Stress is Killing Us
by Angelo Castagneto
I was very impressed when I started to search for the root cause of stress on people. Usually, I am the type of guy that likes to research until I found enough information that inspires me to create something. Unfortunately, what I found were bad news.
At least 40% of the urban population in China is suffering from high levels of stress. If stress is not well managed or reduced, this can trigger serious mental illness like depression and anxiety. This is just the most common level of mental problems. Higher accumulation of stress can trigger even more serious mental illness bringing people to suicide.
There is also another red alert about body health. 7,500 cases of cancer death are being reported every day. Top cancer in men is lung cancer, top cancer in women is breast cancer. In one of the top cancer hospital in Latin America, is highly recognize that cancer is a body and mental disease. So, is there any relation between stress and cancer? What do you think?
Yesterday I saw a National Geographic documentary called: Stress, Portrait of a Killer, about stress and study with baboons and humans, highly recommended. They scientifically prove that Stress is not anymore a word to describe your levels of workload or lack of willpower, but really affects in a negative way our blood pipes, brain cells, and even our DNA. And, it works in silence.
I wish that’s all, but I have been learning a lot human’s behavior these last years, and maybe is a hypothesis but here is what I found and believe:
STRESS ON MEN 男性的压力
Most of us: Men use to shut up, hold feelings, keep the tears. In the same way, we hide the pain and move forward trying to pretend nothing happen. What we are doing is repressing emotions and at the same time accumulating stress.
Because nobody teaches us about emotions, how to release in a safe way, etc. We grow up accumulating “trash” inside. One day, the trash bin is full, and unconsciously we need to do something. What we do:
-Explode and get mad at the people around us
-Develop diseases like cancer
But some of us don’t even notice these behaviors or patterns, some of us keep all inside and eat that trash again and again, this is what we call “been mean to ourselves”; lack of forgiveness, lack of the power of let go things; resentments, hard feelings, envy, revenge feelings, etc. All these are triggered in some way due to the accumulation of negative emotions, perfect scenario for stress to work in silence.
The most obvious case that got my attention is when stress levels trigger anxiety. Clearly, in China, the biggest addiction, besides overthinking, is smoking. The top smokers are mostly men. This anxiety is created by many other social triggers and psychological scenarios such as:
Belonging to the group 属于某一个集体
A man smoke because the other man smoke, similar thing with drinking – and this happen in your country too. The body gets used to that, creates the negative self-destructive habit and later, you know the results. This behavior has also the background of low confidence, lack of life purpose, low education and more; all these elements influence in the man to develop additions and stay in the negative loop apparently without a solution. There are tons of beautiful traditions in China, the same time a lot of unhealthy traditions. One of them is offering cigarettes as a social welcome, for weddings, meetings, etc. Is almost like shaking hands and say “hi” to men. These “traditions” must change.
Childhood separation 儿童时期与父母分离
Classic social problem is the kids are separated from the mother and raise by grandparents. This separation is hurting more lives than people can imagine but seems things are getting better. Moms are more conscious about this and there is hope for the next generations in China 🙂
There is a disengagement of the kid with the mom’s breast and feeding in the first year of life. This connection between mom and kid is crucial. The extreme low or non-connection and/or excessive connection will affect that balance and development of TRUST. Sigmund Freud calls this the ORAL stage, Erik Erikson called it Trust Vs Mistrust.
The kid is separated from mom since very little, He will grow up with an inner MISTRUST of people around him. What happens when a person doesn’t trust the people around or surroundings? There is no HOPE. HOPE becomes un-existing and HOPE is the ability to see the positive in the future. This explains a lot why so many people fall into high levels of stress, high levels of addictions because they don’t see things can be better later.
The “Horrible” Marriage 恐怖的婚姻
Human’s power is unlimited, but when we feel the root of our anger and frustrations are at home with the spouse, and if we add that men have low hope, Men tend to find “a way” to release pressure outside the home. This phenomenon happens everywhere in the world. Men and Women don’t understand the “mirror effect” in the relationships.
The Mirror effect is when we see all that we don’t like inside of us, reflected on the person that is beside us. At the beginning of the relationships, we don’t see this because we are submerged in a cocktail of chemicals that trick us to find the way to stay together. Once we are together and those chemicals and “magic spell” go back to normal levels, we start to find those things we don’t like our couple, right? Well, think again. What you don’t like, is not her or his problem. He or She is fine the way they are, but you get mad, sad, frustrated, etc. with the things you see you don’t like. In the end, is your trash.
Men see this on the women, mistakenly thinking that he can find something better in another place. This, plus the social environment where sometimes Men tend to think that having an affair is normal and cool, reinforce the scape of stress through a third person in the relationship wasting amazing amounts of personal energy.
STRESS ON WOMEN 女性的压力
Through thousands of years, Women have been suffering the repression of the society. They were treated as slaves, child raisers, sexual objects, and more. That already changed, but the stress from the last generations are still carried by the new generation of women in the world.
