The Stress About Stress

Stress-HCJoeRaymondRecent studies indicate that stress increases the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems by pushing people towards habits of unhealthy behaviors.

Over a seven-year follow-up period, incidence of cardiovascular events – heart attacks, stroke, bypass surgery and the like – was 50% higher among the people with a higher level of depression and anxiety when compared to happier people. Among the unhealthy habits people under stress turn to that appear to have the greatest impact are:

  • Smoking
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Lack of Exercise

Other studies indicate that people who have goals and purpose live up to ten years longer than those who do not. It is important that your body, mind, heart and spirit work in harmony with one another.

Take Care of Yourself

Some of us actually believe, deep down, that to take care of ourselves is self-indulgent and selfish. Now I will urge you to consider why taking care of yourself is not a selfish act.

AvoidStressCareForYourself-HCJoeRaymondImagine you are on an airplane with your family. You are all joyful and expectant, about to take off on a long flight to a wonderful destination. – perhaps across the ocean. Before the plane takes off, the flight attendant delvers the safety talk. Did you ever wonder why they always say, in case of an emergency during which the oxygen masks drop down, put on your own mask first, before helping anyone else – even your child sitting next to you.

Because of our natural tendency to protect our children, many will object and respond, “But of course, I will put it on my child first.” While this is a noble response in theory, in a real emergency, the parent will pass out before getting the mask on the child and neither will be safe. You need to put your own mask on first so you have the strength to put one on your child, and even help others. This is the first lesson of self-care: If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others.

Stress is defined as those things that overload you physically, mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually. Moderate amounts of stress actually increase your productivity in the short run, but you need time to repair, re-build and replenish. You also need to invest your time wisely in doing what you do best while allowing others you trust to do what you cannot do for yourself. People who invest their time in doing what they do best not only accomplish more, they also have less stress. This involves learning to delegate effectively to the right people.

Is stress getting in the the way of realizing your vision?

Stress often gets in the way of achieving the change we want by triggering a reversion to behaviors we used earlier in life to get our needs met, but that do not work today.

For example, as a child you may have found comfort in hiding under a blanket to feel safe and secure. As an adult you may figuratively hide under a blanket to escape from your problems but this actually keeps you from getting your needs met.

Another example is the child who got attention by throwing a temper tantrum, but this actually drives people away.

Sometimes you need to seek outside support to help you refocus. Outside support takes different forms depending on the source of stress. It could take the form of psychological counseling, a consultant for your business, or maybe a babysitter to watch the kids while you get away for some “me” time.

In our next  two articlea, we’ll talk about some strategies for relieving your stress, and how a healthy lifestyle can help.

This is an excerpt from my book “Embracing Change From the Inside Out”

If you’re ready to make life changes from the inside out contact me, I will help you understand how to make those changes.

You can also contact me to speak at your next event, I will adjust my topic to the needs of your audience.

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