Tension is not your enemy…
Its your protector
Have you ever been aware of tension in your body? The type of tension I’m talking about here is an underlying tension that is consistently present. You might feel it predominantly in your legs, neck, back, head, belly, jaw, or maybe even your entire being. Perhaps you became more aware of this tension after an injury, or a life change or challenge, or whenever you feel “stressed”.
Have you ever wondered why this tension is present and what purpose it serves you? Typically we are so busy trying to “unwind” and “destress” our tension away that we never stop to wonder why its really there at all.
Tension is energy that is bound or held “in place” in the body. It serves the purpose to hold reality “in place” for you so that you can function in your day to day life without feeling too much. Essentially so that you can keep going despite what is happening inside or outside or you. It’s your shield, your protection from things that might potentially hurt you. Oddly enough holding tension makes you feel safe and secure and like you are in control of your life.
The barrier between you & YOU
The intention of tension is to serve you by helping you feel less discomfort, but there are also drawbacks to its presence. Tension puts your body in “on guard” mode and triggers something called your sympathetic nervous system. This is also known as the fight or flight response. In this state your body can’t physically heal, its hard to think clearly and emotionally you feel either overwhelmed or completely numb. Connection to yourself or others, which is one of our most basic human needs, is impossible when you feel tense.
Tension is also the biggest barrier between your little personality “you” and your bigger all knowing “YOU”. You can think of this as your higher self, soul, spirit, purpose or passion. This is experienced as dullness, flatness, mundane routines, and fatigue.
Pulling up tension gives the “illusionary” feeling of control and blocks you from feeling some discomfort, but it also disconnects you from the things that make your heart light up and make your life worth living. Again tension is not the enemy, so trying to get rid of it by rubbing or stretching it out is only a temporary bandaid. What is required is an ability to remain open (not tense) and drop into uncomfortable feelings and sensations when they arise. Instead of guarding/protecting yourself, you move forward through whatever is happening without getting stuck inside of it.
One of the things that I help people achieve is an open nervous system so that the body can stay open and feel life as it occurs. Through having an open nervous system your body can heal quicker, function better and experience higher states of well-being.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC