How Stress impacts our energy system
In my last blog post I talked about how stress is a leading predictor of death.
I mentioned how the long-term effects of stress include increased heart rate, lowered immune system, under-functioning digestion and impaired cognitive ability. And that’s just the beginning!
I also left you with a quickie exercise to help when you’re stressed: place one hand across the forehead and the other on the back of the head, and hold for a couple of minutes. Did you try it? What did you notice?
If you didn’t try this exercise, why not check out the last blog post and give it a go!
If you are like most people I have demonstrated this technique with, you will probably have felt calmer, more centred or quieter. And perhaps, like someone recently, you may begin to feel there are other possibilities to life than feeling stressed all the time.
But how does this technique work?
Within the body there is a system of pathways for vital energy or life force, called meridians. These meridians are well known in Eastern healing traditions such as Chinese medicine, which refers to the vital energy as chi. Ayurvedic and yogic traditions also know about this life force energy and call it prana. Chi, or prana, is essential for life and flows through all living systems: plants and animals. We draw chi primarily from the air we breathe, but also from food that we ingest.
Our meridians channel the chi or life force to all major organs and systems of the physical body. It is vital that the energy continues to flow. If it becomes stagnant or blocked, disease can easily manifest in the physical body. And in case you’re wondering if meridians really exist because you haven’t heard of them before, here’s information about some of the scientific research into their existence.
When you are stressed a meridian system called Triple Warmer (also known as Triple Heater or Triple Burner) is immediately activated. Triple warmer’s job is to protect you: by triggering the immune system if the body detects “invaders” (such as pathogens or allergens), or by activating our “flight or fight response” when our system perceives a threat. This flight or fight response is precisely what we experience when stressed.
In other words, stress is activated by our triple warmer meridian.
Because triple warmer is a primary meridian for survival, it can pull energy away from other meridian systems in the body, leaving them depleted. This is obviously essential if you are in a life-threatening situation, but far from ideal when the stress is due to everyday events at home or in the workplace, and very detrimental when triple warmer remains activated. So what we want to do is calm the triple warmer system, by “telling” it we’re actually safe and it doesn’t have to ramp up its energy to protect us from a threat.
Now back to our quickie technique:
By placing one hand over the forehead, you are covering important neurovascular points that calm triple warmer. Placing a hand anywhere on the body also brings more energy and blood to that area. In this case it’s the forebrain, and with more oxygenated blood there you will be able to think more clearly as well.
The hand at the back of head is covering the neurovascular point for Kidney meridian, which is the system that governs fear. The effect is to reduce fear, which is often a side effect of anxiety. In addition, both hands are helping to connect parts of the brain energetically, allowing for more open and creative responses to the situation you are in. So simple, effective and safe!
Here’s another similar technique to calm triple warmer, which I demonstrate in this short (2-min) youtube video.
The key takeaway is that you can change your stress response. I have lots more simple techniques that I can show you to help overcome your stress and anxiety.