Stress can destroy you from the inside out — I’m a perfect example

I have pretty bad back pain. Three of my vertebrae aren’t exactly in the right place, so that combined with a day job where I sit all day at a desk disproportionate to my height means some pretty serious issues.

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In the last month, I’ve seen an osteopath, a Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex (P-DTR) massage therapist and an Ayurvedic practitioner. Though their fields of work seem far apart, their main focus remains the same: the body.

Each of them told me, in their own words, that my body is in stress mode, with tension the most intense in my chest and neck area — basically, my heart and throat chakras are blocked due to emotional stress and anxieties.

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A bit of a bummer… I was hoping that my back pain (that also extends to my neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees) could be fixed with some physical therapy. Looks like I need actual therapy, therapy.

The Ayurvedic practitioner, Vanesa, explained it best:

As a pitta-vata type, my natural strength lies in being a leader. I am assertive, strong-willed and determined. Yet, over the last few years I’ve been told by supervisors that “I am not the boss. If I am told to do something, the only appropriate response is ‘yes, of course.'”

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So, when Vanesa told me I need to assert my pitta, my immediate response was: “I’ve been told I come off too aggressive and people keep telling me to sit down.”

Her answer: show compassion to yourself, and to others.

Hmmm…

My imbalance, she explained, is that I am too harsh on myself; I compete against myself and am always questioning how I could have done something better or faster — and then, this high (impossible) standard that I hold myself to, I project onto others.

My intense emotional imbalance isn’t just blocking my chakras — my out-of-place vertebrae are directly associate with the heart… and control — but it’s also starting to cause additional problems.

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I’ve started having problems catching my breath because my diaphragm isn’t moving properly… because it’s getting stuck in my chest and causing blockage on my right side, where the liver is — the organ associated to feelings of anger.

At one point I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t get my heartbeat to calm down to its normal resting rate — usually 52 beats per minute — and I felt such a heavy weight hovering over me that I was feeling nauseous almost all the time.

It’s a bit of a bummer to find out that your physical pain can’t be fixed with a quick massage or a chiropractor’s crack.

My prescription: daily meditation, self-care practices (like oil pulling and dry brushing) and practicing compassion towards myself.

I also had to make two difficult professional decisions that meant cutting back on work to take care of myself.

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It’s still a little early to tell how that has changed my stress and anxiety levels, but I’m really looking forward to being able to breathe a little easier for the first time in…two years?
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