But when I am trying to meet deadlines and other business related actions, I move into the higher levels of the scale.

 “If this is so, why are you writing this article to me?” you might be saying. Well, because first, I am in the 1 – 3 levels more often then in the higher levels. But more importantly, when I move into the higher levels, I don’t stay there very long. This is key, and why I am writing this article. When you build a solid foundation upon which to live life, daily experiences feel different than when your foundation is weak or no-existent.

 If you found yourself in the 7-10 areas of the scale, you, especially need to pay attention here. Stress levels in this range can literally kill you. You will either come down with one or more of the ailments mention above, or will revert to alcohol or other drug to pull you back up; and then these will kill you.

 The way out of this dilemma is to begin building a solid spiritual foundation, or adding to one in place, immediately. Knowing who you are as a spiritual being clears a path for you to live in peace. If you continue to live as a human being with a physical body, and no more, you can expect an aging and degrading body as time goes by.

 Knowing, without a doubt, that you are an aspect of God, or whatever you call your Higher Power, living in a human body is a giant step. But even if you cannot see yourself going this route immediately, taking baby steps towards that outcome can be very helpful.

 The basic steps to look at here are clearing away the beliefs that have held you back for so long. Issues like taking things personally, complaining, judging, being irresponsible, holding grudges, and so on continue to pull you down, and keep you in the ‘worldly’ mode.

 On the other hand, actions like gratitude, love, forgiveness, service, and laughter can raise your vibrations and lead to joy and happiness. When you begin practicing the above you will find it easier to release the issues mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

 Stress is something that can be handled easily or get completely out of control. You are the one that controls which takes over and runs your life. Having a stress-free life is not only possible, but entirely doable for anyone. All you need to do is take that first step. You can find articles in the Archives that give details for practicing the above mentioned actions.

 

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