Stress is a serious health problem affecting the lives of millions of Americans. Unrelenting stress is considered ‘normal.’ It is interesting to consider the word origins of Caring and Carrying.
We Care... This is the burden we Carry... Because we care - Caregivers carry their stress from day to day.
But as I often tell my patients and students: “There is really no need to save up stress from one day to the next. We can always get fresh stress tomorrow.”
Carrying leftover stress is a form of Self-sacrifice. There is no good reason to save leftovers. Better to throw them out and save ourselves the trouble of becoming some sort of science project at the back of the fridge.
All that sacrificing and takes a toll on our health! All Work & No Play doesn’t just make us ‘dull’ it makes us old and tired before our time.
Sadly, most Americans don’t see it that way. We are a nation that honors Sacrifice. We equate Self-sacrifice with Ultimate Caring.
This is why I believe so many of us fail to see the connection between Self-sacrifice and Stress. We consider Self-sacrifice to be ‘heroic’ and even ‘noble.’ By Self-sacrificing we believe we are giving our best, our ‘one-hundred-and-ten-percent’ to get the job done. We believe by Self-sacrificing we are doing everything we can to meet our 'adult responsibilities.' This is 'deficit spending.' No one can give more than 100%... We will go bankrupt! With this attitude of Sacrifice we very easily wind up in that vicious cycle of chronic stress, chronic tension and chronic pain. Eventually our immune system crashes!
This is ‘The American Way’...
Myofacsial Pain Syndrome, Arthritis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, TMJ Disorder, Migraines, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Crones, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Cancer, Renal Disease, Acid Reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Depression, Chronic Fatigue, Chemical Dependency, Alcoholism...
I call these the ‘Care-givers Diseases.’ These illnesses often befall those who chronically sacrifice their health for the sake of those they love, neglecting and forgetting about their own personal health needs.
There is a heavy price to pay for all this Self- Abuse... And there is a Simple Way to pull ourselves out of the Vicious Cycle - a very Simple Way to turn it around. You could call it Caring for the Caregiver. Caring for yourself for yourself first!
This is what the Chinese call: Qigong.