“Wait, you mean that how you think and how you emotionally process can actually make you sick?”
Yes - that’s the TRUTH. Settle into this blog and let me explain…
I’m here to share with you why cultural stress and the way you think can make you sick, and how that actually happens, not only on a personal level, but a systemwide level. Before we get into how to solve it, I want to share with you the cycle. You may be familiar with this in your consciousness and you’ve probably heard people talk about it in the last two years. ”It’s the system, the system is broken!” Sound familiar?
And yes, while I agree with some of that, we have to take responsibility as far as leaders and how we are involved in some of the problems as well, in order to take new action, have new insight, and step into a new paradigm of what health actually is. Before we get future, I’m going to ask you and invite you to comment, like, subscribe on this blog (or blog post), and let me know what other concepts and content you want me to talk about when it comes to health and consciousness and overall wellbeing in your life.
So…let’s get into it!
Here’s a little breakdown for you. It’s evident that a predominant cultural narrative exists that we all live into most often. What I mean by this is the messages we get from social media, from the news, probably your coworkers, and friends. And this is most often rooted in fear i.e, “protect yourself, watch out, take all the necessary precautions so that you don’t get sick, or you don’t get injured or X, Y, Z.” It doesn’t really matter what the topic is.
When it comes to determine the energy of the narrative, we must ask, “What is the messaging? What is the languaging and what is the psychology that’s being used?
Again, I’m not here to create arguments, just to recognize that majority of the messaging we receive from the culture is oftentimes rooted in fear. Now, when we’re steeped in that, over days, over weeks, over months and over years, what happens is we respond because we’re communal beings. We’re not separate from the culture and our nervous system processes such messaging. As a result, there’s an increase in this stress hormone called cortisol, and you have probably heard it.
This is the stress hormone that tells us, “Hey, you are in real danger! It’s time to run away from the predator, or it’s time to fight it.” So our body releases things like cortisol, adrenaline, and other endorphins to help us get out of this situation. It’s important to note that your brain processed “perceived stress” like commercials on TV and actual threats the exact same way neurochemically. As these hormones are coursing through our veins, our body says, “Wait a second, I need fuel. I need fuel for my muscles! I need fuel for my lungs. And I need to make sure that I have enough energy to survive, which either means killing the threat or running away.”
As a result, there’s an increase in what we call “cravings” or simple sugars, processed sugars, refined sugars, things like candy and sweets due to our body being in a state of fight or flight. When our nervous system is in a state of fight or flight, it does not care about broccoli. It does not care about the complex sugars and the complex cards. No, it wants the fast sugar because it needs energy now.
Now, think about this. This works, right? If you fight off your predator or you fight off your threat, great! That cortisol goes down and your body re-balances. However, if you’re constantly in this state and constantly steeped in this cultural stress, your body keeps releasing cortisol, and of course you keep craving different things you know don’t necessarily serve your normal state. So then what happens? Because of our increased cortisol and increased inflammation from the sugar we’re consuming, there’s a decrease in the immune cell response due to elevated neurochemistry in the form of cortisol and inflammation.
Our immune cells function differently when our neurochemistry is in that elevated state of stress. Simply put, the immune cells don’t care as much about fighting the virus. Instead, your body prioritizes running away from the saber two tiger before the viral load. So therefore, our immune cells are impacted and we have a diminished immune response because our body is already in a state of fight or flight for so long. As our immune cell response decreases (i.e, our immunity) what happens then? Over time, our inner adaptability, our fortress, our cellular being decreases in our ability to respond to threats over and over and over again, because eventually, we hit a threshold and our inner nervous system can no longer respond.
Our culture calls this “getting sick.” Now, in the holistic world, I speak about this from a different perspective. As our adaptability hits its threshold, our culture calls that getting sick, or as we say, “symptoms arise.” There’s nothing wrong with symptoms.
Again, it’s not right or wrong, good or bad, but our healthcare system responds to these symptoms in getting sick very differently in contrast to what I recommend to my clients from a holistic fashion. So, as our adaptability changes, we “get sick” or have symptoms. What happens next? We ignore our bodily symptoms even though the symptomatology is screaming at us to pay attention. Due to the culture that we live in, the demands, the stress, the pressure to achieve, we continue to overwork, overdo, and overdrive and not rest due to such demands.
In reality we all know what can exist within the corporate realm: do more, push more, drive more, produce more, and make more money. Even though at the end of the day, when you don’t have your health, no amount of money is going to save you. So then you add more flames and more fuel to the fire. And because we live in a world where the consciousness is to work and “suck it up, buttercup,” a reliance on a quick fix-type strategy forms. In our culture, we have a hard time being okay with discomfort and being okay with just resting and slowing down.
