My journey with stress and – why I founded bhuti
In my 10 years of studies of yoga, yoga therapy and other modalities, learning about mental health and physical conditions it seems to me that stress is the biggest cause of illness and suffering.
But stress is a totally normal condition – it is the response which has sustained us as a species for millions of years. It has enabled us to sense and flee from danger.
The problem is that in the modern ‘western’ lifestyle there is no let up. What we consider in this day an age as being calm, 100 years ago would have been seen as a stress state.
We have got used to being in ‘fight of flight’ the stress response from the moment we awake to when we go to bed. Many of the things we choose to do to relax are perpetuating the stress response, and in this state our organs don’t function, our sleep and digestion are affected and year by year we are aging, and wearing ourselves out. The light, and content on our mobile phones I would say are one of the most universal and significant causes of stress. Notifications from work or things that are needed to be done, the pressure of social media where you see friends, colleagues living an amazing life causing self criticism, doubt, fear. It is a constant intrusion and reducing our attention span.
The stress response begins by the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area of the brain functions like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that the person has the energy to fight or flee. Our hormonal system produce adrenalin and cortisol, sends blood away from all of our major organs, to our limbs ( so we could run from danger), our heart rate increases, and our brain function
All stress is trauma and the effects of trauma have been well studied in those with accute life circumstances to those in the corporate world.
Stressed Out Wellbeing Business Owner
Stress Awareness Month started in 1992, which interestingly was the year my dad died from a rare form of cancer, I believe was caused by his stressful lifestyle. He had been an alcoholic but cleaned up 7 years before he died which was during a major financial recession and he and my mum were at risk of loosing the Nursing Home business they had built up for 15 years. They ran a business to benefit the elderly residents not to make massive profits but to offer excellent care for peoples last days and years of life. Loosing my dad suddenly and so young has marked my life and led me into a journey of discovery physically, mentally and spiritually. Taking up yoga, learning about optimum nutrition and lifestyle changes to avoid falling into the same traps he did. But of course I did fall into the same traps and when 28 I tried to take my life in a period of burnout when I was highly stressed working in the hospitality industry without a break week after week. This led me to learn meditation and later qualified as a yoga teacher. My mother found solace in a retreat centre called Tyringham at the time of my dads death which seemed to heal her of her bereavement and the massive amounts of stress she was under. That was when I was 12 and later in my 30s when I was looking for a new direction, I discovered it was my dream to create a place like that retreat centre that saved my mum where people could come and de-stress and ultimately heal, and find natural and preventative ways to be well.
Bhuti was born in 2015, doors opening in 2016. Again I fell into the stress trap in running a business with no business partner and very limited finances. I was separating from my husband at the time, and used my share of the sale of our family home to start the business because I firmly believed in what we offered and the world and our community needs places and offers like ‘bhuti’. I suffered again from stress and burnout towards the end of our time in our first premises after 7 years. But I am a firm believer in we teach what we need to learn ourselves and as I trip up through life, these are gifts I learn, to be able to share and help others in avoiding the same pitfalls. I truly believe this is my purpose and I’m also to heal the wounds of my ancestors who suffered unnecessarily, with addiction and other ill-health as a result of stress. I want to help you live a more joyful and less stressful life.
What is stress doing to you.
Do you have trouble sleeping? Problematic digestion? mood swings? Alcohol or drugs to unwind? Difficult relationships? Frequent illness? Craving sugar? Brain fog? Struggling to concentrate? Anxiety or depression? Panic attacks? Fear of meeting people or going outside? Weight gain? Excessive weight loss? Unable to find joy in anything?
Taking time to get out of the stress response as regularly as you can will radically transform your resilience to reduce the impact of difficult circumstances around you so you don’t get so stressed in the first place and also to counter the effects of stress when you go into them.
As I grew up in business owner household, stress was the standard state we were all in, I have discovered through the work or experts like Joe Dispenza that we can get addicted to certain states, the chemicals stress and cortisol which are released when we are stressed are addictive.
How I De-Stress…
Everything we offer at bhuti will allow you to stress less and deal with stress. But here are some of the things I do in order to better manage my stress and to recover from stressful times or periods.
