I will waste not even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness. I know that the seeds I sow I will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will plant only good seeds this day.” Og Mandino, 1923-1996, Author and Speaker
To attain and keep great health, we must always have healthy thoughts. Negative thoughts, or even hanging out with negative people can really bring you down mentally.
Stress, and the way we handle it, plays a very important role in our physical health, too. It is important that you find a balance in life in order to be the best you can be, serving our God, our family, and ourselves.
We will always have stress. It is how our body works and is meant to protect and support us as our bodies are always adjusting to our surroundings.
A good example of how our stress response works is imagine you’re walking down the street, thinking about how lovely the weather is. You’re relaxed and happy and find yourself stepping out onto a curb to cross the street and… Look out!… a car is coming right in front of you! You automatically jump back, without thinking, abruptly coming out of your peaceful thoughts….That is called a “fight or flight (stress) response”.
In order for our body to do this, it is important to know our bodies actually automatically go into overdrive and release hormones to enable you to do that leap back onto the sidewalk. You may recall that the last time something like this happened to you, your blood pressure went way up, you lost your breath, or perhaps your breath increased.
Some people, rather than having this fight or flight response for a few seconds, actually have it all day long, every day, for days and weeks on end.
It is important to know and understand that in order for your body to deal with fight or flight responses and to gather the energy to do so, it will actually shut down other functions in your body. One of those such functions is our immune system.
Your body has its own innate intelligence. Even if you do not see it in yourself, your body will start to “tell you” things are not quite right when you are living on the edge. Learn to recognize the many symptoms of stress in yourself and others. There are three groups:
Physical: such as sleep disturbances, back pain and muscle tension, upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, cold hands/feet, skin problems, weight gain or loss, skin problems, jaw pain (clenching your teeth either at night or during the day), getting sick all time with colds and the flu.
Emotional: Some emotional stresses are anxiety, can’t think clearly, overreaction, depression, mood swings, irritability, frustration and even substance abuse.
Relational: Sometimes this may be hard to determine, however if you notice changes in yourself or someone you love such as becoming increasingly argumentative, conflicts with co-workers or decrease in social activities, this could be related to stress. Other relational symptoms are road rage, domestic or workplace violence.
Now that you’re aware of some of the symptoms caused by stress, you may realize that you may have a warning signal going off.
As you can appreciate, all of the aforementioned symptoms can lead you down a path to very bad health. For example, obesity can lead to diabetes, heart attack or stroke. Not sleeping regularly can lead to exhaustion, which could potentially lead to cancer, depression, or even getting addicted to sleeping pills or other addictions.
Stress will lead to a build up of free radicals in the body. Ensure you drink lots of water and eat lots of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables so that the antioxidants in the food will sop up those free radicals. Eat a balanced diet and avoid processed foods as much as possible to keep your body fueled.
Take a good look at what has changed in order to recognize your current stress. Seek a way to resolve it. Once identified, don’t go through it alone. Talk to your spouse, a friend, counselor, doctor or your pastor. Find a group that deals with your type of stress and go to their meetings.
Memorize the Serenity Prayer or stick it on your mirror or fridge (or do all of these!): God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
If your stresses are related to you having too much to do, chances are you may find you’re a person who doesn’t say “no” very easily. So start practicing saying the word “NO” and follow through. This applies to any event or issue that leads you to feeling the pangs of panic when confronted with it or when you’re asked to do it.
Sometimes you just have to prioritize and forgive yourself for not doing it all in one day. (Oh, and just so you know, I have learned through personal experience that the laundry waits patiently for you to get to it the next day!)
Be a Total Woman of INFLUENCE and CHANGE. If you lead by example and live as stress-free as you can, you will teach others to do so as well. Living stress free does not mean you’re lazy or that you don’t care. It means that you have the ability to face your many challenges each day and can make lemonade out of those lemons we all get dealt with.
“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.” Stephen Grellet Quaker Clergyman 1773-1855
Remember Matthew 11v29 says “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT).
God wants to take your stress and exchange it for His rest.
Patty Minall runs a home-based business which relates to whole food nutrition and its relationship to better health. website at www.nutritionsavesall.com