Understand how chronic stress is killing you, and fight back.
Chronic stress is a new epidemic sweeping the world and has become a leading cause of death. Stress keeps us from reaching our potential; it is the cause of virtually all current day ‘chronic disease’. Stress, however, is manageable - so let’s discuss some tools to deal with it. Once you know how to handle stress better, you can get back to your creative, intelligent, kind and high performing self!
Stress can be life threatening.
Stress has major health consequences. Chronic stress effects both the brain and body. The mechanism of this action occurs through the release of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These toxic chemicals damage our higher brain functions and hamper our mental performance. They can shrink our brain’s neural networks, effecting learning and creativity. They weaken our immune systems, produce atherosclerosis, insulin resistance - potentially leading to diabetes, obesity, stroke, and cancer. Stress can even effect chromosomes in the cell’s nuclei.
Rewire your brain by changing your attitude and letting go of fear.
Neuroplasticity creates new neural pathways and expands neural networks. Put simply, adjusting your attitude will literally rewire your brain and change the way you process stress. Make a habit of not believing your negative thoughts, and instead opt to experience peace and tranquility. Changing your attitude is about letting go of fear. ‘Stress is merely an expression of fear.’
Ditch the thoughts that provoke stress.
We all experience stress. Maybe it manifests itself as fear or anxiety. Usually we blame these negative feelings on external factors; our circumstances or environment. But once you have cultivated a greater awareness of your stress, you realize that you create most of it yourself. When we worry, we essentially fear that bad things will happen, and fear means stress. According to a study done at Cornell University, 85% of the issues we worry about never ended up happening. 79% of the time things went better than we expected. 97% of time our worries are exaggerated or completely fabricated. So next time ask yourself, are these worries rational - re-evaluate them, think about how to better manage them. Impartially observe them, just be aware that they are there, in your head, but not necessarily real.
Good decisions help you deal with impossible situations.
Sometimes we are met with horrible yet unavoidable situations. In any difficult situation, you are face with three choices; 1) Change it. 2) Leave it. 3) Accept it. Acceptance is the hardest choice, requiring a lot of mental effort and powerful determination.
A peaceful mindset comes with practice.
This isn’t something that happens overnight. It requires practice. For example, starting the day off quietly… Try starting your day with peace and quiet, instead of rushing out the door. Try meditation, breathing exercises or practicing gratitude, for a few minutes after waking up. Commit yourself to having a positive and productive day. Try a thirty second timeout a few times a day. Think of it like a ‘peace switch’. Take notice of your thought patterns.
Transcend shame and let go of your ideal self.
The feeling of shame is another path to stress. Shame is essentially the fear of being judged and rejected by those whose opinions matter to you. Rather than expressing yourself as you truly are, shame makes you the person who you think others want you to be. And conforming to others expectations is constant work - that means constant anxiety and thus, constant stress. Recognize that shame is merely a fabrication. Lengthy, harmonious relationships benefit your health.
The better your relationships with others, the better your health and the longer you will live. The love you experience in strong relationships slows down the production of toxic stress hormones. Conversely, loneliness damages your health. In fact, experiencing loneliness is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. When we feel judged or when we judge others, we decrease our chances of have strong, healthy relationships.
Harness the power of suggestion to improve your health.
Science shows mere thought of a desirable outcome can set into motion the inner resources and actions that will ultimately fulfill our desires. Our attitude has a huge impact on our lives; our beliefs are capable of ending our stress and improving our lives!