AHHA SELF-HELP ARTICLES COLLECTION
   
Daniel Dufour M.D., obtained his medical degree from the University of Geneva in his native Switzerland and an MS degree from the University of London's School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He worked as a physician for the Committee of the International Red Cross, mainly in Asia and the Middle East. This changed his concept of medicine and laid the foundation for his decision to return to Geneva, and open a private practice. He works with patients on healing the underlying causes of illness and stress rather than merely the symptoms. The Vita-Med Clinic's website is www.vitamed.ch.


The American Holistic Health Association has compiled a collection of self-help articles to support your efforts to enhance your own health and well-being.

This article is part of the
article category
ENHANCING YOUR LEVEL OF WELLNESS
and the sub-category
POWER OF MIND/BODY CONNECTION

  Email page to a friend

SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
blog

facebooktwitter
There is a growing number of people who are not "sick" in the usual sense of the word, but who suffer from stress, loss of self-confidence, anxiety, fear, and loneliness.

A person complains about stress at work, for example. He has a heavy workload and finds the work very demanding. On the one hand, he is angry about the situation, but on the other he doesn't want to express that anger or complain for fear of loosing his job. Tension arises as a result of the conflict between two opposing desires and his anger is not expressed. In time he will probably develop a sleeping disorder, nervousness, irritability, anxiety or fear. These are all common stress-related symptoms.

Let's explain this another way. Although the inner self allows the emotion to be expressed freely, the monkey mind blocks the natural process of emotional expression. When there is conflict between what the monkey mind demands and what the inner self desires, the result of this conflict is tension. This basic mechanism leads to the appearance of a whole string of signs I call symptoms of ill-being and ill-living.

Since there seems to be no existing generic term to describe the bulk of these symptoms, I have coined a name, the SPLIT Syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by a variety of conditions, which range from loss of self-confidence, emotional tension, loss or diminution of intellectual or physical performance (including sexual problems), communication problems, and lack of intuition to other more life-threatening problems, such as bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, and drug addictions.

The SPLIT Syndrome is not an actual disease, medically speaking. It is a dysfunction of emotional origin that reveals itself when a person's actions (or lack thereof) are not appropriate responses to the situation he or she is faced with. In time, the syndrome may develop into a medical condition requiring professional treatment.

Although causes of the SPLIT Syndrome are numerous and diverse, they are always linked to a mental block and an inhibition of the emotions that result in a breach between the person's inner self and his or her lived experience. Hence the resulting ill-being.

Methods aimed at minimizing, controlling, or managing the symptoms caused by the tension may lessen the pain, but they do not help the person heal from the suffering. Healing from the SPLIT Syndrome comes from eliminating the tension created by the mental/emotional opposition. This requires a holistic approach (one involving the whole of your being) that combines both relaxation and emotional expression. The holistic approach allows the person who is in pain to rediscover his or her own true self again by using their greatest inner strength: their love for themselves.

You can start healing from the Split Syndrome by silencing your mind or switching it off, and allowing yourself to reconnect with your emotions and experience them fully.

Exercise to silence your mind

The basic breathing technique used to reach a state of relaxation is simple. Deepen your usual way of breathing by breathing into your abdomen, which will balloon when you inhale and flatten when you exhale. (As you do this exercise, you will become increasingly aware of how superficial your breathing is most of the time). Lie down, place your arms alongside your body, and concentrate on inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. If your mind wanders, bring it back to concentrating on your breathing. Little by little, your breathing will become deep and regular and your exhalations longer and more intense.

In addition to abdominal breathing, there are other simple ways to create silence. One is to make yourself unavailable for conversation, in person or on the phone. Another is to turn off the television and the radio. Although you can't hear newspapers and magazines, their content is a kind of noise, so set them aside for a while, too. Create silence for yourself regularly as a training exercise. Silence will become a habit later on.

Once you have eliminated exterior stimulation, listen. Where is the noise in your life now? The first few times you create silence by stopping the noise that surrounds you, the sound of your own mental activity (that incessant, monkey-voice inner discourse) will seem louder than usual. Hearing the monkey chatter may lead to anxiety in some people. Anxiety quickly subsides, however, when, by dint of concentrating on the rhythm of your own breathing, the hubbub in your brain is silenced and you achieve stillness. The sensation of peace that follows is quite simply magnificent. This is what it feels like to be centered and at one with our true self.

Expressing your emotions freely will help you find a sense of peace and serenity. It will lead you to rediscover your inner knowing.

Exercise for expressing emotions freely

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and concentrate for a few moments on your breathing. When you are focused on your respiration, think back to a recent irritation, annoyance, or anger-causing event. Re-create everything about it. Visualize the situation down to the tiniest details and get back into the feeling of it. Take your time to really feel it. Now start "painting" your anger by visualizing it. Keep your breathing in focus. Where in your body is your anger? What shape, size, texture, and color is it? What does it look like? You'll be surprised at the vivid picture that emerges. Continue to focus on your breathing, and gradually come away from the picture. Open your eyes.

There are many ways to eject anger from inside you: talking, screaming, writing, even hitting something, preferably a cushion rather than a wall! Everyone must find the way that suits them best. Expect a trial and error phase as you learn. Ejecting anger is not likely to be something you were taught at home or at school, so we're in learning curve territory here. Obviously, where and how you live will affect on the anger-release choices you make. Many people find that sitting alone in their car is a good place to scream, while other people go into the woods and still others let loose in the shower. Try out different things out and find what works best for you.

Ways to express sadness

The most natural way to express sadness is to cry. This simple and entirely natural act yields immediate and profound relief. Tears do us good. While they do not obliterate sadness, they are a useful means of acknowledging it, for and they help diminish the pain. After crying, we feel calm and peaceful. Our body is rewarding us by showing us what well-being can be ours when we act in tune with our emotions and our inner self.

It is important, however, to differentiate between tension-related tears and sadness-related tears. Crying "tension tears" provides short-lived and superficial relief, but the tension returns very quickly. After you have cried tears of sadness, you will not feel any tension. The relief tears of sadness bring is lasting and accompanied by a sensation of lightness. Far too many people cry when they are tense or angry, but they don't manage to cry when they are sad.

Keep in mind the fact that someone else cannot do this work for you. The health professionals assisting you must not take over and become "miracle workers." They remain in the dynamics of self-respect and, consequently, of respect for you. This, too, is a facet of love.