We seem to live in extremely stressful times. It is evident in public officials' suicide, road rage, and civil unrest due to racial inequality and economic disparity displayed across the globe. And in St. Louis, MO there is the added stress of potential radioactive fallout from WestLake Landfill. It is enough to make one want to crawl into a hole and die. I, however, want to live and live well. Knowing that stress is a major contributor to illness, I want to reduce its impact. So, what is one to do to reduce their stress?
I feel powerless. The United States presidential election (and I use that term united loosely) is winding up. The candidates once again promise much. But it seems once in office the "bubble" of the White House takes hold and few, if any, of the promises come to fruition. Corporations seem to have all the power and the little guy, like me, just keep working to tread water. That sense of powerlessness can contribute greatly to stress.
That sense of helplessness often shows as anger. Anger is a motivating force. It isn't a bad thing really. It is meant to get you moving and taking action to change your situation. Channeled in a positive direction it can cause great change to occur. But when it is suppressed, so that it blows suddenly and often inappropriately, things like road rage occur. When you feel powerless it is time to regain your power by taking peaceful appropriate action. The beauty of our country is the peaceful protest. We still are "the people". By signing a petition and getting involved in your community affairs much can be accomplished. While it has taken time for the movement to clean up WestLake Landfill, there are signs that the community is getting the proper attention and that the right action by the government will be taken before a major disaster occurs that effects more than just North St. Louis County. If the fire reaches the landfill's radioactive material and is dispersed into the air, I believe it will be carried by the jet stream to points East along its path. So there is a lot more at stake than a ten mile radius. I can't see the government being that stupid to let it ruin a third of the nation.
To relieve my stress about this I have a plan for evacuation, in case I am wrong about the intelligence of the government. And I am grateful for the mothers who have taken up this fight. They who have suffered greatly due to the pollution the non-radioactive burning landfill has been spewing. Having a plan and focusing on gratitude does relieve stress. Having a plan gives one a sense of power. Gratitude causes feel good chemicals to be released that promote health.
Other more general ways to relieve stress are techniques like meditation. I see prayer as a form of meditation. You may also want to add a meditative practice that is different from prayer. Mindful walking is a great way to rest your mind and aid the body in healing. One simple way to do this is to concentrate on how your foot feels as it takes each step while breathing deeply and taking in the scenery without judgement. Mindfulness creates a peaceful awareness and can be used with all activities such as eating, showering, doing the laundry, etc.. I often just sit in my living room with the T.V. off, wrapped up in our Healing Energy Blanket, and listen to the sounds that penetrate the room. I find great rest in this practice.
Resting from the internal chatter that the feeling of powerlessness can produce regains self power. Take time for yourself. It is the best investment you can make. And in doing so, you will have the energy to fight the necessary battles with peaceful means. Your stress level will decrease and your overall health will benefit.
Mary S. Wallis, L.Ac., NCCAOM Acupuncture Diplomate, L.M.T., C.N.M.T.
Energy Medicine Practitioner in the Japanese styles of Kototama/Inochi Medicine and Usui Reiki
President Improved Performance Inc.
895 rue St. Francois
Florissant, MO 63031