5 Things Your Body is Telling You About Your Stress
The body carries our stress and stress tends to build up slowly over time. The body is actually pretty good at handling a fair amount of our burdens. It does eventually count on you though. It counts on you to process, deal with, and release this stress. Think of an athlete who taxes their body to the max - strained muscles, a buildup of lactic acid and so on. With the proper recovery, the body can bounce back from this intense amount of exercise (stress). In fact it even bounces back stronger! But it is the recovery time that is imperative. The body reacts the same way to emotional and mental stress. When we don’t give ourselves the time to recover from mental and emotional stress the body cannot bounce back. Eventually a threshold is reached and symptoms begin to spill over.
The other neat thing about the body is that it tends to carry our mental and emotional stress in patterns. This is helpful because often times we are completely unaware of what is really going on for us deep down. You can use your physical symptoms to lend insight into the sorts of mental and emotional issues you need to have a look at.
Here are 5 things your body is telling you about your stress:
1. Neck Pain
The neck is designed for mobility and flexibility. It also supports the head, and allows for us to look around in many directions getting a variety of perspectives. Issues with the neck relate to self-devaluation, negative thoughts, and harsh judgments of self. There is an inability to support self. It can also indicate resistance in facing building issues in life. They are being confronted with opinions and ideas that contradict their own and there is a desperate desire to hang onto their point of view. Full movement of the neck allows us to direct our attention in any direction; limited movement can signal resistance around looking into the past (left), looking ahead to the future (right) or simply an inability to direct attention where it is needed. This stems from feeling over burdened with responsibility.
2. Lower Back Pain
The lower back forms the base of the spine. It provides a foundation and support for the upper body and is the pivotal point for all body movement. It is related to the ability to feel secure and solid in life. When there are problems with the lower back it signals issues with money and basic needs - survival is being challenged. The foundation from which everything is built has become unstable. There are feelings of being overburdened and under supported creating self-doubt, competence-anxiety, and weakness. Feelings of injustice begin to surface and life doesn’t seem fair. There is a desperate seeking of support and nurturing from others.
3. Shoulder Problems
The shoulders allow for lifting, carrying, and movement. Issues with the shoulders are related to feeling burdened by life, carrying the weight of the world, and feeling overly responsible for others. The experience is one of carrying all the problems with no assistance or joy. There is fear around the heaviness of life and a tendency to make life a drag. Symptoms in the shoulders can also reflect a desire to overprotect the emotional heart from feeling hurt. Underlying this is usually a long history of negative experiences relating to hurt and vulnerability that have not been properly processed.
4. Knee Problems
The knees allow bending and moving with flexibility. They are associated with fear and willpower (the will to live). Problems with the knees indicate an overemphasis on free will, a need to control, and rigidity. There is an inability to surrender to the spontaneity of life. This leave little capacity for forgiveness and compassion towards others. Issues here also signal deep conflicts with direction and purpose. There are paralysing fears challenging the meaning of life and an underlying sense of mistrust. Beliefs about what are considered truths are being threatened and the direction of life is changing.
5. Muscle Tightness, Strain and Pain
Muscles are the only tissue in the body that have the ability to contract and therefore move other parts of the body. They function in the maintenance of posture and body position. They also relate to strength, movement, freedom, flexibility, and integration. When there are problems with the muscles, it can relate to caution about new experiences and resistance to unfamiliarity creating fear that leads to immobilization or weakness. There is great difficulty in coordinating the execution of tasks. Muscles and tissues also store unprocessed emotions and when there is pain or tension here it indicates that unsettling memories are surfacing.
These clues can help you begin to heal your emotional pain and allow your body to release the burdens of carrying your stress. Be curious and allow yourself to explore some of these topics. Our iWonder App provides a library of thought provoking questions that allows you to explore the mental and emotional blocks at the root of your symptoms.
Thank you for reading!
“The state of wonder is an ability to look at the big picture, to be able to sift through and focus on only the most critical information without the usual self-judgement or assumptions. Wondering is the art of letting go all that you know to be true, especially that which you are certain about and have experienced. It is giving yourself the space and time to be curious and see blocks or problems from a different angle.” - iWonder