Thursday, April 26, 2012

Puzzle Perfect?

Image courtesy of Andronicus Riyono.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of working on a jigsaw puzzle, only to discover a piece missing or damaged?

Imagine the world as a giant jigsaw puzzle, and human-beings representing the individual pieces of that puzzle. There’s a catch, though. What if the formation of the puzzle pieces were dependent upon how healthy you were emotionally, mentally and physically? The individuals who looked after themselves would be the puzzle pieces that were well-formed. Those who had work to do in the aforementioned areas would be represented by puzzle pieces that had rough edges and didn’t quite "fit" or were missing altogether.

If you want a healthy, whole planet you need to start with yourself. What do you need to do in order to make your "puzzle piece" (you) fit well or even be in the jigsaw puzzle that is your world?

Think globally, act locally. 
This also applies to healing yourself, your family, your community and so on. Or, as I like to call it, TOTOM - "Theory of the oxygen mask". You've heard the pre-flight instructions, “In the unlikely event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on before you attend to your children.” 

If you are feeling breathless, weak or tired there is a good chance that you are running out of oxygen, which is no big surprise since one of the physiological changes that occurs during stress is that you begin to chest breathe. Prolonged bouts of chest breathing do not draw in as much oxygen as when you breathe diaphragmatically.

What can you do? 
Eat right, get exercise, ensure you get adequate rest, make time for fun. Things you've heard before and you know. 

Knowledge and Application
These are two very different things. What is getting in the way of the application of your knowledge? An often over-looked factor is stress. Not only does it affect you with very real physiological changes which contribute to a number of illnesses (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, immune and hormonal dysfunction), it also accelerates aging, diminishes your problem-solving skills, dampens your creativity, and inhibits your ability to relate well to others. In other words, it limits your capacity for joy and could result in either a damaged or missing puzzle piece (you). 

Before reading on . . .
Stop for thirty seconds. How would your life be different if you felt more joyful? What would that mean to you and your friends and family members?

Stress is an inside job.
It is your interpretation of external events that produces internal distortion or strain.

It is your perception of the events and interactions that causes your body to go through fourteen hundred chemical changes. It’s your reaction that
triggers a very real and measurable physiological change in your body that produce side-effects, some of which can last as long as thirteen hours after the stressful event.

Many traditional approaches to stress management rely on "getting away". Remember that some of those stress hormones stay in your body for up to thirteen hours and are cumulative. While you await your appointment, class or vacation to help you de-stress, your body is still responding long after that stressful event.

Other techniques that can be effective are self-monitoring, deep breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, meditation, self-hypnosis, imagery, visualization, affirmations and stress coaching.

Balance your nervous system regardless where you are.
In rush hour traffic, while the kids are arguing or during a sales call. So, until you have time to have a hot bath or go to the spa or for a run, do something good for yourself by learning to activate the power of your heart. In so-doing, you heal yourself and your world...one heartbeat at a time, by acting locally, working from the inside (of your body) out! 

Effect a change globally and complete the jigsaw puzzle that is our world.

3 comments:

  1. What a terrific post, Marianna!

    I especially like and agree with your statement: "It is your interpretation of external events that produces internal distortion or strain."

    This was something that I used with my clients last year when trying to help them feel less stressed and in control.

    I remember giving them the example of seeing a long line and you could choose to have one of two reactions:
    1) oh, this is dreadful, I'm going to be here for at least half of an hour and as you are thinking these thoughts, you will be getting upset and uptight or
    2) ok, it looks like it will be a while - I could use this time to either listen to some music I like or I could read a book and as you decide and choose, you will be feeling relaxed and looking forward to your chosen activity.

    And you could apply this type of thinking to any event that happens - an event is an event - how you choose to react to that event is up to you.

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  2. Instead of jigsaw puzzles, I solve crossword puzzles. Your theme resonates with me. My daily or at least attempted daily visits to the park in the evenings and perhaps to a cafe with a friend is all that I can currently look forward to for getting away!

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  3. Dorlee,
    I like that example of the long waiting line. Very practical.

    Ramana,
    You also "get away" in your blog rounds. Canada, Ireland, the U.S. and parts in between.

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