Are You Stressed?

Embodiment is one of the things we’re talking about in my new offering, Illuminate. For me, embodiment is a conversation about mind, body and wellbeing and the things that get in the way of achieving that synergy. The number one problem?


Hans Selye, a pioneering Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist and his research made the way we use the word now ubiquitous. Stress is internal alterations—visible or not—that occur when an organism perceives a threat to its existence or well-being.

These reactions occur in animals and even in plants that don’t have nervous systems like ours. The stress response can be set off by infection or injury but it can also be produced under deep anesthesia, grown in cell cultures outside the body and even shows up in patients who are unconscious. Crazy right?

Nervous tension may be part of it or not, because you can feel tension without activating the physiological mechanisms. Stress can be highly active in persons who are fully aware, but who are in the grip of unconscious emotions and/or cut off from their body’s responses.

Not surprisingly, emotional trauma or even the threat of it, even if purely imaginary, can cause stress, even when the threat is outside conscious awareness. Some of the work I do with private clients lives in this realm.

What if they don’t hire me? What if my pipeline dries up? Why don’t I ever have enough money? I’m doing all this work but nothing is happening. I never get the right clients.

Sometimes, the people who show up to work with me believe they are stressed in a “good” way.

Because if you were habituated to high levels of internal stress in early childhood, you may find that the absence of it makes you fill ill at ease, bored or a sense of meaninglessness. It can keep you addicted to your own stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. In other words, there is no “good” stress.

Stress affects and involves virtually every tissue in the body. But we need to mount a stress response in order to preserve internal stability.

Stress is complicated.

Here’s one thing that isn’t. What do all stressors have in common? The absence of, or threat of loss of, something you perceive as necessary for survival. According to Selye, the most important stressors are emotional.

So, what emotions are making you stressed? What part of your mind, body or spirit needs tending to?

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