When we think of the main sources of stress in our lives, we usually think that these are from work and home. Bossy business partners and spouses, challenging children, antagonistic employees, on it goes.
As a stress management consultant with training in psychology, NLP, biofeedback and acupuncture, I am frequently asked to assist my clients in identifying the stressors from these sources and facilitate creative, Zen-style or Jackie Mason-like ways of dealing with them to restore their balance, health and well-being.
But how often do we think that the inequities, injustices, fraud, hypocrisies and the widespread lack of integrity to be found across the political and business landscape as significant sources of our stress?
I don't think we generally digest just how toxic and stressful these stress sources are, which is why I call this The Trickle-Down Stress Effect.
To protect our sanity and sense of balance, we don't even want to consider how unjust, fraudulent high-ranking people are and 'broken' the system really is. It's too painful and unseemly. Yet the main candidates for President put it in our faces every single day.
I am suggesting that these are not secondary but significant sources of stress that many health professionals do not typically consider. This factor is what I call the "Trickle-Down Stress Effect".
No, this is not trickle-down Reagan style, an economic policy which never seemed to quite trickle down far enough to those it was supposed to benefit.
In contrast, the Trickle-Down Stress Effect reaches everyone even if you try to avoid it by not watching toxic mainstream TV or reading all the news that's fit to print. The energy of dis-integrity in our country, which has actually been with us provably from the beginning but has likely increased over time, is pervasive.
To illustrate: when those in high positions in government and business engage in practices that are self-serving at the expense of others, either illegally or unethically, I am suggesting that the tension, this cross-purpose, holds an energetic signature like a taut rope, and is transmitted through what British biologist Rupert Sheldrake refers to "morphogenetic fields", these fields in and around us that hold our thoughts, feelings and actions.
What has "trickled down", rather than enriching us has instead cost us no small amount of mental, emotional and physical health. Research revealed decades ago that 75-90% of medical office visits are due to stress-related ailments.
The Trickle-Down Stress Effect reaches us through the morphogenetic fields.
I am suggesting that dis-integrity, deception, excessive ego and self-interest, flat-out lying, flagrant insult and foul language in front of our children, frequent reference to racial and ethnic prejudice, misogyny, allegations of criminal activity among our political and business leaders, among our Presidential candidates, stresses the entire system and leads not to national security but rather national insecurity.
It also leads to anxiety and disintegration of the psyche and body of our people and due to the U.S.' major influence most everywhere, anxiety throughout the world.
This is the opposite of what people really want. People want happiness and peace, excitement and novelty surely, but fair play, and most deeply, I believe, justice and generosity for all.
While what is taking place in this current election cycle has brought political discourse to an all-time low--embarrassing to self-respecting people, and disregarding the real issues at hand--and is especially stressful, it is also exemplary to a greater or lesser degree, of what is happening most all the time in the halls of power, "the new normal", simply called "business-as-usual".
Historically, there are antecedents surely, but now there is just so much at stake due to climate, justice, nuclear missiles, water shortages and overall global tensions.
I see an America wounded and in pain. It is groping for meaning and connection, for values that are humane, dignified and noble that have been missing in large measure for decades. The good news is that from this wounded space, with some consciousness, amazing growth and evolution can flourish. We can do it!
The incessant focus on war and "military solutions" I suggest, don't protect us, but the contrary, abuses the public trust. The U.S. military, which spends more than the next seven leading nations' combined, is so proportionately out of line with the real needs of the American People, it is essentially robbing us, ironically, of a secure future.
We invest in weapons instead of re-building the nation's infrastructure, schools, after-school programs and building a green economy that could employ millions and also responsibly address Climate Change. http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1841778_1841781_1841811,00.html This disproportionate spending is insulting to American's intelligence and creates an ongoing meme of perpetual war adding to the already high levels of anxiety and stress in our society.
I am strongly suggesting that this is the wrong, unhealthy, over-stressed choice to make as a society. I know that we can do much, much better!
Children grow up learning about nuclear arms and don't know of a time without them. The number of warheads facing the U.S., and ours facing Russia, are the same now as they were at the height of the Cold War. Is this not "uber-stressful"? This is yet another example of the Trickle-Down Stress Effect, trickling down to Main Street from Pennsylvania Avenue.
But can you imagine a different kind of Trickle-Down Effect, for instance, one of love, of good cheer, of generosity and well-being? A Trickle-Down Effect of Love & Joy? Everything trickles down as a function of gravity and physics, so what if we were to consciously choose what we want to trickle down?
This would suggest that we re-shape our leaders and captains of industry to accord with basic moral, ethical principles that have been the glue of society for a long time and help them get better at adherence to these by awakening their hearts and souls.
Or if that proves to be too challenging, replace them with those who espouse the values of Social Enterprise companies or B Corporations, or putting people and planet first, before profit, as Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party frequently says, and see what kind of society and morphogenetic field we generate then.
We are facing Climate Change, perhaps the biggest stressor of them all for which we need leaders, not those who think it's a hoax or that fracking is a reasonable interim step, but those who see what we're really facing and want to build a renewable energy economy now.
It begs us to open the space to transform the conversation of war and violence to one of peace, cooperation and well-being at home and globally. It begs us to bring in the "L word", love and respect and restore integrity in our diplomacy. I think we'd be amazed at how well and quickly this can work. I am sure we'd prefer to talk about what we could call The Trickle-Down Love Effect than the Stress Effect. We can heal ourselves and our world.
A change like this in our relations with each other and with other nations thought of as a big family of bio-diverse members of the human species would open up major and rapid possibilities for creating a better world for all members of this very human family and give us an opportunity to truly cooperatively thrive.