Stress on Your Spirit
Spiritual stress is more nebulous. It can't be measured directly, but it remains a potent and harmful form of stress that is inextricably linked to physical and mental stress. What is spiritual stress? It is the neglect of and the eventual loss of our spiritual lives, or the part of us that hopes, loves, dreams, plans, and reaches for something greater and better in humanity and in life. It is the noncorporeal in us, the soul.
Whether or not you have religious beliefs, you still have a spiritual side. Think of it as the part of you that can't be measured, calculated, or wholly explained — the you that makes you you.
When we ignore our spiritual side, we throw our bodies out of balance. When our spiritual lives are further compromised because of the effects of physical and mental stress — low self-esteem, anger, frustration, pessimism, the destruction of relationships, the loss of creativity, hopelessness, fear — we can lose the energy and joy of life.
Have you ever known someone who when faced with insurmountable obstacles, pain, trauma, tragedy, or loss continues to be happy? Such people have nurtured and nourished their spiritual sides, either through effort or because it comes naturally.
Signs of a nervous breakdown include personality changes, uncontrolled behavior, irrational thinking, excessive anxiety, obsessive behavior, manic or depressive behavior, severe depression, uncontrolled outbreaks of emotion or violence, severing of relationships, engaging in illegal acts, developing addictions, attempting suicide, or the onset of mental illness like schizophrenia.
Sure, some people don't buy into the idea that people have a spiritual side or a soul. It's all chemical, they say. Others of us prefer to say it's all related, all intertwined like a dramatic and intricate web. The bottom line? If you manage your stress with the whole you in sight, you'll manage stress fully, effectively, and in a way that really works for your unique self.
Preserve, cherish, and nurture every segment of silk in the web of your self; if you do so, you will preserve the miraculous artistry of you, no matter what you happen to label all the different parts.