By David Kekich
Drs. T. H. Holmes and R. H. Rahe researched the strong correlation between stressful situations and illness. Then they devised a Social Readjustment Scale.
To see whether you are in danger of illness, look at the chart below, and add up the number of Life Crisis Units (LCUs) you have received in the past two years. If you are in danger, take immediate steps to alleviate your stress and return to a more healthy condition. For example, one-time cardiac patients who learned to manage their stress reduced their heart attack/heart problem risk by an incredible 74%.
Of the several things you can do to control your stress and lessen its detrimental effects, one of the first is to eliminate any artificial chemical stress you might be putting on your body. Your body has a hard enough time managing stress without its stress management system turned on by external chemicals.
- Although a little caffeine may have healthy attributes, it also releases excess cortisol and catecholamines. So it mimics the effect of stress.
- High blood sugar, caused by consuming high levels of carbohydrates (especially food high in refined sugar) can also mimic the effects of stress by causing large doses of insulin to be released into your blood stream.
- High insulin levels then cause release of cortisol, suppressing your immune system.
- Salt is one other chemical stressor, because it can unnaturally raise your blood pressure.
What Else Can You Do To Relieve Stress?
In addition to previous suggestions, I recommend looking into how well you manage your life. One of the primary causes of stress is the feeling of being out of control. Techniques such as personal goal setting and time management can help you feel like you have a better handle on your life. Also, simplify your life as much as possible. Complexity is a major contributor to damaging stress.
- Make quiet time: Whether you meditate daily or just spend an hour a night with a book, you need to create a space where you can clear your mind.
- Eat better: A good diet can help your body better deal with the effects of stress.
- Make family time: Eat at least one meal a day with your family (or with friendsif you’re single).
- Talk it out: Bottling up your frustrations, even the little ones, leads to stress.
- Prioritize: Figure out what in your life actually needs attention and what doesn’t.
- Accept interruptions gracefully: Leave enough wiggle room so you can adapt to changes in your day.
- Pay attention to yourself: Notice when you feel stressed, and determine the cause.
- Love: Build relationships. Share yourself. Feel human warmth.
1. Know thy self.
The real key to conquering stress is self-examination—continual, honest self- examination regarding the harmony and disharmony in your life.
2. Shake the habit of fretting and stewing about problems that don’t exist.
If you excessively dwell on bad things that might happen in your life—medical or otherwise—you only succeed in increasing the chances of their actually happening.
3. Recognize that for every negative, there’s an offsetting positive.
Balance is the natural order of the universe.
4. Accept the inevitable.
Notwithstanding the Natural Law of Balance, there are some things you simply can’t do anything about.However, it’s important to be able to discern the difference between inevitable and difficult.
Just don’t make the naive mistake of expecting everyone to love you, because they won’t.
6. Intellectualize the reality that life isn’t perfect.
You can reduce your stress many times over by accepting the reality that there is no perfect child, parent, spouse,home, city, or job.
7. Don’t try to make the world bend to your will.
Trying to get everyone to do things your way goes beyond stress. It’s a frustrating, hopeless exercise that can drive a person mad.
8. Control anger and bitterness.
It’s worth repeating Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous words:
“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
So as you can see, it’s not events that shape your world. It’s your thought processes. Your mental state will always be the most important factor when it comes to achieving peace of mind and overcoming the effects of stress in your life.
Here’s a proactive event that will improve your mental state: Relaxation. Is it proactive? Yes. Purposely relaxing actually accomplishes a lot. It rests and rejuvenates your mind and your body.
The bottom line is, relaxed people are healthier, happier, more productive and live longer—much longer.
David Kekich is President/CEO of Maximum Life Foundation that focuses on aging research, a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to curing aging-related diseases. For more information, visit: www.MaxLife.org. David contributes to our column Living Healthy to 120: Anti-Aging Breakthroughs. MaxLife is helping to make the anti-aging dream a reality with cutting edge Bio-Engineering research and products.