Are you holding stress or tension in a certain place in your body?

For a long while, I used to unconsciously react to stress by gasping air.  This first began when I was about 14 and was doing some important exams.  My breathing became shallow and instead of breathing the air, I’d gasp and swallow some air with every breath.  That was a really uncomfortable way to react to stress.  My stomach would become tight and tense and bloated.  I hated it.  I tried some techniques for getting rid of it – special meditations and deep breathing exercises but they didn’t work because the attitudes and fears which were causing that unconscious gasping-the-air reaction were still there.

Eventually, I faced up to the source of my stress and eliminated it, because I couldn’t go around swallowing air with every breath.  The source of my stress was the belief that I had to do things perfectly – in my exams and in my life.  And I knew I couldn’t do everything perfectly so it stressed me out.

We all react to stress in different ways and we hold stress and tension in different areas of the body, depending on what the negative pattern of thought is that you’re having.  The stress happens because your body is reacting to these negative patterns of thought.  It’s the body’s way of signalling that it’s time to create change in a certain situation, (and eliminate the stress) OR it’s time change your perspective or beliefs about a certain situation.

Finding the Source of your Tension

Is there a situation or person who is causing you stress?

The location of the tension in your body can be telling.

Often you’ll have tension in your neck or throat when you’re not expressing yourself as fully as you’d like; when you have something to say to someone that’s not coming out.

Tension in your back is often related to feeling unsupported, financially or emotionally.

Stomach troubles like mine are related to digestion, not assimilating experiences well and rejecting what is happening in your life.

Changing your Attitude

Often you can’t change another person or a situation, but you can change the way you react to the situation, including your thoughts and attitudes about it.

If you’re stressed in your job, what exactly is causing the stress?

You could feel like it’s your boss’s demands or your clients.

But remember that no-one can make you stressed.  It’s your perceptions about the situation which make you stressed.

Usually, they are perceptions that are not self-loving or acknowledging your own power to create change.

It can be a belief like “I have to stay in this job because I’m too old to learn to do anything else” – that sort of belief is going to cause more stress than the job ever will!

It could be the belief “I can’t ask for a raise because I won’t get one.”

“I can’t say what I think because it’ll rock the boat”

“I can’t do anything about this situation.”

“I’m too far into this to back out now.”

Often stress arises because you want something (it may be an unconscious desire – sometimes it can be something really scary, like changing your career or living situation) and you feel you can’t have it.

Stress also arises from a feeling of being threatened and in danger.

How often is it that we’re in physical danger? Not very often unless we have some sort of dangerous job.  Sometimes stress happens because we have an ego to defend.  So if someone says something about us that we don’t like, it causes stress in us.  If you have nothing to defend or prove to others, then life becomes less stressful.  As Byron Katie says ‘the first act of war is defence’.

Ask your Body

If you’re sick or tense, ask your body what it is showing you through the illness or tension.

To ask your body what it is showing you, sit or lie down and take some deep breaths. Allow your body to relax. See if there is an area that is not relaxing, or that is hurting. Hone in on the place and ask it what it is showing you. See if you get any images or words or information pop into your head. You might have a whole situation come into your head or thoughts of anxiety related to something or someone in particular. You may be surprised to find that your inner voice speaks to you and tells you something important to change.

I remember having a bladder infection that was not responding to antibiotics.  It was painful and horrible.  I had taken antibiotics, but I didn’t know why they weren’t working (in the end I found out I was resistant to the antibiotics they gave me).  I was sitting in the bath begging the infection to go away.  In desperation, I asked my body what I needed to do in order to get rid of the pain and the infection.

Clairaudiently, my inner voice told me a list of things that I needed to do to change the situation I was in that was causing me stress.  Even though I had been in pain and anguish before that moment, my body suddenly let go of all the tension I was holding and the pain seemed less because I realized that I was in control of my pain and my life.  I just needed to listen to my body, which was holding me hostage to make changes.

What is your body telling you? Please share your experiences in the comments section below!