How to complete your stress response cycle

Mar 22, 2022
stress response

When you have a stressful day, what you do to complete it, makes a difference. Your brain knows the day is done, but your body has been in go-mode all day. When you’re under stress and you don’t discharge the stress from the tissues in your body, it gets stuck, and can manifest as illness or pain. As the stress and traumas accumulate, pain becomes chronic. 

Over time, you may begin to notice you have pains in your neck, back or hips that weren’t there before. You may think, this happens, I’m getting older… Yes, that’s possible, but it could also be a symptom of stress. 

It doesn’t need to get to that point. 

There’s something you can do about it… it’s called completing the stress response cycle.

The stress response cycle was originally observed and studied by Dr. Peter Levine who became fascinated as he observed animals in the wild who are under constant threat of death from their predators, yet aren’t walking around as traumatized creatures. 

For example, when a gazelle senses a lion stalking her, she moves into flight mode and takes off running for her life. The lion catches her and takes her down. The gazelle freezes and plays dead. The lion, thinking she killed the gazelle, leaves to collect her cubs for a hearty meal. As soon as the lion leaves the scene, the gazelle is observed to stand up and spontaneously shake and tremble, discharging the energy that was needed for the flight. 

Discharging the energy releases the trauma from her tissues so it won’t be stored there. 

Her brain knows the threat is over. The shaking signals her body that the threat is over.
She releases trauma and moves on. 

Dr. Levine studied this response in humans as well when he observed people who survived bombings shaking in a similar way. You’ve likely experienced this too, if you’ve almost hit an animal while driving, or come out of anesthesia, you may have found yourself shivering or shaking. This was your nervous system discharging energy. 

This behavior, however, is not socially acceptable for human beings. As a result, it’s been socialized out of us. If you’ve ever found yourself trembling while having a difficult conversation, it can feel embarrassing so you may find yourself doing whatever you can to stop and “get a grip.” 

As a result your body doesn’t get the message that the stress is over. The energy isn’t discharged, and the trauma becomes trapped in your tissues resulting in pain, tension, illness, increased stress and difficulty relaxing. 

Fortunately, Kundalini Yoga offers a number of ways to complete the stress response cycle. Breathing, moving, laughing, being in nature, spiritual connection, mindful self compassion, crying, positive social interaction, intimacy, rest, imagination and creativity are all ways that you can complete the stress response cycle. Many are experienced in a typical Kundalini Yoga class or practice! 

Our next 40 day challenge begins March 28 and uses breath, sound and movement in a 30 minute practice that will help you release stored stress and trauma from your tissues, and begin your morning with ease. 

With this practice, selected specifically for spring, you’ll start each day conquering self animosity while infusing every cell in your body with loving and uplifting energy. 

Click here to register today.

With love,


(much like this blog post!)