There are times in our life when we are challenged, whether it's physical or emotional. It seems though however, that the emotional challenges exhaust us so much more than the physical.
A physical challenge is in the moment. It's about getting through it and knowing that the pain, lactic acid and strain that your body is going through, will pass either as soon as it's over or not long after an ice bath, massage or just a good rest.
Emotional challenges seem to fall so much deeper. They can create so much more pain. When our heart hurts, it tends to feel like it's physically torn and damaged and there is no limit to how long until it heals. When the emotional challenges that we find we are faced with are created by the negativity, toxicity, bullying, arrogance or simple ignorance of those we assumed were close to us - friends, family etc, they seem even harder to get through.
Many emotions are tapped into - anger, frustration, sadness, stress, fear. Sometimes these emotions seem to hit us all at once, and other moments it feels like they hit us from different angles and we can almost seem helpless.
The stress that we feel as a result of these emotional challenges can simply be exhausting. Over a period of time, the body may experience "adrenal exhaustion". The blood sugar levels decrease as the adrenals become depleted, leading to decreased stress tolerance, progressive mental and physical exhaustion and illness.
A good support network of friends, family and professional support is something that can help us get through these emotional challenges and also help avoid that exhaustion and emotional drain. Talking can sometimes be the antidote that is required.
Meditation to clear the mind and allow us to tap into other areas of our conscious can also be a tool that we can use to control the levels of stress and create a more calm mind set to tackle the challenges that have been set.
Exercise is a great way to release that adrenaline and also to clear our minds, bump up the production of endorphins and is a form of 'meditation in motion'.
My favourite though - would have to be laughter!
Laughter is a wonderful stress-reducer and antidote. A good laugh relaxes tense muscles, speeds more oxygen into your system and lowers your blood pressure. So tune into your favourite sitcom on television. Read a funny book. Call a friend and chuckle for a few minutes. It even helps to force a laugh once in a while. You'll find your stress melting away almost instantly.
Laughter stimulates the immune system, off-setting the immunosuppressive effects of stress. During stress, the adrenal gland releases steroids (which is quickly converted to cortisol in the blood stream) and that elevated levels of these have an immunosuppressive effect. Research demonstrates that laughter can lower cortisol levels and thereby protect our immune system.
Humour gives us a different perspective on our problems. If we can make light out of the situation, it is no longer threatening to us. We already discounted its effect. With such an attitude of detachment, we feel a sense of self-protection and control in our environment. Bill Cosby is fond of saying, "If you can laugh at it, you can survive it." It's sometimes difficult to force a laugh in tense situations. But that's precisely when you need it most. One trick for finding humour in the worst of situations is to blow things absolutely, ridiculously out of proportion. When your scenario reaches the point of absurdity, you begin to smile. The situation is put in perspective.
Now you can calm down.
Stay positive my friends and learn to laugh - learn to laugh a lot!