Chronic stress upsets nearly every system in your body:
Increases heart rates which can lead to heart attacks.
Impairs reproduction systems causing infertility problems.
Disrupts the gastrointestinal system with illnesses such as ulcers, irritable bowel, rashes.
Produces more glucose that keeps you more in the fight or flight mode.
Creates havoc with the immune system producing numerous autoimmune diseases.
If you have both stress and depression, you are 48% more likely to die or have a heart attack.
Worry creates wear and tear on your body and mind.
How is stress running your life?
I never realized how much my body was screaming out for me to relax and slow down.
I thought since I retired, I had. But I really hadn’t changed the way I approached things and the way I thought about everything.
Instead of knowing that I am able to handle the tasks and responsibilities of the day, I feel the heaviness and make things feel like I am attacking them with force.
Instead of trusting that things work out, I find myself being anxious to make sure I make things happen.
I realize my inner critic and inner bully are directing my decisions. So much pushing and judging what is happening.
And, yet, I have done so much work to create a more peaceful inner and outer world in my life.
I know how my thinking creates my life.
I know that by creating a more peaceful inner world, my outer world reflects that.
I know how much my environment influences my body, mind, and spirit.
And, still, there are more layers of solving the stress dilemma to living lighter, relaxed, and more peaceful.
In developing a new relationship with food, I read, The Slow Down Diet - Eating for Pleasure, Energy and Weight Loss by Marc David.
This book has taught me more about my behaviors and thinking and why food has been a struggle for me. Everything for me appears as a task to achieve - plan my meals, cook, eat and clean up. Everything was from duty and responsibility. Check it off, get it done. Oh, yes, eating fast, too.
None of my relationships with food are from pleasure. Everything is guarded or negative - choose that food because it was supposed to be healthy, don’t do this it adds calories.
I’ve admired people who love to cook and see it as such an art. They adore food and what they can make happen with it. They savor the tastes and opportunities it can create for them.
That’s the change I am seeking. A new relationship with the whole process of eating, cooking and with my body.
Now that I have been focusing on shifting the way I think about food and eating, my shadow “to achieve” is rearing its ugly head again.
Your shadow can rule your life, mostly unconsciously. Shadows drive the way you do life until you contain it. I thought I had dealt with the need “to achieve” but obviously not in all areas of my life.
But, the good part, it’s helping me surrender to what’s not working and find some things that are more helpful. (When you realize that you are not getting the results you want, it’s time to check out what shadow is ruling your decisions.)
I have to change my negative thinking and relax about food and my body. One of the major points Marc makes in his book is that the same part of your brain that turns on stress turns off digestion. So the part of your brain that turns on relaxation also turns on metabolism and fully digesting.
Of course, that caught my eye in understanding metabolizing better. My thinking has been if I could just exercise more, I would burn more calories. Not the way it works when your systems aren’t functioning properly. I have shut down my body’s natural way of metabolizing through stress and negativity.
My stressed out body and mind are creating havoc with my body systems. As J.J. Virgin, Nutritionist and Author says, “Rushed, mindless eating creates weight-loss resistance.”
She goes on to say, “What you need are ways to help you relax, reduce stress and savor every mouthful while burning fat and optimizing health.”
No wonder the first chapter in the Slow Down Diet is on the Metabolic Power of Relaxation.
No matter what has created stress in your life here are a few ways to begin relaxing your mind and body.
Know that you can live healthy, vibrant and fulfilled by adding a few changes to the way you “do” life that is more relaxing and kind.
Take time to begin 2019 with a more relaxing and positive life. Your body and mind will thank you.
You are worth the effort and commitment it takes.