Joie de vivre can be described as a keen enjoyment of living. Are you embracing a life filled with joie de vivre or are you just breathing? Hopefully, you wake up looking forward to the day, but if you are like 95% of the population you may wake up every morning filled with a sense of anxiety about all that you need to do. If your life is merely about accomplishing your daily tasks, and all you do is worry about crossing each task off your to do list, then the way that you spend each day may not be in line with your life purpose.
Why do we stress about things that are not important to our higher purpose? Because we get caught up in society’s commercial pattern. We are bombarded with advertising that brainwashes us to believe that true happiness comes from owning things and that possessions will bring us peace and fulfillment. So we work hard and we fill our life with unnecessary stress to pay for all our purchases. Unfortunately, most of those driven towards wealth for this reason will never find true happiness. This is why some people feel they never have enough, because every time they purchase something they really desire or they achieve certain financial goal they don’t feel that true inner happiness they hoped for. The cost of it all is deteriorated health.
According to Bruce H. Lipton author and a well known scientist, stress is the number one reason behind all disease. How can our perception of the world give us health problems? Lipton explains that it is related to a mechanism in the human body called the HPA axes (Hypothalamus pituitary adrenal glands). The hypothalamus is the part of the brain responsible for how we perceive and respond to the outside world. When observing the world, the hypothalamus decides if this perception supports growth or requires a protection response. The body cannot be in a growth and protection mode simultaneously. When we are stressed for a prolonged period of time, the body goes into a protective mode and is therefore unable to grow.
To preserve energy when we feel stressed, our body minimizes other important systems as well, one of them being the immune system. The immune system and adrenaline system both exist to protect us, but from different things. The adrenal system protects us from external threats outside the body, whereas the immune system protects us from threats like viruses and bacteria inside the body. The body will always recognize stress from the outside world as more important than the stresses within the body. The intelligence of the body decides that running away from a tiger is of greater importance than fighting a bacterial infection. And as the body can’t carry out both functions simultaneously it chooses the HPA (the release of stress hormones) system.
Interestingly this has been known to the medical field for a long time so in case of organ transplants where the body’s immune system needs to be suppressed temporarily stress hormones are injected into the receiver body for this purpose. What does this mean in your every day life situation? It means that if you are feeling too stressed too often you are both suppressing your immune system and inhibiting growth of the body. And this is why we tend to catch flues more often when we are stressed. It also means that you are aging faster, you are not generating new cells at the same pace as you should be and you are also keeping toxins within the body. So it is not that we have more bacteria and viruses attacking us these days, different forms of bacteria and viruses have always been there. The difference is that in today’s society we are in general more stressed and it is therefore more difficult for the body to fight them off.
Another side effect of excess stress is that it can inhibit conscious thinking as it restricts the blood flow into the frontal lobe of the brain where we do conscious thinking. The blood travels more to areas of the reflex centre the brain where it may be needed. This means that when we are stressed we are less intelligent because at that point our intelligent and logical thinking may be impaired. Instead, we are emphasizing our reflexes. I am sure that you have at some point, perhaps too often, experienced forgetfulness, and diminished ability to focus or think logically when you felt stressed.
Our bodies are designed to use our stress responses only during short periods of time. In today’s society many people experience stress all the time and this is in fact the main reason behind diseases.
Now that you know how stress affects your health and your life I want you to ask yourself if you think that the current stress level in your life is helping you to achieve your higher purpose. Becoming aware that you, along with majority of society, have been conditioned to think and behave in certain ways is the first step towards change. The second step is to ask yourself how important the things you stress about are to your higher purpose.
The third step is realizing that change only comes through changing your own perception of what truly is important to you. Remember that stress is only a feeling created by YOU in response to external stimuli that YOU receive as stressful. This takes us back to the conclusion that in fact it is our perception of the external world that makes us sick. Instead of fixing the physical body it is often our own perception we need to change.
It is not what we get but rather who we become that is of true importance to us. At the end of your life you will remember the experiences you have gathered and the people you have loved rather than the things that you had.
Become true to your own purpose because that is what life is all about. A person on a path away from his or her purpose is a lost person without a compass. A person without a purpose is a person who will never find true inner happiness and peace.
Helga Marin Bergsteinsdottir
Health and Wellness Coach