The Secret to Tiger Pain
Have you ever noticed your chronic pain gets worse when you’re stressed? That’s not your imagination!
There are physiological reasons for this and easy ways to mitigate the effect of stress on the body.
The next time you’re stressed, bring your attention to your breath:
• Has your breath become shallow and halted?
• Are your shoulders up in your ears?
• Are you bracing your body as if preparing for a head-on collision?
• How are the stresses of your life resonating in your body?
Don’t beat yourself up about your response. It’s entirely normal to respond to stress in this way.
Our bodies are set up to protect us from danger.
While our ancestors most likely experienced stress differently than we do today our stress responses are still the same.
Today an argument you had with a co-worker or an unexpected bill you received is perceived along the same pathways as running for your life from a tiger.
The potential energy that is built up to prepare you for a fight or a dash for cover is never released. Instead, it binds up in your system becoming a cyclical reaction of bracing, gripping and resisting.
Getting to the ROOT CAUSE OF YOUR PHYSICAL PAIN is one-in-the-same with getting to the ROOT OF YOU.
The next time you are ready to run from that tiger, breath, check in and scan your body with the above questions.
The goal of these questions is to notice the effects of stress and develop new ways of dealing with it.
Your body is sharing valuable information with you – LISTEN!
The next time you find yourself preparing for attack, breathe, check in and scan your body with this short practice:
- Lay down and get comfortable.
- Without stressing your body, breathe in for as long as you can. Hold your inhale for 2 seconds or longer. Appreciate the fullness of your lungs. Exhale out for as long as you can. Hold the end of the exhale for 2 seconds or longer and
experience the emptiness of your lungs.
- Repeat for 2 minutes
PLEASE NOTE: This is supposed to be relaxing! Pushing yourself beyond your natural capacities is the first step towards stressing your body and creating pain. Learn how to take a deep breath without straining or forcing yourself to breathe more deeply than feels comfortable and relaxing for you.
QUESTION: Return to the above questions. Do you feel an overall improvement in the level of stress you feel in your body and your mind?
Remember, your life truly does depend on how happy and well-cared for your body is.
Take the two minutes this practice asks for and SAY YES to taking care of yourself.
For the last twenty years, I have helped people take charge of their health and feel better. I have been in your shoes - sick, tired, and overwhelmed by how to actionably care for myself. If you want to feel better, but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place. Learn More >
Sign up for my monthly newsletter for health and wellness tips!