With chronic stress so detrimental to health, productivity and sense of well being; it is important to find ways, habits of thought and strategies to bring balance back to our lives. Everyone is different and each may find their own strategy that works best. Below are practical and immediately useful insights that can help to find greater joy and meaning to life. The good news is that these are not expensive.
First, we need to do something every day that is relaxing and we like to do just for the sake of it. For me, I find that meditation is an ideal way to start off the day by visualizing what I want to accomplish and experience. I set an intention for the impact I want to have from my classes, seminars and coaching. Try it it works!
Exercise is another stress buster. Daily exercise even it it is walking briskly for 30 to 40 minutes, flushes out stress hormones and gives a fresh perspective on things. There is a lot of literature and research that also shows a link between a poor diet and chronic diseases. Processed food, sugars found snack foods and soft drinks are linked to obesity, high blood pressure, ADD, moodiness, low energy as well as inflammatory diseases. A diet rich in unprocessed foods, fruits, and fresh vegetables will give our bodies the fuel it needs to repair itself. A “healthy” diet will also help in our having more energy and impact our sense of well being. Think about what would happen if you put bad fuel in a car? A typical fast food diet is like putting impure low octane fuel in an engine. Avoid the “hit and run junk food”
“An optimistic attitude enhances coping skills and ability to deal with stress more productively. If we can be more accepting of our current life situation without judging ourselves, and learn from each of our difficulties.. a profound shift starts taking place. We start to see our situation as a necessary part of our growth and development. Problems no longer are things we dread and fear but are seen as needed developmental opportunities for us to grow and become more capable and mature* .” (Holzman) Shifting to an intention and a belief that I can do it, helps rewire our brains, trigger more positive emotions and helps us to take more productive and necessary actions to move forward .
Managing the negative, self-deprecating or worrying thoughts that fuel anxiety and feed depression – is personal power. To do this entails learning the art of inner quiet and creating a space where you can find your “reset” button. You can achieve this through the discipline of daily meditation practice, which acts as a detox for your energy system (mental and physical). Ironically the “discipline” is really in doing nothing, learning to still the mind and find the comfortable inner quiet in your body. Wayne Dyer states “You will find your “Self” in the space between two thoughts.
Dr. Andrew Newberg; a radiologist at Penn; one of the nations most prestigious teaching hospitals and authority on “Neuro-theology” found that even novice meditators in a study, improved their memories by meditating just twelve minutes a day, for only a few weeks. Even just thinking about what you value most in life, i.e, compassion, reason, love, peace, empowerment… will literally strengthen the neural connections that enable you to carry those values into the rest of your life” **
References and additional reading:
* Pamela Holzman: http://www.pamelaholtzman.com/its-not-obsession-its-discipline/
** Fringe.ology * How I tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable – And Couldn’t, Steve Volk; Harper Collins 2011
The National Wellness Institute at: http://www.nationalwellness.org/