I am currently glued to my DVD player watching a series of 24 lectures by Robert Sapolsky Ph.D. about stress and its impact on the body. The ramifications are truly frightening; there is not a function in the body that is not negatively influenced by the mechanisms of stress. And what is even more notable is that most of the stress originates from thoughts and feelings that are far removed from the initial scenarios for which stress was designed.
The processes that happen when we are stressed are designed to get us ready for the proverbial ‘Flight or Fight’ response in matters of life and death. As a species, we are the only ones capable of conjuring up frightful scenarios to which we then promptly respond as if we were in actual physical danger.
And there are a lot of things that people get stressed about: the weather, the traffic, the boss, the colleagues, the favorite teach losing, global warming, people disputing global warming. Right now we have enough people stressed about the outcome of the presidential elections on either end of the political spectrum.
What has all of this to do with MELT?
One thing I love when I teach a MELT class is the complete silence at the end of the class. After an hour of MELTing, the participants seem entirely removed from all the worries of the world. The inward focus of MELT quiets the stress response, and the change is palpable in the room. Being able to break the stress cycle is important because it enables the body to return to the repair mode that comes along with improved sleep.
MELT is not a cure-all, particularly if people insist on getting stressed and prefer to keep their stress levels up. I have heard people talk quite proudly about their type A personality. We cannot protect people from themselves. But MELT is a great modality to improve where we have control, and that are our thoughts and our frame of mind.