Yoga – any yoga class I know will de-stress me. Yin and restorative has the most de-stressing effect at the end of the day and this is great for someone who feels inflexible or unfit and feels that yoga is not for them. If my stress is showing up as irritability, frustration, or anger, I may do a more dynamic yang class first, vinyasa, or kundalini to move and shift the energy.
Meditation – still yoga. I learnt Deepak Chopra’s Primordial Sound Meditation in 2008 with my teacher Peggy O’Hare (like TM) and then in 2018 a top up in Vedic Meditation with London Meditation Centre. You are given a mantra which is scientifically proven to be the most effective forms of meditation changing your brain waves to be more coherent, going int an alpha state, and initiating the rest and digest response (the counter effect to the fight of flight stress response) to be able calm the nervous system and recover from the stress state.
Chanting – still yoga this is bhakti yoga. Sound meditation amplifies the effect of mantra meditation, when we make sound ourselves we can go into a trance state, deeply relax, release trauma, stimulate the vagus nerve which controls whether we are in the fight or flight or rest or digest response. It singing but not in the ‘performance sense’ it is in the self healing sense.
Physical exercise – walking or jogging in nature, swimming, cold water therapy, dancing, tennis , any movement, preferably outside at least 30 minutes daily is essential for me not to feel mad, highly stressed, confused, sad, or overwhelmed.
Food – most of our food, is feeing into our ill health. So called ‘health foods’ are largely processed with chemicals, and with sugar added (sugar exacerbates the effects of the stress response). Food ideally should be fresh the more vegetables, and fruits the better, avoiding processed and avoiding sugar.
Herbal Tinctures – When I have been at my worse and on the verge of getting pharmaceuticals for panic/anxiety attacks I have gone to herbalists first it Was Neals Yard and now Zen Mairti in Chiswick, and drink a tincture including herbs such as Skullcap, lemon balm, ashwaganda, rose etc that would really help calm my nervous system and take the edge off
Avoid Alcohol – I have used alcohol over my life to overcome shyness, anxiety, and to relax. Though I love great wine, champagne, cocktails at 45 now I realise it generally only makes me feel so much worse the next day. More than 1 drink is a disaster for our physically bodies ( our liver is not meant to have to deal with that toxic load) and it reduces our energy, and physically ability to deal with stress. If under stress best avoided all together. Really??? Yes.
Avoid Coffee – OMG coffee sales are through the roof coffee shops on every street/corner –feeding into our stress, taxing our adrenal glands and again exacerbating the stress response – find alternatives, tea, turmeric, raw or ceremonial cacao I drink mixed with water.
Healthy Relaxation – bath in salt water, massage, sauna, steam, tree hugging, sun bathing, holidays, digital detox days, singing, art, find what you love what makes you feel good ( not drugs and alcohol) and fill up your week with one of these things at least once a day!
Life will keep giving us things which cause us stress – not having enough money, having too much money, having a partner, not having a partner, having too much work, not having enough work, being in the wrong job, career etc. The more stressed life makes us and if we don’t deal with it, we show up in a low frequency state we keep attracting more of what we don’t want, and get more stressed it is a vicious circle or downward spiral.
The Dali Lama and other spiritual teachers like him teach that the path is to find the joy in each moment, no matter what the circumstances. If we wait for our circumstances to change, to be stress free and joyful – we never will be because life is made up of difficult circumstances. I’m not advocating spiritual bypassing, and it is so useful to visit a therapist, healer or other practitioner to dig up and go through the trauma, pain etc that is the cause of some of your stress, I do but there also comes a time when we have to take accountability and ownership and CHOOSE to be joyful and at peace no matter what.
So its making a conscious effort and decision to choose something to be grateful for right now and relax into that and no matter what shit storm you maybe facing, in a moment, breathe, relax and find peace right now in this moment. Creating your own de-stress list and plotting things in your calendar as a priority as you would a meeting with a VIP but this is for you, you are the VIP and this time is sacred for you, your family and your community. Do it now your life depends upon itmmm90.