Releasing Stress vs. Relieving Stress
Most people equate Relieving stress with Releasing stress. The two expressions are synonymous in our culture. When I talk about these two concepts I see them as having a distinct difference. To “relieve” means to reduce, alleviate, soothe, ease, lessen, diminish, to make less serious, to make less tedious or unpleasant, to cause to become less severe. To relieve stress is temporary and you have to continue relieving stress over time. To release means to set free or give freedom to once and for all.
Up to this point in time our culture has been focused on how to temporarily relieve stress. Perhaps this is because we have not known how to release stress once and for all until now.
To explain what I mean we have to briefly revisit the definition of Stress (please see pg.3 and pg.5 of this ebook). Our Stress is created because of our insecurities and our feelings of limitation related to how much we think we can handle.
So when I say you’re going to be able to Release your Stress, I’m talking about using the Releasing methods I’m going to tell you about to work on those issues (those insecurities and feelings of limitation) that are causing you to be “stressed out”. If you work on this issue until you release it and it does not exist for you anymore, you will no longer stressed out by it.
Throughout our lives, we experience events which can cause significant physical and/or emotional injury and distress. It can be a single isolated experience or can occur as a series of events. Either way, these events are traumatic and can leave us with feelings of anxiety, worry, fear, panic, depression, anger, etc.
An example of a single isolated experience is when a person who experienced a car accident years ago continues to be affected in the present, being highly anxious while driving now.
And, a real personal example of a more complex mental/emotional issue that has influenced me throughout my life is my once held belief that I was stupid. The incredible irony is that I started developing this belief (or the belief became much more entrenched) when my parents were told by my 6th grade teacher that I was going into the 7th grade honors program.
You would think it was a good thing, but, coming from a blue collar family and neighborhood, each one of my family members got intimidated by it in their own way and started conditioning me in one way or another to make me think I was stupid. Even though I was the first in my family to go to college, it took me four colleges and more than 20 years to get my bachelor’s degree (at 40 years old). A good ending to this part of the story is that I graduated from my fourth college with honors and got into the “Who’s Who of American Colleges and Universities”. I was also one of 30 students out of 700 applicants to be accepted into the Columbia University Social Work School advanced standing program and graduated at 41 years old.
So, even though I was obviously not stupid I eventually became convinced that I was. Strange? Not really. That’s what trauma does. It’s negative conditioning that is not true that makes us believe we are something we are not. And all of our negative thoughts and beliefs are exactly that, thoughts and beliefs that are not true, just results of trauma. (For more information on how trauma effects us in life, go to: https://www.brainspottingspecialist.com/adverse-childhood experiences ).
Typically, we aren’t even aware that these adverse experiences from our past are affecting us negatively and causing dysfunction in our lives on a daily basis. We can spend years talking about the feelings we’re experiencing and trying to figure out logically where they have come from.
We might even develop ways to live with, “cope with or “manage” these feelings. Our traumatic memories are accompanied by negative feelings caused by our adverse life experiences. For whatever reason, they get “stuck” in the deeper parts of our brains and are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity.
That is why this kind of deep processing cannot be accomplished by traditional talk therapy. This is why the 7 effective methods I am about to introduce are so important for our mental, emotional and physical health.