Stress And Illness

Stress And Illness



Jack,​ 60 years old,​ is​ a​ client of​ mine. Jack had been in​ a​ very difficult,​ codependent marriage with Stella - a​ marriage where Jack completely gave himself up in​ his attempts to​ avoid Stella’s anger,​ threats and blame. Jack sought my help regarding extricating himself from this very unhappy relationship and was finally able to​ end the​ marriage. Subsequently,​ Jack sent me the​ following email:

“Hi Margaret,​ I hope all is​ going well with you. I thought you​ might be interested in​ a​ health change I have noticed. in​ my last year of​ marriage to​ Stella I started having pressure in​ my chest when I started exercising. I went to​ several cardiologists. I felt the​ first one was an​ alarmist. He wanted to​ do an​ angiogram immediately and he wanted permission to​ do angioplasty at​ the​ same time if​ necessary. I told him that I would get back to​ him. I immediately went on​ a​ better exercise program and took additional supplements for my heart. Over a​ period of​ several months I visited three other cardiologists. a​ very well respected cardiologist had the​ great idea of​ doing another stress test on​ me. When he finished the​ stress test he said he did not see any reason to​ do anything different that what I was doing. the​ pressure I was feeling was still there at​ the​ start of​ exercise but it​ would go away as​ I continued to​ exercise.

“On December 31,​ 2018 I made my last support payment to​ Stella. I have not felt any pressure in​ my chest since then at​ the​ start of​ exercising or​ any other time. I actually feel an​ upward shift in​ my energy level. I know that stress has a​ lot to​ do with health and with the​ last payment I must have released a​ lot of​ stress.

“I am interested to​ hear your opinion about this. Stress can be so silent that I do not know if​ I am always aware of​ it.”

I responded to​ Jack,​ telling him that recent research indicates that stress may be behind at​ least 90% of​ illness. Currently,​ Jack is​ in​ a​ loving relationship with Andrea,​ but even that relationship did not stop the​ stress until his last support payment to​ Stella. Yet Jack did not realize that the​ heart pain was related to​ his stress.

Too often,​ when we have physical problems,​ we seek a​ purely physical answer. Yet if​ stress is​ the​ underlying cause of​ 90% of​ illness,​ it​ is​ very important to​ open to​ learning about the​ fact that we might be stressed and about what is​ causing the​ stress.

If Jack had realized that his heart pain was stress-related,​ he might have been able to​ go inside and discover what was really causing the​ stress. on​ the​ surface,​ it​ appeared to​ be his fear of​ Stella’s anger and the​ fact that he still owed her money. But if​ Jack were to​ look deeper,​ he might discover some false beliefs that were actually causing the​ stress – beliefs such as:

• I am responsible for Stella’s unhappy feelings.

We cause our own feelings with our thoughts. Therefore,​ we cannot be responsible for another’s feelings.

• it​ is​ not fair that I have to​ continue to​ pay Stella money.

Jack made choices that led to​ this outcome. He is​ responsible for the​ choices he made.

• it​ is​ my fault that things did not work out with Stella.

Jack is​ responsible for his choices,​ but not for Stella’s choices. Thinking something is​ all our fault is​ a​ way of​ convincing ourselves that we have more control than we actually have over other’s choices.

• I will not be able to​ make enough money to​ take care of​ myself.

Jack does well financially,​ but often stresses over money.

• as​ long as​ I owe Stella money,​ she will be able to​ control me.

Jack frequently gives his power away to​ others due to​ his trying to​ control them through pleasing,​ and then fears being controlled by them.

• I have to​ give myself up to​ Stella to​ control how she feels about me and treats me.

Jack caused himself stress by trying to​ control something that he has no control over.

There is​ a​ good possibility that if​ Jack had explored his beliefs and come into truth with himself,​ his stress would have decreased long ago. Much of​ Jack’s stress was being caused by trying to​ control something that he had no control over. All of​ us can learn from Jack’s experience. We all have the​ opportunity to​ continue to​ monitor our stress and continue to​ look at​ the​ false beliefs and resulting behavior that are the​ primary underlying causes of​ stress.




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