Last night a journalist rang me, and told me some startling breaking news – hold onto your seat, guys:
The Top Cause of Days Off Work in the UK is Stress.
I know! Shocking! (Yes, this is sarcasm – does it read in print?)
Certainly few will be surprised to hear that stress is a top cause, though it is good to hear that people are finally calling a spade a spade, and taking note.
The journalist asked me how yoga can help people alleviate stress. For most yoga practitioners, this might sound like a no-brainer – you breathe more deeply, you develop an ability to focus, and it down-regulates the stress response of the body’s nervous system. Yoga makes you calmer, right? Anyone who has practiced has experienced this.
Yes this is true, but I wanted to work a little more deeply into the question – and so I posed myself the question – what causes stress?
At the most essential level, I believe the number one cause of stress is not being connected to your own heart. When we connect ourselves to anything that is extrinsic to the deeper current of the heart and our deepest heart’s desires, we experience suffering, and that manifests as stress.
In fact, the practices I use myself and share with my students and clients are all organised around the same principle – when we create a congruent relationship between our heart – our deepest heart’s desires, and our choices, the actions we take – we move from a paradigm of repetition and struggle to a paradigm of evolution and challenge. Even physiologically, the rightkind of stress (like in a hard yoga pose, or an intellectual problem) can be healthy for the body/mind. What is the difference between healthy stress and deleterious stress? That’s a question of alignment. What is meaningful to you? What is your highest aspiration for your own character, for your life on Earth? And are you using effective ways to get and stay connected to what’s most important? Is that alignment in some way a part of everything you do?
I am studying and sharing methods that allow us to create a deep alignment with what’s best and most nourishing in our lives. Regardless of circumstances, when we make this alignment, we open the door to a life of bright challenge and delight as opposed to nagging worry and stress.
It is my deepest heart’s desire that each one of you throws wide open the door to your own heart, and experiences wonder gazing at the richness therein.
Here’s a link to the article in which I was quoted talking about stress! x