Stress has long been known to contribute to epidemic health conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Surprisingly, a recent study even showed that 70% - 80% of all visits to physicians are for stress related disorders including heartburn, anxiety, heart palpitations, asthma, peptic ulcer and other various skin disorders. Even the prostate which has long been thought to be unaffected by psychic influence has been shown in recent studies to be dramatically affected by stress and hostility which compounds these negative effects. Stress is also directly related to diminished libido and let’s faces it; a healthy sex life is not only an important stress reducer, but also a key for overall wellness.
So how do we go about fixing this epidemic for good?
It is important to note that a certain amount of stress is healthy and can even be motivating! I have heard it compared to a violin string: you need enough tension to make music but not so much that the string snaps. Events in our lives are often beyond our control but our emotional response to these events is what we can learn to regulate. And to do this, we first need the willingness to commit time and effort to learning how to change our perspective. Here are a few suggestions.
- Expression- Say what’s on your mind! Unexpressed emotion can turn into toxic chemicals in your body, so it’s always important to get things off your chest. And be creative! Don’t let ideas sit, take action! Expressing how you feel and making your ideas come to life are ways in which you can neutralize and expel those deadly chemicals.
- Gratitude- the key to it all! Focus some time on appreciating the little things. Believe it or not, there are many health benefits to mastering this powerful perspective-orienting skill.
- Let it go!- The things in life that irk really do have power to eat away at your patience and health! Believe it or not, stress has the power to affect us both mentally and physically, so it’s important to spend time learning to forgive yourself and others. Chalk it up to experience. Put it down like a bag of bricks. The smallest seed of effort in this direction will reap fields of reward for your holistic state of health and wellness.
These three skills, in my humble opinion, are the most powerful a human being can acquire, but remember that it takes effort to perfect them. Perceived stress kills, not physical stress.
It’s also a good idea to be conscious of the environmental conditions that may be very much under your control. There are plenty of weapons at your disposal such as aromatherapy, bio feedback, massage, etc., but the first line of defense should always be having a well thought out and balanced plan for your nutrition, exercise and rest regime. These are the foundations of biochemical stability that will facilitate total health and wellness, including the ability to manage perception utilizing the skills outlined above. Try planning out in advance your weekly nutritional intake, exercise and rest periods.
Remember, take time for “proper processing” of the positive and negative events you come across every day. Consider this small daily commitment your “decompression time”. There are very strong chemical associations in your body for every situation you encounter. Because you have the ability to control your perception of these situations, you also have the control over how these chemicals impact your health.
THE GYM ENGLEWOOD
20 Nordhoff Place
Englewood, NJ 07631