From Stressed to Radiant: We don’t have to be manic or in a panic to be productive

Radiance, defined as being in harmony with our unique expression, is our true nature according to the science of yoga and Ayurveda. To lack in radiance, whether it is manifested as fatigue, irritability, lack of creativity, being stuck in habitual patterns that deplete our energy or constant inflammation, is a sign that we are out of harmony with our nature.

One of the main causes of disharmony is stress. Bruce Lipton explains in Biology of Belief that when the stress response occurs the following three natural reactions manifest:

Blood Flows to Extremities: During dangerous situations it is more important to our survival to have enough energy to either run away or defend ourselves than it is to digest our meal. Blood flow favours our extremities providing the energy needed to survive.

Immune System Weakens: During the stress response the immune system, which protects us from internal invaders, shuts down to support the adrenal system. The adrenal system protects us from external invaders (fight or flight) as our nervous system has concluded that it is more important for our survival to protect ourselves from the external danger than it is to protect ourselves from the constant onslaught of bacteria that moves through our system. If we get sick this is known as opportunistic infection.

Become “reactive humans doing” versus “responsive human beings”: When in danger we have to think fast, which means we do not have enough time to reflect, ponder and choose and for this reason the brain’s responsive ability gives way to our instinctual and reactive abilities.

Save or Destroy

We now understand why when we experience heightened or constant periods of stress the following happens:

  • Digestion weakens;

  • Bloating and fatigue;

  • Make more mistakes and react rather than respond to our life experiences

  • Lose touch with our intuition;

  • Get sick more often; and

  • Begin a downward cycle of depletion, leading to sugar and caffeine cravings, which further depletes.

If used when needed the stress response can prevent injury or even save our life, but because the stress response is not designed to be the primary operating system if it’s on constant duty it creates depletion and destroys our radiance.

Yoga and Ayurveda to the Rescue

As a science of mind and body and as practices that lead to the experience of our true potential yoga and Ayurveda provide tools to reunite us with our natural radiance. As we know, when stressed, small challenges can feel insurmountable or we may use the strength and power of a great warrior to handle a broken glass. On the other hand when radiance is high our internal systems are in harmony which brings the powerful belief that our potential is greater than our obstacles to the surface of our mind and creates a balancing cycle of energy.

To shift from stressed to radiant we begin with:

Self-awareness: Although we all experience stress, what we deem stressful and how we express our stress varies. This is largely based on our constitution and life experiences. For example, when stressed some of us have a lion nature, which means we have grown accustomed to anger and intimidation and some of us have a deer nature, which makes us fearful and worried. These patterns create habits that further determine how stress impacts our life. This is why with yoga and Ayurveda we always begin with self-knowledge. Using the dosha (constitution) system and the guna (nature) system we identify our unique expression and through well guided willpower we create the necessary patterns to connect us with our passions and values rather than our wants, needs or fears and naturally enhance our radiance. Therefore, reducing our stress.

Perceptions: If we let stress lead we become mechanical and reactive and develop habits that feed a limiting perception of ourselves and of our life as a whole. We may become that person who finds a problem for every solution. On the other hand, when radiance is increased, uplifting rituals rise to the surface of our daily routine, which means the voice of wisdom can be heard bringing intelligent and clear perception of ourselves and our experiences including our problems/obstacles. Being in a state of radiance does not mean we ignore challenges, but it does mean that when we look at the garden of our life we don’t just see the weeds. On the contrary our perception includes the weeds, the flowers, the dormant seasons, the bright and lively seasons and so on.

In conclusion, just as depletion breeds depletion, radiance breeds radiance and with every thought, word and action we are either feeding our depletion or our radiance. The choice is always ours to make. There is an underlying social belief that if we are not manic or in a panic we are not being productive and if we are not productive we are useless or lazy. If we say it out loud we know it’s not true, but in the silence of our mind this belief often holds a lot of weight. We need to give more value to the belief that there is a place in the middle. A state of mind where we produce and consume, but do not become consumed by our production.

Be honest with yourself...How do you feel? How is your energy? What do you focus on? Are you connected with your radiance or overwhelmed by your limitations?

It is possible to have energy, clarity and be filled with the feelings of possibility and purpose in the ordinariness of our every day and I can teach you how. Visit my mentoring page for details.

To Possibilities!


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Sylvie Gouin

Ottawa, On, Canada


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