Have you heard people, or even yourself say, “I’m not sick but I am not well either”? So many of us are overwhelmed, exhausted, in pain and lack joy as a result of excess stress. But stress is an inevitable part of living so something we just need to accept right? Wrong! It is not mandatory though some stress is in fact, helpful in challenging us to move forward and achieve!
What are the effects of stress on the body?
Stress has a powerful biochemical effect on us and has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression and autoimmune diseases to name a few. Effective stress management skills can prevent stress related illness and improve our quality of life!
Can we manage excess stress and make it work for us instead of against us?
There are powerful and proven mindbody strategies for becoming the “boss” of our stress. The kind that create health instead of disease.
Here are some powerful tools to start:
- Gratitude. A simple gratitude exercise daily or weekly has been shown to “re-wire” the brain towards spontaneous gratitude and optimism! Gratitude can be a natural antidepressant by activating certain neural circuits, causing increased production of dopamine and serotonin.
- Random Acts of Kindness. Being kind to others causes an increase in the production of serotonin which helps us feel happier and more content and also lowers the level of dangerous stress hormones.
- Perspective. Negative thoughts cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. Choosing a positive or even neutral perspective does the opposite and can biochemically enhance our health.
Many of us learned how to handle stress by watching significant role models in our lives; parents, other adults, siblings and friends. Some of what we learned is harmful like drinking to excess as our father did or hitting someone as our mother did. These strategies cause us more distress (as well as others!). Alternately, we may have learned that going for a run helped a friend or that seeing a counselor helped a sister. We default to what works or what is easy, when we are in crisis. Having tools at your disposal that work, are easy and enhance health, will transform your life!
How can I prevent stress from having a harmful impact on my life?
One of the best things about learning these practical strategies is that they are both the treatment AND the prevention. In other words, they not only help us recover from the effects of excess stress but also PREVENT the harmful effects of stressful experiences in our lives! Prevention is the key to reversing the stress epidemic in North America. And if you don’t think we are dealing with an epidemic, consider the fact that stress leaves are costing Canadian businesses over $50 billion/year. We need an intervention and it starts with you and I.
See Sylvia Marusyk, Dr. Bill Howatt, Stephen de Groot and Keith Macpherson present live at the GoodLife Fitness Health & Wellness Leadership Summit on May 3 in Winnipeg, MB.
Register today and save 30% with promotion code TWCC. Discount code available to the first 25 registrants.
Visit the website to register now or call Toll Free 1 877 348-8742 Ext. 230.