How many times have you known or heard of a couple who finally decide to adopt a child after years and years of trying to conceive, and suddenly they are pregnant?
Have you found yourself throwing your arms up in the air exclaiming “I give up” when you have exhausted all efforts in a relationship, then all at once, there is this wave of calm that flows through you which is relief and reconciliation?
People often associate the term surrender with “giving up” or “quitting,” yet this couldn’t be farther from the truth when talking about our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Surrender: Letting go of struggle and control
In the practice of yoga, the term surrender refers to the act of letting go of struggle and control. As a result of this surrender, we are able to take a deep, full breath, and our abdominal muscles relax allowing this breath to fully oxygenate the entire body. Our joints soften and become more flexible, muscles loosen with improved blood flow, and our entire spinal column is able to elongate and open fully. This is critical and why YOGA is so very good for our body because our spinal column is CENTRAL CONTROL -– where the rest of our body receives messages on how and when to function! In this amazingly simple act of connecting the mind and the breath lies almost every single thing our body needs to heal itself. The human body has an incredible self-regulating system and ALWAYS wants to be stable if we just give it what it needs (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually).
If the brain is fed the message that the body has all it needs to function AND heal, this message is sent directly to the nervous system and then to the rest of the body. In other words, “all systems are go!”…abdominal muscles relax, our breath is deep and strong, muscles and organs are oxygenated and have good blood flow, which allows production and regulation of hormones and lymphatic fluid. All of which are necessary for growth and repair of tissue, a function our body is perfectly designed for.
When our body is in a relaxed state and getting restful sleep on a regular basis, we are able to:
- fight inflammation and regenerate cells
- regulate hormones of digestion and reproduction
- produce growth hormones
- our liver and kidneys do their job of detoxifying the system
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All of this activity is the above-mentioned “self-regulating system” also known as our IMMUNE SYSTEM.
What Surrender Looks Like
- Focus on what you can control. Perhaps there is a situation at work which is upsetting, yet you recognize you have no control over it. Instead, excuse it from the forefront of your mind and focus on what you can actually control.
- Do your best. If you’re already doing all you can to rectify or change a situation, realize that constantly worrying doesn’t help. Instead, do the best you can and try to stop worrying.
- Let go of anger. When you realize that being angry over the loss of mobility from a recent injury or flare up of inflammation is only making your situation worse because your body tenses up in reaction to your thoughts, let go of the anger.
- Focus on gratitude. When we shift our thoughts to focus on gratitude and abundance for all that is “good and right” in our lives rather than what is “wrong and what we want or don’t have,” our body responds to these thoughts. At that moment, our nervous system gets the message that we have all we need to heal, and so the message is sent throughout the body.
- Trust the process. As we make the decision to “trust the process” or to trust in our body’s innate ability to heal (and actually listen to what it tells us), our system gets this message and does its work to keep us stable. We cease fighting and focusing on a certain outcome which gives our body permission to rest, restore and repair.
Surrender has nothing to do with quitting, giving up or weakness; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Surrender requires clarity of thought along with courage and trust. Allowing yourself to surrender to something that may be holding you back from being who, what and where you want to be in life may be the best thing you can do for yourself.
The next time you find yourself frustrated, angry, depressed or feeling defeated about what seems to be an overwhelming situation, take a deep breath, reach deep inside for courage, and quietly surrender. I promise you will feel immediate relief. Soon surrender will be your default response instead of anger, fear and fight or flight.
Lisa Adams, an experienced nurse and health and wellness coach and author of America’s Real Health Care Crisis, helps overwhelmed professionals and health care providers recognize and manage the effects of chronic stress—the leading cause of disease, poor work performance and life dissatisfaction.
Lisa provides simple, life-long and practical tools to help employees understand how the body functions; how to recognize and address chronic stress; and finally, how to facilitate healing and create lasting change.