Stress: Your Body Will Tell You How To Deal. Do You Listen?

STRESS: Your Body Will Tell You How To Deal. Will You listen?

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About six weeks ago my mother went into the hospital with “flu” while I was visiting her. After two ER visits, two Xrays, three GI scans, and a brain and chest cat scan, we got the worst news possible. Cancer – The bad kind. (The really bad kind.)

I immediately changed my residence to my mother’s house in Kelowna, and I have been here ever since. Any of you who have intimately dealt with cancer know the unprecedented stress it can bring on you body and soul. There are moments when you can’t breathe, when you don’t think you can take one more step. The weight is unbearable at times, and there is a deep need for “outlets” along the way. Laughter, tears, yelling, and many other common reactions serve to dissipate the never ending tension. But, sometimes your inner voice is telling you to do something unfamiliar. It is so important, during those times, to listen closely to how your mind and body need to process. If we listen closely, we will get the clearest message possible for the moment at hand. My voice, within days of the diagnosis, was loud and clear. It kept chanting one word over and over.


Stress: Your Body Will Tell You How To Deal. Do You Listen?

Something you need to know. As a chiropractor, I have always encouraged patients to select another form of exercise other than running. Running is tremendously hard on the joints, and because most of us have a weak core and old mispatterned mechanics, running is an injury waiting to happen. So when my brain said “RUN,” I said, “I’m sorry, did you say walk fast, hike, or climb stairs?”

Nope, “RUN.”

There is another thing you need to know. I am arthritic. Arthritic people are best keeping to lower impact adventure. I also have the floppiest ankles known to man. (Thank you high school volleyball). As a result of these various handicaps, I have not even run the span of a parking lot to my car, let alone miles on a treadmill. But there I was standing on the treadmill preparing to listen to my body’s wisdom.

In the last six weeks, I have worked up very slowly, stretched well before and after and practiced exceptional form (Thank you gym mirror). I also stopped if my body said enough. I am now running full out for 45 minutes sessions. It feels tremendous.

But more than the swinging of arms or pumping of legs, it is the stress dripping off me like tiny beads of sweat that impact me the most. At this time, during this stress, it is this particular activity that allows me to go back in that room fully present and stand beside a mother who is on her “Walk Home.” 

During times of acute stress, listen. Listen to what your body asks for. It might be drawing when you have never picked up a pencil. It might be hula, reading mysteries or some random thing that makes you say “what???” Just listen, and obey.   Your inner voice will give you the answers to navigate through events you might otherwise deem impossible to handle.

When faced with stress, exercise and movement are one of the absolute most base methods dissipate the tension. In studies, exercise has such strong effects on cognitive response to stress it is considered better than anti-depressants. What other things help you deal with stress? Is there anything you have perhaps forgotten about? An activity from when you were a kid perhaps?  

This week I want you to get back in touch with one thing that is a stress crusher for you.

STRESS: Your Body Will Tell You How To Deal. Will You listen?

10 Responses

  1. super sorry to hear about your Mom Heather, how wonderful you can be there with her, I’m sure that is some comfort to her

  2. Great article! Sorry to hear about your mother…cancer is a horrible disease and hard for the ones who are dealing with the disease but hard as well for the ones who have to watch them go through it. Keeping you guys in my thoughts and hoping the best for your mom. 🙂

  3. I was going to say something snarky about my body telling me to eat cartons of ice cream, etc., but I won’t. I am glad you are taking the healthy road and I am so terribly sorry for what you are going through. Much love to you, your mom and family. I was terrified when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago, but she got it very early and is now cancer-free. Your mom is blessed to have you with her.

    1. Monica! I am glad you stopped short of the self-deprecating. 😉 I am not perfect at it all but I am trying to make good choices. Thank you so much for your well wishes, Monica. xoxo

  4. This post was both an intimate sharing of a tough situation and practical advice. While my thoughts go out to you, I also have to tell you — “Well done!”

  5. Hi Dr Heather Dennison; First of all, I hope you are doing well today. I don’t know where you are with your Mum’s journey but I will keep you both in my prayers. I want you to know that I was so inspired by your post: “The Post I Never Shared With You”. I got to learn a little more about you even though I’m not a patient anymore. Wish you practiced here in Bend Oregon…

    Thank you for sharing your story. I truly believe there is purpose and rewards in trials and you have had your share. Although I am impressed with your positive attitude and ability to move past one trial by focusing on new ventures, I am more impressed with your strength to endure your trials through your Faith. As a woman of Faith, I too, believe that God has a bigger plan for our lives. We never know God’s reasoning for doing things sometimes, but I am a firm believer that if He brought you to it He will bring you through it; you are a perfect example.

    I wish you well Heather and look forward to reading more of your posts. I will keep you and your Mum in my thoughts and prayers. I would like to leave you with one of my favorite bible verse:

    “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

    1. Chris, thank you so much for your kind words. They touched me deeply. My mother passed on April 27th, peacefully, surrounded by her daughters. I could not agree more about the trials bit in your email. I have complete faith that God has a glorious plan and I am not the one to micro-manage how he gets me there. xoxo. Hope you are well!!

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About Dr. Denniston

Dr. Denniston is a wellness strategist for elite leaders and their teams, bridging the connection between personal well-being and professional success. She provides custom solutions for burnout and stress and facilitates cohesive habit-training strategies that maximize vitality, productivity, and resilience.

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THE THREE DAY RESET is a whole food, organic eating plan geared to charge your metabolism, give you tons of energy, and provide all the nutrients and vitamins you need.

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WELLFITandFED’s primary programming includes programs, keynotes, workshops, events and customized consulting. The foundations of these offerings are rooted in 25 years of experience working with companies from small start-ups to global giants like Microsoft.

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