Take a Break From Stress: Managing Bodily Stress – Tension Relief Practices

Meeting #7: April 21, 2020

Meeting Theme:

An event occurs, our body reacts, our mind “names” the feeling, and we say it’s an emotion (the James – Lange Theory of Emotions).  Can we notice how our body reacts to events, and be OK with the bodily feeling?  If we can do that, then we can “own” the bodily feeling, rather than it “owning” us.  But in order to do that, we must find our inner stillness and silence, so we can “respond” to our body rather than “react.”

Today’s Quotes:

Between stimulus and response there is space.

In that space is our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

— Victor Frankl

When I speak, it is a demand that others remain silent so I alone may be heard.  When I am silent, I hear my true self and reach my soul. When I am silent, I hear with a caring heart. Silence teaches us to know reality by respecting it where words have defiled it. If our life is poured out in useless words, we will never hear anything because we have said everything before we had anything to say. . . . .

— Thomas Merton (from Thoughts in Solitude)

Only when one comes to listen, only when one is aware and still, can things be seen and heard.  Everyone has a listening-point somewhere.  It does not have to be in the north or close to the wilderness, but some place of quiet where the universe can be contemplated with awe.

— Sigurd Olsen (from “Listening Point”)

Gently Guided Meditation: Tension Relief Meditation

Meeting Recording:

Meeting #8: April 23, 2020

Meeting Theme:

The level of stressors in our environment can be overwhelming at times.  But do not confuse “stress” with “emotion.”  Stress is usually experienced as unpleasant, and can trigger emotions (e.g. anger, sadness, fear), but it is a bodily response to challenges that can be managed, but not controlled.

Today’s Quote:

Stress is the nonspecific response of the organism to any pressure or demand.  A Stressor is any stimulus, whether in the external or internal environment, that produces the body’s stress response.

For example: An overwhelming stress response (caused by prolonged starvation, worry, fatigue, or cold) can break down the body’s protective mechanisms. This is true both of adaptation which depends on chemical immunity and of that due to inflammatory barricades. It is for this reason that so many maladies tend to become rampant during wars and famines. If a microbe is in or around us all the time and yet causes no disease until we are exposed to a stress, what is the “cause” of our illness, the microbe or the stress? I think both are – and equally so. In most instances, disease is due neither to the germ as such, nor to our adaptive reactions as such, but to the inadequacy of our reactions against the germ.

– Dr. Hans Selye

Exposure to Stressors → Stress Response (release of Cortisol)

Stress Response =

↑ Blood Pressure

↑ Respiration Rate

↑ Muscular Tensing

↑ “Voiding” Response (bowels & bladder)

↓ Sleep

↓ Gastrointestinal Activity

↓ Immune System Activity

↓ Libido

Gently Guided Meditation:  Chair Stretching

Meeting Recording: