If you were able to listen to your body right now – what would it tell you? In the modern world, there is likely no end to the advice our bodies would give us: stay away from processed foods, eat organic, drink more water and say “no” to overindulgence in bad habits!
For the vast majority of us, those messages would apply. As a collective we are exercising less and our nutrition is certainly worse than it was even two decades ago.
What most of us forget is just how much our mental health affects our physical health. It all starts with your mind – health, longevity and anti-aging – and then your body becomes involved.
Are you listening to your body?
Skyrocketing statistics for cancer, mental disorders, heart disease, diabetes and dementia – just to name a few – over the last 10-20 years proves that something is going very wrong.
Stress Kills You Slowly
According to the American Psychological Association, in the United States alone, more than 75% of adults experience at least one physical symptom of stress – for example, the inability to sleep, fluctuation of appetite and weight control, headaches, indigestion,
sexual dysfunction and general muscle tension.
Top 5 Causes of Stress
- Job-related problems
- Money issues
- Health complications
- Relationship discord
- Inadequate nutrition
Researchers in the scientific community – at institutions including the Mayo Clinic, the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health – have studied the effects of stress on the human body. All have concluded that stress has a major negative impact on your whole body wellness.
Many mental disorders such as panic attacks, feelings of helplessness, depression and attention deficit disorders have also been linked to stress.
Remaining in a long-term stress state results in your “fight-or-flight” response getting stuck in the “on” position. When the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are constantly released into your body they trigger chronic inflammation – another verified building block of serious disease.
In other words, when you don’t listen to your body – it begins to shout.
How can you get out of the vicious cycle of stress?
Genetics can play a small part in how we deal with stress. Some people have overactive stress responses and can become anxious over small obstacles while others remain calm even in emergency situations.
Most scientists agree that it’s your life experience that truly determines how you will handle stress. If as a child you were subjected to neglect, abandonment or even abuse, research has shown that as an adult you will have a higher vulnerability to stress.
All of us deal with stress to varying degrees. Perhaps you have a high-pressure job or you suffer from a chronic illness. You may not be able to remove the causes of your particular stress, but you can train your body and your mind to deal with stress more effectively.
1. Let Go of Negativity
It may seem over-simplified but it works. A bad childhood that continues to affect you decades later not only stole your yesterdays…it continues to steal your tomorrows.
Limiting the presence of toxic people from your life – family, friends or co-workers – removes the amount of time they can drown you in negativity. Removing them entirely is not always easy but your body and your mind will thank you.
2. Take Time for You
Your physical and emotional needs matter. Learn to step away for a moment to calm your mind and give yourself the opportunity to find an alternative to the “fight-or-flight” response. Surround yourself with positive people – especially people who make you laugh.
Improve your nutrition in small steps and make sure you get enough sleep every day. Yoga and meditation have been proven to drastically improve stress as well as physical health.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you cannot find peace of mind on your own – there is no shame in asking for help. Often, people who are disconnected from our daily lives bring a different perspective to the table. You may be “too close” to the situation to adequately resolve it. Seeking assistance is reasonable and can be effective if you are caught in a loop of illness-causing stress.
Solutions to managing your stress may not be easy to implement. It may require tough choices on your part. Sometimes even life-altering decisions. You have to be your biggest fan and know that you have the power to change the stress and discord around you.
Listen to your body…what is it telling you?