Updated: Apr 10
According to the Institute of Stress, 45% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress and it is estimated that 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related ailments and complaints yet only 3% receive stress management help.
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how frustrating, confusing, or even harmful it can be if we don’t have support that addresses the root cause of our problems.
Here’s what I mean:
We may get a diagnosis (like generalized anxiety, for example) but we’re not told the root cause of why it’s there in the first place nor how to actually shift this. Instead we’re often given band aids without ever finding true resolution.
If we have chronic health issues, we may seek out doctors for all of our different symptoms, but often no one looks holistically at what’s going on. Instead, we’re given medications, supplements, and treatments which might be helpful but are not getting to the root of the problem.
We spend time getting care that’s focused on talking about the problems. We may gain deeper insights, but all that talking never actually shifts the anxiety, hopelessness, distress in our bodies, troubles in our relationships, challenges with shame and self worth, etc.
There’s more that’s needed.
What is the Root Cause?
What’s missing is addressing the root cause of the problem, which more often than not, is a dysregulated nervous system.
When we work at the level of our nervous system, bring our bodies back into safety and rest, everything starts to change in our lives, from our thoughts, behaviors, and health to the way we show up in our purpose and relationships.
Life is about stress - it is the spice of life. Somewhere along the way though, us humans lost sight of how to work with our natural abilities to manage stress. Other mammals know how to let their biology do its job to recover after stressful situations like being chased by a predator. A zebra, for example, knows how to dissipate stress after a traumatic encounter - they shake all over, an entire body shake, to reset their nervous system and then go back to living in the moment.
Stress is a normal part of life. Just like the zebra, the human body is designed to experience stress, regulate and recover. However, in Western medicine, the focus is addressing symptoms, not emphasizing the core of the issue involving the whole person. This approach only perpetuates the problem of staying in an imbalanced nervous system response.
Food For Thought
I wonder what would happen if:
Instead of pathologizing involuntary tremors and shakes as a diagnosis of generalized anxiety or PTSD, we could learn that those spontaneous shakes and tremors are our body’s natural way of regulating our stress response and beneficial for us rather than something to be stopped.
We are told that our chronic health issues are likely from an overactive stress response in our body causing our biology to be in a state of imbalance, which can improve or resolve altogether if we can get our nervous system to a place where healing can take place.
We are informed that simply talking about the problems will not resolve them. Because the stress response takes place in the body, it has to be addressed via the body. There are many somatic (body-oriented) methods for relieving stress, which can improve every facet of your life.
If you’ve ever been made to feel like you’re broken, that you’re not trying hard enough, or there is nothing else that can be done to help your situation, I want you to know that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you.
I wonder what would happen if you were provided a safe environment to discover, cultivate, and restore from past challenges to create a place of healing within yourself?
I wonder what would happen if you were taught how to regulate your nervous system and once back to a state of balance, learn proactive ways to manage stressors and thrive in life’s challenges?
Let’s find out.
You are worthy and a priority.