I discovered what you are about to read in a slow, bit by bit sort of way and although there were mini-eureka moments as I realised how stress can easily be removed there was no brilliant, nuclear flash of comprehension. Even so, I hope you gain some understanding from reading this article. John Boulderstone 2018.
When an elastic band is pulled in two different directions at the same time the band gets stretched and stressed. The same is true for human beings, when we are pulled in different directions by outer demands we can get stressed. The outer pull is actually created by an inner conflict and we feel it as stress. Stress and inner conflict are extremely closely related.
…and physical stress
Stress can also be totally physical in nature. For example, say you are trying to lift a weight at the gym and it is too much for you. You have a conflict between what you think you can lift and reality. Sometimes that conflict/stress will result in a breaking down of the muscle and pain. This is physical stress. The Boulderstone Technique can deal with both psychological and physical stress, but here we focus on psychological stress.
Causes of psychological stress
Inner conflict exists in all of us and, most of the time, we just live with it. When pressure is put on us, though, the inner conflict means we get pulled in different directions and we call this stress. We have phrases for the pull, like ‘being in two minds’ or ‘on the one hand there’s this and on the other hand that’ or ‘my heart says one thing and my head says another’. Whenever we can’t make up our minds over any issue the cause is an inner conflict. All conflicts create some level of stress. Most of them will get resolved fairly quickly as the dislike of living with conflict generates the energy to resolve it. However, some inner conflicts are not so easy to remove.
One of the reasons for inner conflict is that we approach things using our thoughts or our feelings. Thoughts and feelings are not the same and do not carry the same weight; for some people thoughts are more important, while for others feelings are more important. The importance of thoughts over feelings or vice versa often break along gender lines, but not always. For example, my wife feels I shouldn’t say this, but I think it is fine.
It is not just thoughts and feelings that create inner conflicts, any part of our life that we keep separate will have slightly different values to other separated regions. For example, we often separate our work life from our home life and our values will be different in each. If at work you have a deadline and a crisis occurs at home, what do you do? Where do you put your priorities? Wherever you put them, you will get stretched and your desire to be in both places will compete for supremacy. A pull in opposite directions will result in stress and, in extreme cases, panic.
Panic occurs when one is ‘pulled’ in one direction regarding a specific issue followed by the decision to satisfy some of the demands of that ‘pull’, but then feel compelled to run off in the other direction trying to satisfy the demands of another and often opposite ‘pull’. Oscillating between the two at high speed is panic. Oscillating between the two regions at a lower speed but large amplitude is anxiety and oscillating at high speed with a large amplitude is a panic attack. This is what stress can do to people, but each person is affected differently.
Anxiety, panic and even panic attacks are all stress reactions and come from pulls in different directions. Looking at the stress a little deeper reveals that it has a cause that may be slightly surprising. The external situation, while it may be the trigger, is never the actual cause. The cause of stress is internal and individual. Not everyone will react to a deadline at work and a crisis at home in a similar way. So, ALL stress and inner conflict is ‘of our own making’. This does not mean we can escape the stress easily by just thinking something different. We are not deliberately making ourselves ill, in fact we do not have a choice at this point, because we are too inside it to see a way out. The important consequence is that nothing in the outside world has to change to relieve anyone’s stress. We will need the right tools or help to create the perspective that changes our inner conflict.
Inner conflict can be small or large. Small conflicts result in small stresses and large conflicts result in large stresses. Large conflicts could be triggered by the experiences of war, or the death of a pet. The important point is that the severity of the conflict is totally individual. There are no fixed levels of stress and for some, the death of a goldfish might result in a large conflict.
The symptoms of stress
When I think that I am going to die, on a roller coaster or bungy jumping, I get an acidic clenching in my stomach. Those symptoms do not last long and afterwards I might describe the experience as exhilarating, but they are still the symptoms of stress.
