We are going through busy days. For many of us, this is the first time life is going in such an “unfamiliar direction,” and we cannot control it. Although we often hear the phrase “stay with the flow” and repeat it to ourselves, uncertainty is a source of stress for all of us.
If you feel unwell, worried, and afraid during this process, there are three things to remember:
- You are right.
- You are not alone; these are the common feelings of the whole world.
- There are things you can do to feel better.
In times like these, one of the things that will make us feel better is to explore our internal and external resources… But before coming to these resources, it is helpful to understand our brain structure.
On our advanced brain structure
One of the things that cause us to live with chronic stress is our developed brain structure. The amygdala is a part of our brain responsible for emotional responses, especially fear. This section allows us to act, flee or fight in the face of emergencies. At the beginning of this emergency alarm of the brain, some bodily reactions occur, such as tensing our muscles, increasing our heart rate, accelerating our breathing, and dilating our pupils. The part responsible for these reactions is our “reptilian brain” (think reptiles that move very fast and have fast reflexes), which we inherited from the evolution process. Above that is the limbic brain, and this part is the mammalian brain. This is inherited from our mammalian ancestors, enabling us to sense emotions, establish bonds, and care for our babies. The third part is the neocortex, the thinking brain. We cannot overcome stress by thinking, analyzing, and establishing cause-effect relationships.
Mammals living in nature; are constantly exposed to stress due to predator-prey relations, natural events, and, unfortunately, the human factor, but they know how to manage this stress. For example, if a mammal living in nature falls prey to a predator but does not die, it pretends to be dead, and if it survives, it resolves the trauma with bodily tremors and escapes. If he is a hunter, he prepares and attacks, and when he is done, he checks his surroundings (if you have a cat or dog, you can observe them). Animals go on with their lives by constantly experiencing this… They get stressed and experience trauma, but they solve it later. So they complete the cycle.
But our thinking brain prevents this. “Trauma” is not completed in our nervous system for reasons such as worrying about how we will look, weak body-mind connection, and not focusing on our feelings. We continue to live with our tense bodies due to the stress we are exposed to (such as surgeries, earthquakes, death, divorce, abandonment, and natural events that we cannot control). Then there are chronic diseases, bodily tensions, or persistent pains…
Return to the center
So what do we do in the face of stress? We’re trying to get back to the center and or trying to be. Sometimes a big slice of cake, ly french fries, and beer that we fall into, cigarettes smoked one after the other, television, serial or social media that we can’t stop become a means of centering for us—out another search begins when we understand that these provide instant pleasures and both short-term and long-term harms.
As we develop a conscious approach over time, these are replaced by choices that increase our capacity for self-regulation, such as yoga, meditation, herbal tea, walking, aromatherapy oils, classical music, a conversation with a friend, and attending a course.
These assistants that allow us to cope with stress and ground the concentrated energy (emotion) are our internal and external resources.
What are these internal and external resources?
Examples of internal resources include our spiritual values, habits, and beliefs that give us strength, peace, or tranquility; our past experiences and personal qualities such as kindness, compassion, and humor; We can provide a part of our body that makes us feel strong (for example, our legs) or our ability to heal from illness.
As examples of external resources, we can think of people we know and love, places, events, skills, and hobbies.
Duplicating internal and external resources
Each of us has many more internal and external resources than we know. The important thing is to remember them and use them regularly to increase the self-regulation ability of the nervous system. We can think of it like riding a bike; we try hard until we learn it; we try many times, but once we know it, we start doing it automatically. As our nervous system gains this ability, our attitude towards stress changes, and stress management becomes more accessible.
Finally, yoga started as an external source and turned into an internal source…
Participating in yoga classes initially enters our lives as a social activity and becomes one of our external resources. Over time, as we progress in our practice, it becomes a very effective inner resource with ethical-social disciplines, asanas, breathing, energy work, and meditations.
As a result of the process we have been through, we now have the opportunity to conduct online lessons with many teachers. You can take advantage of this opportunity for a robust internal resource that will be with you for life.