Are humanity and the planet experiencing serious bouts of stress?
Whether for myself or clients, I’ve noticed that normally things have to get pretty bad before we begin to pay attention long enough to realize that something’s wrong and recognize that we need to do take action. At that point we can avoid serious damage to our health and vitality by relieving stress and building resilience.
Our body may present all sorts symptoms of stress that we ignore for the longest time. We often continue to follow abusive behaviours until we are so uncomfortable that we decide to deal with digestive or sleep problems, headaches or high blood pressure. Think of smokers who frequently only quit when they have been diagnosed with lung cancer. Then we look at our habits and make changes to significantly impact our overall well-being and energy levels.
This resembles the planet. The increasing intensity of disasters such as hurricanes, floods, forest fires, rising ocean and land temperatures are all symptoms of stress on the planet that demand attention. Now we are beginning to look at our habits and make changes to reduce or even reverse the stressful impact of mindless greed and actions.
The more severe the signs of stress, the more likely we are to take urgent redeeming action.
When we are mentally and emotionally stressed, we can over-react, become tearful, duvet dive, bully, beat up, or become unreasonably angry. Think road rage. We may lose all sense of left brain logic and get carried away by emotions that have no relation to truth or reason. We may feel threatened or victimized, self-righteous or superior. Then as our stress is relieved, our brain can rebalance and we are able to connect our feelings with logic, make sense of and be safe in the world; and be firm, fair, compassionate and kind to ourselves and others.
This reminds me of the world stage of political propaganda, cruelty, chaos, bullying, lying and defamation of character that is so predominant at this time. The exposure of many hidden agendas is causing careful thought where not so long ago we may have lived by rote. Attacks on and erosion of truth and freedom are wake up calls to remember our values and need for integrity, compassion and kindness in all aspects of our lives.
Stress highlights the need for change to reach balance and well-being, and to return to our core values of integrity, compassion and love – for ourselves and one another.
We all need ways to keep a grip on reality. This approach has helped me to feel a little less overwhelmed by the constant flow of seriously bad news; allowed me to limit my exposure; and helped me to select how I choose to contribute and serve in my life. Maybe you have other suggestions to stay sane in troubled times.