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Headaches and Stress

Is everything going on in the world these days giving you a headache? If so, you’re not the only one because this is National Headache Awareness Week.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that too many people today are suffering with all sorts of headaches. According to the National Institutes of Health the most common type of headache is a tension headache, which they say is often related to stress, depression or anxiety.

And why is there so much tension these days? I suppose everyone has their own answer to that question, but one thing is for sure: we’re all being affected.

The Stress Factor
Stress is a huge factor in peoples’ lives today; a trigger for headaches, and a catalyst for many other chronic illnesses. And how stress affects your health depends on how you respond to it.

We experience ‘global’ stress, like the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, the conflict in the Middle East, the war in Afghanistan. And we feel it ‘locally’ in countless ways: driving in traffic, shopping in a crowded store, people we run into who are having a bad day, and the list goes on. Each of us has our own unique brew of stress to contend with and manage.

A Simple Step
We’re not the first generation to live in ‘exciting’ times.  Thousands of years ago Chinese Taoists counseled people living in stressful times who wanted peace in their lives to “Lay low.”

In those days that often meant retreating to the mountains. An option that we, in the 21st century, don’t find that appealing. So what to do? One simple step is to read “Hope For The Flowers” to get some inspiration and a fresh perspective for getting down and away from the ‘caterpillar pillar.’ 

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What Do You Say?
Being able to talk in a healthy way — not in a blaming, ranting way — about what’s causing your stress is a huge advantage to you. Talking in a realistic way about your stress enables you to grapple with what’s causing it and figure out ways to diffuse it.
It’s healthy to talk about what’s stressing you out, even if you don’t see any way to change things. Noticing the patterns in your life that feed your stress is an important step toward understanding how to defuse the situations that cause it.

Those of you who come to BIOM for treatment know how much value I place on taking the time to talk about what’s going on. This kind of conversation helps me with a diagnosis, and perhaps creates for you an opportunity for healthy insight.

So who to talk to? Doctors and therapists are an obvious place to begin the conversation. Friends and family are an option too: provided the relationship is a ‘trusting’ one and your friend or family member is not too stressed

More Balance — Less Stress
When your body’s energy or Chi is balanced you have less stress. The body naturally can process a certain amount of stress when it’s balanced. That’s what a healthy nervous system is designed to do. 

Imagine a wetland - like those along the Gulf Coast or anywhere else: as long as it’s healthy it can handle a certain amount of toxicity or storm intensity, but only up to the point where it’s overwhelmed.  So too, your body can only tolerate a certain amount of stress, and beyond that point health begins to deteriorate.

The body is analogous to Nature because it is Nature - from it and of it.

Staying Sane In A Crazy World
So in a crazy world, how do you stay sane? ‘Breathe ... Consciously.’ This is what I call ‘foundational’ Chi Kung.

Take some minutes each day to breathe slowly and deeply, and pretty soon you’ll be saying to yourself: “I don’t feel as stressed out as I used to.”

And when you know how to avoid or minimize stress, you’ll be able to ‘celebrate’ National Headache Awareness Week next year ... because you won’t have any.

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IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.