I had a good blood pressure reading at the doctor’s office several days ago, 122/64. For me, that’s pretty dramatic. I tend to be a bit hypertensive. It runs in the family.
Stress is something I was raised with; something we are all raised with, I think. We cannot eradicate it, but we can certainly learn ways to diminish it. Medical professionals are all over the map when it comes to stress. Some read it into everything; some practically disregard it when developing a diagnosis.
I am convinced that stress was a major contributor to my wife’s first three miscarriages. I think it was partly responsible for an unexplainable rash I had back in the 1980s (at a time of severe emotional upheaval). Stress . . . and a lack of proper sleep. They work hand-in-hand, a tandem arrangement to be avoided at all cost, a tag team of wrestlers that are hell-bent on destroying any vestige of rest for which one might long.
It may seem counterintuitive, but . . . I think we have to WORK at RESTING.
That is, we have to plan for it sometimes; arrange it, make it happen. Of course, there are times when it falls upon us. I’ve had this happen in the outdoors on occasion: on a camping trip or hike. When you find yourself overwhelmed with beauty, engulfed in a scene so serene that it draws your spirit into a restful glen.
But most of the time . . . it comes by design; intentionally chosen moments meant to bring refreshment to our psyches.
The body responds to the rest we provide. The blood pressure drops, the pulse calms, the breathing settles, and the muscles relax. There is an almost elastic quality to a body/mind that is rested. It can be pushed to peak performance, stressed to endure hard circumstances, then it can return to a steady state of rest and peace when it is not being called upon to perform. It is like an easily stretched rubber band: springy, flexible, and resilient in your hands.
Rest can also provide us with the time and emotional openness to ruminate, to meditate, to intimately consider the inner lives we live. Whether or not we invest in our inner life, or avoid our inner life, the body will eventually tell the tale.
I want the tale it tells to be a good one. How about you?