Whether it’s a medication or something to numb the symptoms, we keep going, and we suppress the symptoms. And any time you suppress symptoms, oftentimes it pops up again down the road in another form, unless we get to the cause. So what’s the cause? The short answer - perceive demands of life. If we keep going on this stress train and suppress the symptoms and fail to address the underlying root stressor of why our body is at a diminished adaptability, then the cycle continues. Thus, we go right back into the cultural narrative. We’re steeped in fear once again and our cortisol continues to rise.
We eat things that don’t necessarily serve our immune system or consume things that don’t necessarily support our inner fortress getting stronger. Our immunity decreases once again, cortisols continue to rise, and more symptoms show up. We still feel the demands of probably doing things that don’t align with our inner values and our inner being so we continue to look for the quick fixes (which by the way - quick fixes also exist in the “holistic” realm). The cycle continues again, and again, and again.
Pause. Breathe. I know this might feel like a lot. Stick with me…
You can start to see from this perspective that it can be pretty easy to get stuck in this cycle, even from a young age and live into it when you’re older. So what do we do about this? How do we break this cycle? Well, I’m here to share with you that there are ways to break this cycle even if you feel like you’re really deep within the weeds. I reviewed this cascade to share a different perspective, to share that when our bodies are not operating the way we know we were designed, it’s not just a one-time linear mishap.
Oftentimes, we’ve been in a cycle and in a process for a long time that is very multidimensional and it’s not just equated to one thing. When we deal with stress and “get sick”, it’s not because you were outside in the cold or standing in the rain. It’s a multidimensional phenomenon that over time weakens your body to which you can no longer adapt. So again - how do we break the cycle? One, it’s important to recognize where you are at in “the system” and the cycle. And this is not to judge the system. This is not to bash the system, but recognize where you are not acknowledging where you’re out of alignment with your values.
1. Ask yourself: Where are you potentially not acknowledging that you’re ignoring your body, and where are you pushing through as a result of maybe trying to achieve something you know doesn’t align with your personal mission?
The first step in any sort of change, in any sort of transformation, in breaking any sort of cycle, whether it’s personal or generational or political or in the healthcare system is to recognize where you are playing a part in it. Not to judge yourself, not to blame yourself, not to go into guilt and shame, but rather recognize that you’re human.
And if you’re living in the world right now in 2022, you are probably part of some system that’s dysfunctional in some way because that’s how life is at this time. Recognition is a really great start to shifting. Recognize where your consciousness is in this, and where your actions may not be in alignment with what you know is truly resonating with you.
2. The second step is asking yourself: where can you make subtle shifts now?
Where can you make micro shifts in your actions, in your thoughts, and in your beliefs? I highly recommend starting with asking: what is it that you believe about health? What do you believe to be true about the body?
What do you believe to be true about holistic health, and what do you believe to be true about how you want to live in the world? Checking in with your beliefs and why you believe what you believe is a second great step to start when it comes to breaking this pattern.
3. The last step I’ll leave you with is asking yourself - what is it that you truly value?
What do I mean by that? If you’ve never taken time to sit down and go inward and ask yourself what you actually value in your life, what matters to you? What inspires you?
I’ll drop a link here to a formula I recommend using to determine your unique values. In our culture, we look at studying other things, studying other people, studying other systems and yet, what about ourselves? How much do you know about yourself? Because the more you can know about thyself, you can then impact and influence the world around you from a much more embodied and balanced state. So ask yourself - what are your values?
Are you actually doing and being, and living into your values, or are you living into the projected values of potentially your parents, your friends, and the system around you that tells you a narrative that maybe doesn’t align with how you deeply desire to live? This can manifest in your job, in your relationships, in how you run your business, in how you spend your time and your energy.
We hear all these narratives and projections onto us from other people throughout the course of our life. And we have to recognize one that everyone has a set of values and everyone is trying to live into their values. If the people around you don’t necessarily align with your values, it’s natural to want other people to live into what you deem valuable.
If you haven’t already, go to this link to determine your own values. This stems from Dr. John D. Martini, an amazing mentor of mine. I’ve had the honor of training with him over the course of the last few years.
The more you can be in alignment with what it is you value in life, your nervous system will become more balanced because when we’re not living in alignment with our values, what tends to happen is we live in a state of fear. We think that we have to chase the prize or run away from the experiences that we fear happening and the fantasies that we’re striving for because we’re not in alignment with what actually matters to us. From this place, we operate in this imbalanced state and that can lead to the cycle I talked about before.
When you can actually be in alignment and know what your values are, know what your mission is, know what your vision is for your life, things that challenge you won’t get you down. With clarity comes confidence in all things.
You’ll begin to see the divine balance of everything in the universe because you know there’s something greater within you and all around you. I hope this detailed blog brought you some perspective. I hope it brought you some understanding of where the cycle begins and how to break this cycle and ultimately live into your power and reclaim your life from the inside out.
Let me know what you want to hear, and I look forward to connecting in our next blog.