By Chitra Jha
How Chitra Jha discovered that she was stressed, and what she did to heal herself
I have never considered myself to be stressed. After all, I was into spirituality, doing everything to relax my mind, leading an abundant life, and teaching others how to get rid of their stress… Yes, there were some challenges that I still faced, but who doesn’t face challenges? I was well equipped to handle them; or so, I thought! That was until I began a discussion with my publishers about doing a book on achieving freedom from stress.
All my books (three so far) have come through me primarily because I needed them. I have benefitted the most by their wisdom. If anyone else benefits, that is an extra bonus, but the books’ primary job is done on me. Going with the same line of thought, I joked, “This book about freedom from stress is coming to me; perhaps I need it now.” I couldn’t have been more right!
Stress is the natural and automatic response of our body to a perceived threat to our survival. The perceived threat is known as a stressor, which triggers the stress response. The moment we encounter a stressor, the body responds with a state of alarm – making us hyper alert, as though emergency has been declared. In order to handle this emergency a number of enzymes, chemicals and hormones get secreted, switching the hormonal balance from normal to hyper-vigilant states of fight or flight.
What is interesting and noteworthy is the fact that even though the physiology of a stress response remains generally the same in all sentient beings, our stressors are individual and unique. In other words, what I perceive as a stressor may not be perceived as the same by you and vice versa, but the symptoms of stress will be shared by us.
I had arrived at my diagnosis, after taking an inventory of various symptoms that assailed me every now and then. For example, a skin rash on my elbow would flare up. I would experience pain, soreness and stiffness in my limbs. There would be stiffness in my neck and shoulders, as though I was carrying the world on my shoulders. I would clumsily bang into things, as the coordination of my limbs and body would go wonky. I would lose my hair and feel spaced out. I would become extra-sensitive to everything around me. There would be a heightened sense of self-awareness or self-consciousness. I would react to situations, and the reactions would be lengthier.
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