There are some social triggers that create high levels of stress, and here some of them:
I AM NOT PRETTY ENOUGH 我不够漂亮
I truly believe that society puts too much emphasis on the external beauty. This comes from hundreds of years ago with amazing sculptures and paintings of what we consider now a beautiful woman. There are ridiculous visual patterns that people accept now so is very easy for us to say who is “pretty” and who is not.
This horrible situation creates unmeasurable amounts of stress on women, why? Women have the creative power, and all creation must be beautiful. Besides the external influence of the beauty concept, women understand inner beauty more than men. They can feel it. That’s why women enter in the inner conflict: Am I pretty?
Self-Acceptance is one of the keys to the development and growth of a person. Self-acceptance means you know who you are, what you are, accept it, and move forward to achieve your goals and fulfill your life.
When a woman (and happen to men too) doesn’t accept herself, you are rejecting your womanhood hence rejecting part of your body that makes you a woman. And which part of our body is the most obvious that makes the difference between a woman and a man? The breasts.
Breast Cancer is growing around the world, there are thousands of campaigns to prevent it, but the media and people are highlighting more and more that distorted concept of “beautiful”, so more and more girls don’t accept themselves the way they are and want to be somebody else, rejecting their original, unique and beautiful image.
ATTACHMENT BEHAVIOR 依恋行为
The separation of mom and kid also affect women of course. There are similar cases like with men, the trust vs mistrust and low hope. But there is something else. There is a deeply serious fear of death.
The superficial desire of the old generation of parents to have sons instead of daughters, brought an unbalance situation today: there are more men than women. Years ago, when the little girl was born, there was this negative energy and potential rejection from this world that creates a deep fear of them carried today. The fear of dying at birth is something that marks people in a silent way. Through the years this fear is hidden in the bottom and covered by new fears, but never disappear.
The little girl will search for protection. And who is the first symbol of protection in the family? The dad.
This is one of the reasons why girls are attached to their fathers, and unconsciously from both sides, there is like a lover’s relationship going on for years.
When the girl is separated from mom and dad and raised by the grandparents, there is something missing there. The grandparent can be as great as the original parents but the real natural connection is missing.
The girl grows up and when she reaches the age of finding a boyfriend, she will search for a similar dad’s caring energy she couldn’t have when she was growing up. When this attachment behavior is not fulfilled, then the struggle comes. Extreme possessive behaviors, desire, jealousy, anxiety, depression, are all connected.
The woman now finds a partner, and will try to give all the love she couldn’t give before, but it is a conditional love. It is a transaction. If the partner doesn’t meet her expectations, painful and stressful situations will come to the surface to try to destroy the relationship.
WHAT TO DO? 该做什么？
I have been there in several of these root causes of stress before. I know what worked for me and what can be better, and I have seen these cases also in my 1 on 1 sessions with my clients. That is why I am sharing this with you. There is more but seems these are the first words and action I am taking to help myself to reduce stress and help people to do the same.
1) The first step is UNDERSTAND what is happening to you. This article is just one piece of information but there is a lot of excellent free information outside there. LEARN and EDUCATE yourself. Search for topics related to your specific problem.Then find the TOP masters or people that are creating solutions for your problems, and after you learn to use what you learn.
2) PRACTICE and raise AWARENESS. Little by little things will show you the progress. It takes time to transform old habits that you have been doing for more than 20 years. Be patience.
3) NEVER STOP taking action. The whole world is moving without stopping. Everything is constantly changing and transforming, so you cannot stop and lay down in the bed doing nothing. MOVE!
And here a list of the top things I have been doing to destroy my old negative habits, reduce stress and focus on more productive things.
TOP 1 – Music 第一个——音乐
Learn to play an instrument; Make a happy song list on your cell phone and listen anytime you feel sad, dance, sing, yell (not to others PLEASE!), jump with the music.
TOP 2- Meditation 第二个——冥想
Start with 3 minutes a day, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, etc. Learn basic meditation, guided meditation, dynamic meditation (shaking jumping dancing), create your own meditation, etc. Meditation is highly practiced by top successful people around the world, they did it, they started little by little, this is a practice you also can build.
TOP 3- Eat better 第三个——健康饮食
Eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less fast food and snacks, start little by little to drink more good water and reduce other sugar or acid drinks. Don’t cut all the bad food and try to become a vegetarian in one day, do it gradually. It really works, we can get used and change over the time for good.
TOP 4 – Pay attention to what you SEE and LISTEN 第四个——关注你看到的和听到的
Stay away from complaints and complaining people. Stay away from negative news that brings only fear. Listen/see positive things, absorb valuable information that supports your health, your mind, your personal and professional development.
TOP 5- Become a Master of your life 第五个——成为你生活的主导者
Understand deeply how life works, how you work, who you are, what you are. Make a list of your strengths and weakness and focus ONLY to develop your strengths into extraordinary levels. Find your life Vision and Mission, then you will be able to do what you love so the stressful situations will be reduced because for the first time you are in control of your life and not others.
I hope you find this article useful, and remember, there is always a solution…there is always hope!
Take a deep breath and RELAX!
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