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Stress Energy Alignment

Updated: Jan 20

Part 1 of a 3-Part Series


This past year, I had to visit a chiropractor for the first time.


I had started jogging again and was having sharp pains down the back of my leg. It turns out my spine was out of alignment. This was creating pressure on my sciatic nerve, which led to the leg pain.


The plan to recovery included chiropractic adjustments, stretching, and temporarily switching to walking to give my body time to heal. I also had to invest in a good pair of running shoes with insoles that supported my high arches.

I’ll be honest – I saw all of this as “fussy.” It’s inconvenient to take time out to go to a chiropractor. It takes time to stretch. It costs money for the chiro visits AND the shoes AND insoles. And then there’s the fact that walking takes longer to go the same distance than jogging. NOT EFFICIENT.


Could I have chosen not to invest time and money, kept jogging, and taken the chance that my body would still heal on its own? Yes. We all have free will to make our own choices. Choosing to take these actions got me me back jogging without sciatic pain, and it’s been that way for over a year now. They were the right choices for me.


So what does any of this have to do with personal stress, energy, and alignment? Let’s find out…


Stress


What immediately comes to mind when you hear the word: stress?

Chances are that one or more of these things came to mind:

  1. Finances

  2. Work pressures

  3. Family obligations, including being a caretaker

  4. Certain relationships

  5. Worry over “what might happen” or “what might not happen”

As I learned from one of my new chiropractor friends, Dr. Amanda Carver, having a certain level of stress is actually a good thing. Cortisol, often called the stress hormone, is what helps us wake up in the morning and what helps us drive defensively.


Beyond that, each of us has different stress triggers. What causes one person stress won’t impact another person in the same way and to the same degree. Over time, and with increased frequency, our individual triggers can contribute to stress overload. This is when stress levels cross over into unhealthy levels. It will look different for each of us, but there are also some patterns we can recognize to know when we’re getting to stress overload.


We’ll go deeper into the topic of unhealthy stress throughout this three-part blog series, but before we do, I’ll introduce energy and its relationship to stress.


Energy

When you hear the word energy, you may think of electricity. Maybe even a light bulb.


A light bulb produces its full energy level each time the switch flips on. A 60-watt bulb will always produce 60 watts of energy; a 75-watt bulb will always give 75 watts. It does what it was designed to do.


As humans, our energy isn’t that consistent. It ebbs and flows. Similar to the stress triggers described earlier, what increases (or decreases) our personal energy is unique to each of us.


Think back to times where your personal energy was at its lowest. What were the circumstances? What caused you to feel less hopeful in those circumstances?

Now think back to times in your life that your energy was at its highest. What were the circumstances? What caused you to feel hopeful in those circumstances?


Chances are that during the times you experienced higher energy, it was due to:

  1. Having less responsibility than you do now, or

  2. You were adding value in a way that aligned with your personal skills, abilities, and/or values. You were doing what you were designed to do.

“Right Action”


I have good news – you can increase your personal energy level, and reduce your stress level, regardless of your circumstances.

Remember my chiropractic example at the beginning of this post? My physical pain was due to my back being out of alignment. My back knew what it needed and reacted to the circumstances by creating pain. From there, it was up to me to take “right actions,” like going to the chiropractor, stretching more, and investing in better running equipment, which helped me heal and allowed me to continue to pursue my goals.


I call them “right actions” because they were the right actions to move me forward under those circumstances.


When we’re under stress, or if our energy is low, we may choose actions other than “right actions,” such as:

  1. Immediate gratificationchoosing short-term solutions to avoid pain or release pressure in the moment, but it doesn’t have an overall positive impact. This causes more stress.

  2. Inactionlearned helplessness. It’s like being in a cage with the door open to get out, but choosing to stay in the cage, which causes more stress.

So how is it that we can increase energy and lower stress regardless of circumstance?


It’s our choices – specifically those that align with personal accountability. Choosing to take right action.

The Stress & Energy Spectrum


As I wrap up this first post, I’ll introduce the Stress & Energy Spectrum. The basic concept is that each of us will experience stress and lack of energy throughout our lives. When we remain within the “range of acceptability,” we can maintain acceptable energy and stress levels.

In the next post, I go deeper into what it looks like to get stuck in Resignation and Resistance, both of which are outside the “range of acceptability.” Both decrease energy and increase stress.


You’ll then see how applying” right actions” can have an immediate positive impact.


Recommended Resources


For those wanting to get more information now, I recommend the following resources related to this topic.


By Cy Wakeman:

By F. Remy Diederich:

By John Miller:

By Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzer:


Schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation to discuss your specific needs and support options.



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