Posts Tagged ‘Stress Management’

prescription

By Alan Delery

Whenever I still myself long enough to reflect on things, I usually get clarity on life. Past, present and future. It gives me a great sense of peace when I am able to celebrate my accomplishments, forgive myself for my mistakes, enjoy the moment and plan for the future.

When I am not intentional in my practice of reflection, I can easily spend the majority of my life stuck in the unproductive or even harmful thoughts in my head. I noticed this issue when I decided to spend extra time to reflect on and celebrate some accomplishments of my day. I decided to spend 1 minute during a mindfulness practice to simply treat myself by enjoying thinking about and celebrating one particular accomplishment.

While I had a sense of which accomplishment I would enjoy for one minute, I had a hard time naming it in my head. My mind continued to wander on other things. It was like I was determined to dwell on things that I still had to do rather than enjoy the moment of my accomplishment. I began to reflect on the moment that I first completed my task and realized, even then, I hadn’t given myself 1 minute to celebrate. I had done a mental check off the list and quickly moved on.

I got lost in the criticism of myself for not allowing myself to savor the moment. Our minds are good at that. They are always thinking and we have to train ourselves on what we will think on. I was determined not to judge myself and managed to settle on the target of my intention. I regained focus and tasted the satisfaction of my success. It may have only been a minute but it was more than I had allowed myself to do before.

This exercise should be a part of our mental health like lifting weights should be a part of our physical health. There is a physical exercise expression that says, “No pain, no gain” but I’d like to add another one that says, “When we don’t train, we feel pain.”

I am in physical therapy right now for pain that I had been experiencing and after just 2 sessions, I am noticing relief. I thought to myself that if I had simply been doing these exercises sooner, I would not have been in the pain that I was in for as long as I was in it. Some of us are in mental distress because we don’t practice mindfulness or take time to be aware of our thoughts as we think them.

Your mental therapy prescription for today comes from Philippians 4:8-9 and says,  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Stay Peaceful.

P.S. Don’t forget to read our previous post  “Cause for Dogs” and support our youth in their fundraising effort to provide heart-worm treatment for dogs that are eligible for adoption at the LA-SPCA.

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By Alan Delery

shoulder

For those who know me, know that I’ve suffered from frequent headaches. I have been to various doctors through the years but have not determined the exact cause or the remedy for lasting relief. I’m not sure if it’s tension headaches, migraines, stress, food related, water deficiency, some spiritual origin or a combination of several of these causes. I believe this is only temporary and in the meantime, I continue to pray and stay attuned to my mind and body listening to what they might be trying to tell me.

Recently, I think I had a mini breakthrough that has shown some promise of relief. While I was not suffering from a headache, I was using a personal back massage “gadget” that allows a person to target hard to reach pressure points for massage relief. As I was applying steady targeted pressure to my mid shoulder area, I noticed that I triggered a pain in my head that was an exact match to my familiar headache. When I released the pressure, the pain in my head went away. I was able to replicate the same pain on both sides of my head by applying pressure in an exact spot on either shoulder.

Let me stop for a moment and state that I have long been aware that we carry stress on our shoulders and I have used various forms of exercises and stretches to help manage stress but I have never noticed such a close connection between my headache to a specific pressure point. Using this knowledge, I was determined to let my body talk to me to help heal myself. I once read that God allows pain so that we would be aware that there is a problem and deal with it.

Several days later, I became aware that I was starting to get a headache. I grabbed my trigger point self-massage tool and applied pressure to the same spot I had discovered earlier. I also did some shoulder shrugs and in a matter of a couple of minutes, my headache was gone. I am not sure if I ever had pain relief that fast without medicine.

Before anyone gets too excited for me, I have since had a headache that this specific shoulder massage did not help. The good news is that it does help certain headaches and I am learning to listen to my body in a greater way than ever before. I’m using a body/mind connection with more precision.

Several days after this experience of relieving a headache, I was reading in the Gospel of  Matthew and had an insight that I don’t recall having before.

12-15 “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.” —  The Message

While in this passage, Jesus is talking to his disciples about going out in the “harvest” to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, I believe there is a component that can apply as a general principle to live by. The King James translation says, “shake off the dust of your feet” but I appreciate how it is written in The Message as, “Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”

As we go about living our lives, there are people who don’t accept us as we are or there are situations that don’t go just as we have planned and we need to learn to shrug our shoulders and be on our way. We shouldn’t carry these things as a weight on our shoulders as stress that produces all sorts of sickness and disease. Sometimes we have neck, back, and shoulder tension as a result of carrying a heavy weight of care that we need to release. I believe that even when we are doing our godly assignments we can suffer from pain if we do not learn how to release stress and cast our care on God.

There are 3 things that you need to do today. You may not get headaches like I do but if you are carrying any type of heavy weight on your shoulders (mind) it will manifest itself in some way in your life. Your body will tell you if you are carrying stress. First, you need to listen to your body and know that something isn’t right. Second, you need to figuratively shrug your shoulders and let “it” go. Finally, you need to target the manifestation of stress in your body and work it out. You might literally need to shrug your shoulders to release some of the tension out of your body. Take your hand or massage tool and massage your shoulders or some other pressure point in your body.

You need a “Shrug your shoulders and be on your way” attitude. Life is too precious to live it worrying about things.

Do what you know to do and then rest and relax.

“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)

It’s possible that this knowledge is a part of what Jesus meant when he said we are to go out and heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. First, we have to get our inside world right before we can help others.

Have a blessed and peaceful day.