As I like to remind you every now and then, all the stuff you read on this blog has been road-tested in some way by me, in my own life, circumstances or experiences with others. I don’t write about any techniques that I don’t use myself and that I haven’t seen some significant success with.
So with intro out the way, I wanted to share a few of the ways I’ve been managing my sky-rocketing stress levels, given that I live 5 minutes from the Old City of Jerusalem, where there’s recently been a huge number of people getting stabbed by Arab terrorists.
You can split the stress reaction into 3 parts: spiritual stress, emotional stress and physical stress, and to deal with it properly, you have to tackle it across all three areas.
How to defuse spiritual stress
You already know what I’m going to suggest, don’t you? Nothing but nothing defuses spiritual stress at its source except regularly talking to God, and putting God in the picture. In practice, that means internalizing that God is behind the stabbing terrorists, and that nothing can happen to me (or my family) unless God decrees it.
On the other side of the coin, that means that if God decrees something, there is no way of running away from it (although teshuva can still work wonders at any given moment). Again practically, that means working on my acceptance that God is running the world, and that He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, to whoever He wants – and it’s good.
If that sounds like a tall order to manage, you’re right. It’s next to impossible to really internalize all these things without regular talking to God sessions. Every time I get hit with heavy-duty stress, I up my personal prayer. Often, I feel immediately better afterwards, but even on the rare occasions I don’t, the stressful situation, or my overwhelmed response to it, seems to change and improve rapidly after talking to God.
How to defuse emotional stress
Again, I’m going to focus on practical suggestions and skip all the deeper background stuff about achieving emotional balance and strengthening the three foundations of emotional health. (If you want more details about those things, take a look at Modules 3-5 of the free Talk to God online course, HERE.)
We need to feel that the world is fundamentally a safe place to be to maintain emotional equilibrium – which can be very difficult when you’re in the middle of a mini-war zone. Here’s what helps me to do that:
Physical stress comes in many ways, shapes and forms, but Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is definitely something we all need to be looking out for. PTSD occurs when you’ve been through chronic or acute stress, and some part of your primitive brain is still ‘replaying’ the stressful circumstances at a subconscious level, making you feel permanently wound-up and depleted.
PTSD symptoms include: memory loss, fuzzy brain, thinking the worse is going to happen, jumping at every little noise, inability to concentrate, difficulties sleeping, nightmares, disturbing flashbacks and disassociation, or ‘spacing out’. (If you live in Jerusalem, I guarantee you have at least 3 things on this list at the moment…)
diagram: strengthen bladder meridian acupressure points
You can find details of how to do the following techniques elsewhere on the website, (especially in the Guide to Strengthening Your Meridians, HERE) but this is what’s been helping me defuse my physical stress:
Energy Centre Correlates to Rav Arush's Deeper Need of:
1: Ability to 'be' Emuna (faith)- the foundation of everything
2: Ability to 'feel'; desires Gratitude - I need to thank for what I've already got
3: Ability to 'think' Truth - ego versus the belief that God is running every aspect of our lives and the world
4: Ability to 'love' Unique good point; believing in the unique good point of myself and every other person in the world
5: Ability to 'speak' Purpose - self-expression and self-actualisation
6: Ability to 'see' (big picture) Self-improvement - Things only really change when we start to put God in the picture, and to ask for His help, and see our own limitations
7: Ability to 'aspire' Love and relationships - transcending myself and my desires to love God and others unconditionally
8: Ability to transform Courage - is given to us by God as a free gift, not something we can develop ourselves
Most of the Deeper Needs can be instantly grasped, but courage requires some more explanation. Courage, especially the courage to act on our insights, or to change, or to step out of the box we're in, is a present from God (so breathe out, all those people who have being trying to screw up the courage to make some big changes in their lives, but so far haven't got anywhere...)
In the non-Jewish world, the eighth main energy field is usually equated with God, that Divine presence that manifests itself within each of us as our soul, but is often still considered to be separate and 'above' us, in some way.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to go into each of the eight deeper needs in more detail, to start drawing out what they really are, the spiritual, mental and physical health lessons each one contains, and how to ensure that any ‘gaps’ in our deeper needs are recognised, and plugged accordingly.
In the next post, we'll take a more in-depth look at how the energy centres and deeper needs relate to each other.
Many healing traditions that aren't Western talk about the body having seven or eight main energy centres, or fields. Starting in the 1970s, Western scientists started a series of experiments to try to measure these fields (most notably Valerie Hunt at UCLA's Energy Fields Lab), and found that they do indeed exist. Kirlian photography and spectrogram analysis has also been used to measure and scientifically prove the existence of these eight main energy fields, within the human body.
In other healing traditions, these energy fields or centres are known to directly affect organs, muscles, ligaments and veins, as well as our emotions, moods and reactions. Traditionally, religious Jews have stayed far away from these types of Eastern wisdoms, not least because they have often been directly associated with idol worship practices.
But now that the energy centres have been proven as a measurable, scientific reality, separate from all the idolatrous hocus-pocus, there is scope to use this information in a Jewishly-acceptable way - and that's a lot about what this blog, and my books generally, are all about.
Deeper Needs and the Energy Centres
Anything that genuinely is 'truth' can also be found in the Torah, and Rabbi Shalom Arush teaches us that each of us has eight Deeper Needs.
If we map Rabbi Arush's eight Deeper Needs to the traditional descriptions of the eight main energy centres, or fields, in the body, we start to get a lot of clues about what could be at the spiritual root of our physical and emotional ills.
In the next post, we’ll discover what the 8 Deeper Needs are, and how they relate to your physical and mental health.
For the next 5 days, I’m doing a free Amazon Kindle Direct Promotion of the first book I wrote, called: ‘The Happy Workshop’.
What that means in plain English is that from Oct 1 – Oct 5, you can download the e-version of the book for free, instead of paying $4.99 for it. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free Kindle reader for your PC from Amazon by clicking on the 'get free kindle reader' link next to the book.
To download your free copy of The Happy Workshop, click HERE.
Please pass the link around to anyone you know who needs a bit more joy in their life – every person who downloads the book increases my author rankings on Amazon (that’s the selfish reason…) AND it’s also a pretty good book, if you’re looking for some practical, God-based inspiration and guidance about what’s bringing you down, and how to get happy again.
And last but not least, if you like the book, please come back and write a review. You can review the book on Amazon HERE (any anywhere else you fancy...)