The adrenaline coursing around my system during a bungy jump will heighten my senses and cause physical symptoms (sweating, quickening pulse, shortness of breath, etc.). Memories will cut deeper. These are all stress symptoms, experienced physically, but caused by conflicting thoughts and feelings. They are not a problem until they get stuck. They can get stuck for many reasons, one being the belief that processing them might be too difficult. Another might lie in a mistaken belief that something has to change in the external world. And another because the problem becomes too overwhelming.
Leaving inner conflicts in place
Stress can last for a split second or for many years. The longer it lasts the more damage it does. Not resolving inner conflicts is a mistake we all make for many reasons. We may think the conflicts will be more difficult to clear than to keep, or that they will just disappear on their own. The factor we ignore when we put off sorting them out is, most probably, time. I have seen people who have been putting off sorting out their grief for over twenty years, suffering for a lot of that time, when in reality using our technique we can clear it within ten minutes. Another reason might be guilt. Most of us have a built in sense of what is right and wrong and when we transgress our own internal moral code, we set up an inner conflict which causes stress and suffering.
Consequences of stress
Stress is the cause of many illnesses, at the very least it causes us to do things that are unhealthy, which then lead on to other illnesses. Drugs, both prescribed and recreational, are used to distract us from our stresses and inner conflict. There is no drug in the world that will remove stress completely and permanently, but that won’t stop people from trying to find it. The desire for drugs comes in large part, from the difficulties of stress. Take away the stress and there is much less need for escape. Stress also causes a lowering of the ability to fight off problems. Life becomes harder as stress increases, you only have to ask: doctors, teachers, army veterans, social workers, or anyone whose job is under threat. The list goes on.
Treatment for stress using the Boulderstone Technique
Stress and inner conflict only occur when reality and our inner version of it differ. This is the key to removing it. I have developed a technique that removes stress in the fastest way possible. I have discovered that just talking about the problem is inefficient and for some people it is even counter productive. Of course, counselling and psychotherapy are successful for some people but there is a more efficient way of dealing with stress and its results, namely: anxiety, depression, grief and panic.
The language of stress is feelings. This is why talking about stress is so difficult: stress is rarely expressed as words. Instead, stress and inner conflict are felt. The problems arise because the feelings become overwhelming. My technique involves regulating the speed at which the difficult feelings come up. In this way the patient does not get overwhelmed. Through my help people of all ages, from as young as five, have cleared extremely difficult and traumatic events without apparently much effort. When processed the feelings do not need to return. People do not have to think of something pleasant when their problem shows up, their problem just doesn’t show up.
So how does it work?
If you stand next to a person who is agitated or angry, you may feel something of their disturbance in yourself. You may also feel something if you stand next to an enlightened or very calm person. Somehow, you can mirror their state. The closer you get to the person the more you can feel. This is not a one-way street; the mentally disturbed person and the enlightened person can feel things that are going on in you. If you remain calm while they are experiencing chaos they can be aware of that calm, especially when it is pointed out.
My technique lends the patient another pair of eyes to look at their conflict but using a kinesthetic sense. Practitioners of the Boulderstone Technique get close to the patient by holding their head. We stay calm and centred. The patient can feel this calmness through our hands. We get the patient to think of something that would normally be a problem for them but before it becomes too difficult we bring the patient back to calmness. We do this with a unique slow movement of the head which brings them into the present moment, which of course is stress free because the problem has come from a past event. In the transition of coming back to calmness from the stressful state the patient automatically creates a new pathway in their brain from the problem to calmness. This new pathway is automatically accessible the next time they get into the stressful state. The patient does not have to think of anything, the calm is already there. We repeat this as many times as necessary until the problem is completely replaced by calmness. Most problems can be sorted out within 15 minutes, often less, sometimes more.
Dealing with stress & developing resilience
You do not have to wait until you are incapacitated before you can have your conflicts cleared. The more easily you can get to a calm state the better you will be in resisting stressful situations – the inner conflict can be processed before it causes a problem.
We actually teach how to clear stress and conflict to groups of people as well as individuals. The less conflict you have the more you can cope with and if you know how to remove it as well you become more efficient at everything.
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