We are all in charge of our own destiny. We cannot choose how others think or behave, but we can choose how we think and behave. The problem is that we expect everyone to share our belief system. Over the past few years, it has become clear that chronic inflammation is the underlying cause of many health conditions including depression, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer to name but a few. Now inflammation in the body is not all bad. Our stress hormones go through a series of processes to keep the body alive. Our pupils would become dilated and sugars are released into the blood stream to help us run faster for escape. Our muscles and liver cells within the body would become resistant to the hormone insulin, so that no more sugar would remain in the blood stream, rather than being diverted to our muscles for storage and thus be available for the most important organ of all, our brain. Our heart would beat faster, and our blood pressure would rise to ensure we could move quicker. Our concentration would become heightened and our brains hypervigilant to any possible threat. Our immune system messengers or cytokines would become ramped up and start sending stress signals all over the body, our blood platelets would become activated, to prevent clotting from any injuries that might be coming our way. At the same time our libido would plummet, and digestion would be switched off. In those moment our body goes away form procreation and digestion.
The big problem for us living in modern society is that we are over stimulated by stress responses. We are living in a stress pandemic. The WHO (World Health Organization) calls stress “the health epidemic of the 21st century.” Around 80% of UK GP visits are thought to be connected to stress.
Human beings are set up to survive, however we will live in the amygdala if we are not careful. The amygdala is a key component of the emotional brain and consists of two small almond shaped areas. They grow when we experience constant stress over a period of time. The amygdala is an alarm system for trouble. The more it swells the more it becomes sensitive to the environment. When the emotional brain has grown too powerful, you will sense danger everywhere. For example, the smell of a summer barbeque could be interpretive as a house fire. A rushed email form your boss could look like he hates you. An innocent glance at a friend can become hostile. The very way we get ourselves in this dangerous state is to consume mainstream and social media. If you are using social media the way I do, you need to find balance in other areas of your life.
We will automatically avoid pain and seek pleasure, avoid the predator and seek prey, avoid challenge and seek ease, (Dr. John Martini). University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman categorised hundreds of people into three groups based on how they pursued happiness. Seligman found that people who pursued the Pleasant Life experienced little happiness, while those who pursued the Meaningful Life, and the Engaged Life were very happy. Raul Aguirre recently reminded me of the ideas of Dr John DeMartini on the Pleasant Life path: “We attract into our lives the opposites of what we seek”. To seek to avoid pain, is to invite pain in. To seek to avoid problems, is to invite problems in.
Which one are you??
- The Pleasant Life: People in pursuit of the Pleasant Life seek happiness by looking for pleasure. They are good at savouring the moment and making their pleasures last.
- The Engaged Life: People in pursuit of the Engaged Life seek happiness by working hard at their passions. They can immerse themselves so deeply in their passion that they sometimes come across as cold and uncaring of the needs of others.
- The Meaningful Life: People in pursuit of the Meaningful Life use their strengths to work toward something they feel contributes to a better world.
Childhood adverse experiences will also influence our health and our fight or flight reaction. Children and adults who have been victims of violent crime or been active in the armed forces have a stronger likelihood to live in stress than others. This is recognised as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome).
When you are inspired by what you do in life, you cannot wait to go to work. People at work can always tell if you are enthused. People pay for my presence and service. They go together as a team. By engaging in a practice of meditation I am more likely to be psychologically engaged in my intuition. In life you should be loved for who you are. Not for what others expect you to be. It’s always important to fill the day with high priority actions, rather than low priority actions. Do not fear the future, ride life with it’s ups and downs as that’s how we grow.
“Life should be surrounded by love, not by fear. It is fear that creates anger. It is fear that ultimately creates violence. Have you watched? Fear is only a feminine form of anger and anger is a masculine form of fear. Fear is a passive form of anger and anger is an active form of fear. So you can change fear into anger very easily, and anger into fear – very easily.
“I say, ‘You just try!’ And it becomes a revelation even to them. If they can beat the pillow in real, hot anger, immediately fear disappears, because the same energy turns and becomes active. It was inactive, then it was fear. Fear is the root cause of hate, anger, violence.”
Joseph Campbell – Heroes Journey