In Part One I explained how your monsters or challenges all have a gift in them. Your perception of your past experiences will determine if you see them as a benefit or a detriment. I gave you three steps to discover the gift within your challenge and a simple action step to start immediately to reinforce what the challenge wanted you to do. (I said it was simple, not easy.)
You may say, “Yes, that’s all good and nice to know but if I feel that things are beyond my control, then how do I truly deal with my “monsters’ no matter the category, whether health, finances, etc.”
If you feel that the challenges you face are not even remotely related to your past decisions and that someone somewhere doesn’t like you or you are being punished, then I know how your frustrations, hopelessness and despair have emerged.
I remember often being in that same place, too numerous times to count, where I felt I was caught in an undertow that was dragging me to an abyss in the ocean’s floor. No control, no end to the perpetual suffering of emotions that plagued me, all which I felt were being “done to me”, and if you told me that things were not happening “to” me but “from” me, I would have thought you had no clue of what real life problems were about.
Fortunately, however, through the last 24 years of my own discovery and quest to understand how life really works, I have learned and now know, without a doubt, that all of my challenges come from me and only I have the solutions within me to solve them. The old saying is so true, “If you don’t go within, you must go without.” This quote clearly states that the outside world is only a reflection of your own inner world and looking anywhere but at yourself will allow the monsters within to continue to cause havoc on you physically, mentally and spiritually.
People with autoimmune disease need to be especially aware of this. “Auto” meaning self and “immune” relating to your immune system, is a condition where your body’s “armed forces” take on a situation of “friendly fire.” This term, used in the armed forces when a soldier mistakes his comrade as an enemy and attacks him, aptly describes what the immune system does in this situation–it mistakes the body as its enemy.
When the immune system is functioning properly, it marks “outside threats”, such as bad bacteria, viruses, etc. in the body with proteins called antigens so it knows the difference between friend and foe. But sometimes, something goes awry in the body where it starts to tag not only external environmental threats with antigens, but its own structures such as organs, enzymes, etc. When the immune system is activated with repeated stressful situations, whether mental or physical, it will attack the areas marked as foreign invaders, even if it is a normal organ. This is why it is important for people with autoimmune disease to keep their stresses at bay.
Let me be clear. Acquiring an autoimmune disease does not have to be present to cause damage to your body. High stress situations, whether real or made up in your mind, will create a battle ground within you. We all know what happens in battle, damage occurs whether on the focused target or somewhere else–collateral damage. Even if you eat the healthiest foods and take the best medications and supplements, if your stress is out of control you will still cause damage to your body.
For instance, you don’t think your body just sits idle while your mind freaks out do you? Of course not. It thinks it is under attack so it goes into action. Think back to the caveman days when they would encounter the “monsters” of their time period such as the Saber Toothed Tiger. They would fight it or flee into their safe cave. Once there, the threat was over and they could relax. In today’s world, people stress from the moment they wake up to the time they fall asleep and often spend many sleepless nights tossing, turning, stressing and worrying.
The human body was never meant to endure this much stress for the length of time that we place on it today. Your body’s adrenal glands or “stress glands”, are built to respond to stressful situations by releasing hormones; two of them of which you may have heard of–cortisol and adrenaline. These are needed for our bodies to survive an attack. However, when these hormones are overly produced for a long period of time it causes an imbalance in our body, creating problems such as high cholesterol, obesity, hypothyroidism, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue and anxiety. These are just a few conditions; the list is huge.
Over time, our body can take just make so much of this. Without being replenished, lack of these hormones can cause inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disease, heart attacks, reduced libido, and asthma (I will write about these glands in a future blog). As I discussed in Part 1, the first step to getting well means that you will need to learn how to handle your “monsters”. If not, the stress will burn out your body and your health will continue to deteriorate.
Let’s not confuse bad stress with good stress. Sometimes, a little bit of stress can be “good” for us under certain conditions. It can motivate us, energize us and allow us to boost our immune system and our memory. What should be sought is a delicate balance.
In the Newsweek article “Health: Why Stress May Be Good for You” by Mary Carmichael, she asks Bruce Rabin, a distinguished psychoneuroimmunologist, pathologist and psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, if people seek out stress and think that they flourish under it, aren’t they using it for their advantage? His response was, “Some adults who seek out stress and believe they flourish under it may have been abused as children or permanently affected in the womb after exposure to high levels of adrenaline and cortisol”. “Even if they weren’t, he added, they’re ‘trying to satisfy’ some psychological need”. Click here for the entire article.
Stress is not the monster, your reaction to it is. Many times, the stress you face is not real and you may imagine things are going to be worse than they really will be. These types of thoughts have been programmed by us into our subconscious mind by repeated patterns of the act of what I call “catastrophizing”. In other words, we make a mountain out of a mole hill, It is not as bad as we think it is.
Obviously, there are times when something happens that is a real life changing event, but ask yourself this question, “In the last six to twelve months, of all of the things that I worried about, how many came true? If some did, out of those, what percentage actually caused a life changing situation? Out of those, which ones can I or cannot turn into a benefit?”
When I pose these questions to my patients, the majority tell me what they initially feared never happened, or the things that did happen were not as bad as they first thought. They then soon begin to see the patterns they have unknowingly created for themselves. Once they are able to identify the true cause of their reactions they are taught other methods to replace this subconscious action. This inevitably allows them see the benefit in the event that caused their original stress and to simply focus on the new method to improve their lives.
In order for you to decrease the havoc your monsters are causing, it is essential to find the gift in your challenges as I discussed in Part One. Once you realize there is a message being sent “from” you that a change is needed, then you can focus on the solution within instead of on your ‘monsters” or challenges which perpetuate your stress and cause your collateral damage.
In Part Three, I will explore how to use three simple steps to guarantee a monster-free success.