Put the stress down
By Noelle Holland, Wellness Director at The Cullasaja Club
Photos by Noel Holland
The road to happiness leads to joy, but the road must be paved with challenges.
These challenges are opportunities to strengthen, teach and empower you to handle the next challenge with more grace. If you find a way to not take life personally, you can be liberated from pain and experience more of the good stuff.
We are designed to be strong, to recycle pain into something nonthreatening and beautiful. Finding the courage to communicate your life’s traumas constructively can help you and the listener feel hopeful and realize that suffering is normal. Trauma can be used to develop our empathy towards ourselves and others and ultimately strengthen our bond as humans. It is impossible to be hopeful every day, but if you look for hope, you will find it. When you find hope, you will be inspired to look for it again until it returns to you.
PTSD is a “psychiatric disorder” that occurs when people experience traumatic events or chronic stress. Traumatic events and stress are relative to our own lives. What seems traumatic to one might not be so to another. Instead of treating our trauma as a disorder, why not allow it to become a gateway for exploration and healing within the body and mind.
The 2020 pandemic is a traumatic event to which we can all relate. Whatever your role is in the world, we have all felt psychological distress. We lost our abilities to work, travel, breathe and emotionally connect freely with friends and even our own families. Panic, anxiety, lack of control and fear of death are now globally common emotions. A local professional shares her COVID-19 experience, “I was somewhat prepared for the loss of taste/smell, dizziness and malaise. No one warned me how it can turn you into an anxious ball of tears. My psyche was badly affected, and I find myself still delicate after a month of recovery. The anxiety of letting down my clients, fear of infecting someone and fear of a long-term debilitating illness made my heart uncontrollably palpitate. At times, I felt as though I would have a heart attack. The mental toll surprises me the most. I had to take action to preserve my happiness by quitting alcohol and using lymphatic drainage therapies. With a new perspective for the gift of health and life, I want to better honor this time on earth and savor each and every precious breath I have left here.”
For some, the pandemic created new trauma, and shock took us to new levels of unknown anxiety. For others, our repressed emotions were awakened, forcing the reliving of painful experiences. Whatever your emotional experience, you’re not alone.
We can endure anything that doesn’t kill us. Not only were we meant to be resilient, we were meant to be happy. Happiness is a practice that requires your daily participation. We have many tools for being successfully happy, especially within this community. I use nature, healthy eating, work, yoga, running, a great therapist, good friends, family and sometimes an intense screaming fit. Whatever tools help you feel better, use them! We are not meant to understand the meaning of trauma. We are meant to give our trauma meaning by Putting The Stress Down and making peace with the pain.