Stress and pet peeves

People aren't blocks of wood. Stress is empowered by our feelings about things.

In engineering terms stress is the deforming force and strain is the deformation caused by it. We are complicated and so our stressors can be from outside and inside. People often feel stressed (strained) but miss correct attribution. It's easier to blame everything on external circumstances than to honestly answer "why me."

I'm just as prone to this as anyone, so this is me teaching myself as well. Even when circumstances appear to be beyond our control, it is useful to look at how we may have attracted them. This is not to indulge in blaming our self. Taking responsibility can help us towards useful decisions and feeling better about ourselves.

 Signs of stress and strain

One of my clients agreed to their cholesterol tests being used here. The top before, middle during and lower result soon after a disastrous marriage.

As far as cardiovascular risk is concerned the lowest figure in each test is the one used, and was perfect for the first and third tests, elevated in the second during the stressful marriage.

Going to see the doctor is often stressful, if we have concerns about our health, whether on not the doctor wears a white coat. I often have to take a persons' blood pressure twice and mostly the second reading is lower.

Maybe try doing neck muscle stretching. If this hurts, the muscles have been unduly tense. One can be quite unaware of this, thinking it is just normal to feel this way.

What to do about it

Our brain can only work properly if it is fed well. Modern refined carbohydrate foods are addictive and can lead to symptomatic hypoglycaemia.

"Use it or lose it" applies to tranquility as well as muscles. We all need time out for ourselves. Maybe learn meditation or go for walks.

Bates method eye exercises

"A man of forty-four who had worn glasses since the age of twenty was first seen on October 8, 1917, when he was suffering, not only from very imperfect sight, but from headache and discomfort. He was wearing for the right eye concave 5.00D.S. with concave 0.50D.C., 180 degrees, and for the left concave 2.50D.S. with concave 1.50D.C., 180 degrees. As his visits were not very frequent and he often went back to his glasses, his progress was slow. But his pain and discomfort were relieved very quickly, and almost from the beginning he had flashes of greatly improved and even of normal vision. This encouraged him to continue, and his progress, though slow, was steady. He has now gone without his glasses entirely for some months, and his nervous condition has improved as much as his sight.

His wife was particularly impressed with the latter effect, and in December, 1919, she wrote: "In my husband's case, certainly, some such miracle was wrought; for not only was he able to lay aside his spectacles after many years constant use, and to see to read in almost any light, but I particularly noticed his serenity of mind after treatments. In this serenity he seemed able to do a great deal of work efficiently, and not under the high nervous pressure whose after-effect is the devastating scattering of forces. "It did not occur to me for a long time that perhaps your treatment was quieting his nerves. But I think now that the quiet periods of relaxation, two or three times a day, during which he practiced with the letter card, must have had a very beneficial effect. He is so enthusiastic by nature, and his nerves are so easily stimulated, that for years he used to overdo periodically. Of course, his greatly improved eyesight and the relief from the former strain must have been a large factor in this improvement. But I am inclined to think that the intervals of quiet and peace were wonderfully beneficial. and why shouldn't they be? We are living on stimulants, physical stimulants, mental stimulants of all kinds. The minute these stop we feel we are merely existing, and yet, if we retain any of the normality of our youth, do you not think that we respond very happily to natural simple things ?"

Dr Bates 1920 book

The Relaxation Response

I've just been listening to an interview with Dr Herbert Benson on the 2017 Global Stress Summit. You can read excerpts from his book at

In his interview he described how his Harvard medical student subjects were able to achieve the same physiological responses as TM practitioners simply by counting breaths, but not using the counting from 1 to 10 as described on that site as they lost track and so were instructed to just repeat the number 1.

I use the Siddha Yoga chant Om Namah Shivaya. Others are the Tibetan Om Mani Padme Hum and Baba Nam Kevalam used by the Ananda Marga Yoga people. Some people like to use japa mala or rosary beads to occupy a hand and one's attention, while chanting.

Stress ain't all bad - hormesis

One type of stress aimed at health benefits is intermittent fasting. Humanity is adapted to this from our ancestry. Food wasn't easily nor consistently obtained by most hunter-gatherers.

A 2015 review was cautious. Now Valter Longo's group have published their study of a fasting mimicking diet which is very doable and effective.

Childhood infections are needed by our immune system. The Th1 innate immunity develops as children experience them.

Most of the benefit of "anti-oxidants" in our food is because they are mildly toxic compounds produced by plants to discourage insects and foraging animals. Our body ramps up our endogenous anti-oxidants when exposed to them.

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