The Stress Factor

From this great little book, Instant Healing, by Serge Kahili King, we have this nice little article about the stress factor and how it relates to illness and healing:

No matter what kind of disharmony one is talking about, no matter what the name is of the disease or illness that may be involved, and no matter whether the condition is primarily physical or mental, there is always some degree of physical tension present.

It’s common to think of tension as a result of illness, except where certain kinds of stress are thought to contribute to illness, but let’s play with another idea. What if tension were not an effect of illness, but the cause? If this were so, then all one would have to do is promote healing would be to relieve the tension.

Before I discuss relieving tension, however, it will be useful to examine the ways in which tension builds up in the first place. I’ll begin by looking at the source of tension itself, a thing called “stress.”

According to Miriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, stress is “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation” and “a state resulting from a stress, especially one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.” In plain language, this means that different kinds of stress can cause tension in the mind and body, and that we can get “stressed” or tense from resistance to change.

In another part of the definition, I have substituted the word “thing” where Webster used “body or body part.” This section says that stress is a “constraining force or influence, as a force exerted when one thing presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another thing, especially the intensity of this mutual force and the deformation caused in a thing by such a force.”

The plain language translation is that stress is not only the action of pressing, pulling, pushing, compressing or twisting. It is also the reaction of pressing, pulling, pushing, compressing, or twisting against the other force. Stress isn’t stress unless there is resistance. It is the resistance that causes the tension, and the tension that causes the problems.

Note also that a “constraining force or influence” can also come from a lack of something, such as food, water, or love, and is not limited to something active.

Stress in and of itself, isn’t bad. It’s vital for building muscles, moving, breathing, motivation, and a number of other things that are useful and necessary. But if you try to lift a heavy weight for too long, the muscles will break down instead of build up. If you eat so much healthy food that your stomach is ready to burst, you are doing yourself more harm than good. If you try to save the world by making people change, you’ll be so stressed out that you’ll accomplish very little.

Examine your own experience and you will find that it is not just the ordinary stress of daily living, but excessive sudden stress (acute stress) or sustained excessive stress over a period of time (chronic stress) that causes the severe problems. Too much tension, one could say, although “too much” will differ among individuals and circumstances.

A  deeper explanation of the different types of stress can be found here:

Many modern healing systems are often ineffective because they are overly exclusive. In other words, they tend to treat illness as being caused only by physical or emotional or mental or spiritual conditions, and to reject some or all of the others as having no bearing on the problem.

Yet tension can come from any of these realms and there is usually a combination of more than one in a particular symptom. Even something as simple as a smashed finger can be related to feelings of guilt, or confusion about a life direction, or to spiritual alienation, or to all three at once.

If the finger is only treated at the physical level, the healing will be slowed down by the tension being maintained by one of the other conditions. A healer ignores any one of them at the peril of the healee. Frequently, dramatic improvement in mental health occurs through nutrition, tumors are removed with hypnosis, and emotional release cures spiritual apathy.

In my view of healing, excessive physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual stress, or any combination of these, cause the excessive tension that produces illness or disharmony. It follows, therefore, that reducing or removing the stress, either the external condition or the internal resistance, would allow a relaxation of the tension that would either result in a healing or greatly benefit the healing process.

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