If you are anything like me you will find it frustrating at times when the GP says that something you are struggling with could be stress-related. The reality is we are often a bit oblivious to how much stress does impact our bodies. All those aches and pains are often linked to overdoing things both mentally and physically.
This is why I asked Sylvia to show how TRE – Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises, can help. Read on to see what she has to say.
Stresses and our bodies
Shake it off!
What? Stress, pain, worries?
Bear with me, as this niche but quite amazing somatic exercise can help you do just that.
Let’s start by looking at how disease manifests in our bodies.
Did you know that medical research estimates that as much as 90% of illness and disease is stress-related? (Source)
Or that 90% of people who go to see a physician for their symptoms are told that no cause can be found? (Source – Peter Levine, PhD, one of the somatic pioneers, in an interview with Dr Gabor Maté – trauma, addiction, stress and childhood development expert)
Life can be stressful at times, especially living through a pandemic; restrictions, fear, uncertainty, grief etc. – our resilience has certainly been put to the test. Maybe you have done a stress test online and realised you are more stressed than you realised or perhaps you just are struggling to cope and know you are extremely stressed.
How and why we hold tension in our bodies
We’ve probably all experienced that we tense up when we are stressed because we produce chemicals required to survive the danger. These hormones are pumped into the muscles and their response in stressful situations is to contract.
Holding all this tension in our bodies can lead to all kinds of aches and pains, quite often psychosomatic pain like back/shoulder/joint pain, tension headaches, gastrointestinal issues, teeth-grinding etc.
Many patients and I was one of them, get annoyed when their GP tells them they need to relax.
It sounds easier than it is, but relaxation is the antidote to stress!
And there are many different ways to relax, from breathing exercises and mindfulness to yoga or laughter etc. – check out various options and find the one that works for you.
My very own go-to method is TRE – Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises.
What is TRE?
TRE (developed by Dr David Berceli) is a somatic self-help tool to support the body to release stress.
Practising TRE activates our natural reflex mechanism of shaking and this releases tension in our muscles.
What animals do automatically, i.e. they shake, tremble, breathe spontaneously after stressful events – and therefore dissolve any accumulated stress immediately, humans have sadly unlearned.
The simple fact that the dissipation of tension relaxes the nervous system can have many positive consequences, e.g. deep relaxation, more resilience, energy and optimism, less pain, better sleep and many more.
My experiences with TRE
I’ve seen the benefits for myself: much improved lower back and hip pain as well as resilience – I am so grateful that I had TRE in my toolbox during Covid19. And I want to invite people to question their perception – our challenges are not just in the mind, they are in the body, too.
Let’s give our busy minds a rest and concentrate on the body – the body does the work, without the need to verbalise anything.
Practising TRE regularly can prevent life’s minor stresses from turning into chronic tension. As somebody once said so appropriately: if you listen to your body when it whispers … you won’t have to hear it scream.
Fancy trying TRE yourself?
If you want to pro-actively work on your well-being, check out my website. I run regular classes where you can learn this tool for life!
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